THE Law will become “an ass” if the gay marriage bill is passed unchanged, believes the Archbishop of York.
Dr John Sentamu called on the Government to create two forms of marriage – the version between a man and a woman called “marriage” and that between two people of the same gender called “marriage (same sex couples)”.
Speaking in the House of Lords, the Archbishop argued no great injustice was being remedied by the legislation, as homosexual couples could currently enter into a civil partnership.
He said: “The legislation to create civil partnerships was clearly a proper exercise in formal terms of the authority of Government.
“That legislation was precise in its use of language. It recognised the intrinsic difference between the loving life-long commitment of same-sex couples and the loving life-long commitment of males and females in marriage.”
But he added: “Government has to prevent as far it can the judgment that the law is an ass.
“I believe the fracturing of the law of marriage into two alternative concepts of marriage inevitably inflicts damage of a very serious proportion on English law weakening the authority of the law as a whole.”
He said the “integrity of the law” could be protected by calling the homosexual version “marriage (same sex couple)”.
Dr Sentamu said “Since marriage has been defined in law and practice as a relation between a man and woman, this as so defined cannot in law be extended to same sex couples.
“This legislation presupposes an account of marriage which makes the gender of the partners incidental to the institution.
“It doesn’t correspond to marriage as it has been known in British law and indeed society.
“It is not a matter of something that already exists being extended. A new institution is being created under the aegis of the existing marriage law which is in fact quite different.”
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