Senior Guardian writer: gay marriage would be unwise

A senior Guardian journalist has said it “will be wise” for the Government not to change the definition of marriage.

Michael White, an assistant editor at the Guardian, made the comments as the debate intensified over the issue.

In an article entitled “noisy bishops are not always wrong” Mr White said “instinct” told him “it will be wise to retain a legal distinction between marriage and civil partnership”.


He said it would be wrong to assert “minority rights beyond equality before the law (civil partnership provides that)”.

Mr White has previously expressed concern about same-sex marriage, warning 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.”

On Sunday, the most senior Roman Catholic in Britain, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, warned that plans to allow homosexual marriage are a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”.

Mr White said of the Cardinal’s comments: “Basically what he’s saying, not for the first time, is that marriage is a universally accepted concept, defined by Article 16 of the universal declaration of human rights (UDHR).”


Mr White continued: “It exists free of the passing whims of governments to entrench the relationship between men and women for mutual support and – jolly important, this bit – the procreation of children.”

Last week Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said marriage should not be redefined in law.

Mr White commented that what the Archbishop is saying is that “campaigning to use the law to redraw the traditional man/woman model for marriage so soon after the introduction of civil partnership – itself a very radical concept only a few years ago – might be unwise”.


Over 100,000 people have so far signed a petition on the Coalition for Marriage website – – which opposes any redefinition of marriage.

Last month Ann Widdecombe said the people should be asked for their view on redefining marriage before David Cameron ploughs ahead with “the most fundamental change to society in centuries”.

A Government consultation on redefining marriage is due this month. The Government have said the consultation will consider how, not whether, to allow same-sex marriage.


Homosexuals have also spoken out against the plans with celebrity Christopher Biggins saying that marriage is for heterosexual couples.

He said he did not want to redefine marriage because “we can’t just get rid of everything.”

And speaking on Sky News lesbian feminist Julie Bindel called the campaign for same-sex marriage “a waste of time and effort”.