High Court judge attacks Govt gay marriage plans

The Government is ignoring family breakdown, whilst pressing ahead with plans to redefine marriage, a leading High Court judge has warned.

Sir Paul Coleridge, chairman and founder of the Marriage Foundation, accused ministers of wasting effort on the wrong policy.

He told The Times: “So much energy and time has been put into this debate for 0.1 per cent of the population, when we have a crisis of family breakdown.”


He said: “We need a much more focused position by the Government on the importance of marriage.”

Mr Justice Coleridge warned that the divorce rate is “miles too high” and resulted in 3.8 million children in the family justice system.

He said: “This is an obscene level of family breakdown”.


He added that the Marriage Foundation would not “relax at all or take its eye off the ball until the separation and divorce rates are at least half what they are now”.

In May last year, Mr Justice Coleridge launched the Marriage Foundation, a think-tank aimed at reversing the trend of marital breakdown.

But he has been recently told to keep a “lower profile” within the organisation, following an investigation by the Office for Judicial Complaints.


Nick Herbert, the former policing minister, said the judge’s latest comments were damaging.

He said, “a judge who intervenes in political debate damages judicial independence – whether you agree with him or not.”

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, used his Christmas Eve sermon to attack the Government’s plans to redefine marriage.


He has also urged five million Roman Catholics living in England and Wales to write to their MPs in opposition to the proposals.

A second reading of the gay marriage Bill is expected before February.

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