The Scottish Government is being urged to fundamentally redefine marriage to allow homosexuals to ‘marry’, in a controversial new report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in Scotland.
Meanwhile the Westminster Government is set to launch a consultation to “formally look” at redefining marriage to allow homosexuals to obtain the same certificate as married people in England and Wales.
The consultation does not apply to Holyrood because of devolved powers, but now the publicly-funded EHRC in Scotland has made sweeping recommendations calling on the Scottish Government to change the law.
The report urges the Scottish Government to start looking at the issue after the May elections.
However any such move to undermine the traditional definition of marriage is likely to be greeted by widespread opposition.
In 2009, homosexual lobbyists in Scotland launched a petition on the Scottish Parliament website arguing that traditional marriage should no longer have a distinct status from same-sex unions.
The petition, backed by the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Network (LGBTN), called for an amendment to the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977 “to allow two persons of the same sex to register a civil marriage and a religious marriage if the relevant religious body consents”.
But family campaigners warned that any such change would undermine the status of marriage.
Michael White, writing on the Guardian’s politics blog after the Westminster Government announced its consultation on redefining marriage, expressed concern over the plans.
He said: “Aside from all the theological, moral and cultural freight, there’s an important practical distinction here which goes to the root of any society – namely that heterosexual marriage is there to produce and raise children in a more or less stable environment.”
Mr White, an Assistant Editor of The Guardian, went on to warn that no amount of technology could “eliminate the need for a female egg and a male sperm to make a baby. On that fact rest all successful societies since the year dot.”
His comments were echoed by Melanie Philips, writing in the Daily Mail, who said “the truth is that marriage is a unique institution because it involves the process by which humanity reproduces itself — which is only through the union of male and female.”
Dan Boucher, during an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze programme, highlighted that the traditional definition of marriage of one man and one woman had lasted for thousands of years.
Dr Boucher, Director of Parliamentary Affairs at the Christian campaign group CARE, also questioned whether supporters of same-sex marriage had thought through its logical implications.
He said: “If you push marriage in that direction you could say well maybe anyone could get married, perhaps two sisters could get married.”
It is being reported that the Westminster Government’s preferred changes would also allow heterosexual couples to enter civil partnerships, a move which would cost £5 billion according to Stonewall, a homosexual rights group.