Exclusive. Andrea Williams explains the impact of civil unions bills

Andrea Williams, from Christian Concern, has been one of the most active protagonist in UK to support ‘One of Us’ initiative. She has been part of Coalition for Marriage’ organization, she is a UK leader of ‘Mum, Dads & Kids’ european initiative. She is founder and currently chairs the ‘Christian Concern’, group of lawyers involved in […]

Andrea Williams, from Christian Concern, has been one of the most active protagonist in UK to support ‘One of Us’ initiative. She has been part of Coalition for Marriage’ organization, she is a UK leader of ‘Mum, Dads & Kids’ european initiative. She is founder and currently chairs the ‘Christian Concern’, group of lawyers involved in […]

Andrea Williams, from Christian Concern, has been one of the most active protagonist in UK to support ‘One of Us’ initiative. She has been part of Coalition for Marriage’ organization, she is a UK leader of ‘Mum, Dads & Kids’ european initiative. She is founder and currently chairs the ‘Christian Concern’, group of lawyers involved in any legal debate and judgement for promoting religion freedom, freedom of speech, conscience and marriage and life values.

 What would be the consequences of the approval of the civil union law at European level?

The impact of these proposals is significant.  The evidence overwhelmingly shows that marriage between a man and a woman is by far the best way of safeguarding the welfare of children.   Despite this, we’ve seen marriage undermined and eroded in a number of ways, including the introduction of no-fault divorce and the increasing trend towards cohabitation.   This has resulted in family breakdown rates in Europe being at an all-time high, with more and more children facing the devastating effects of being raised in broken homes.   What we need is for traditional marriage to be promoted and encouraged as the ideal for children and society as a matter of public policy.  Same-sex civil unions, on the other hand, achieve the very opposite of this – undermining marriage further and sanctioning alternative family arrangements which intentionally deprive children of a mother or a father.  

Once civil unions are introduced in the name of ‘equality’, there is an inevitable progression towards the introduction of full same-sex ‘marriage’.  During the passage of the UK’s Civil Partnership Act 2004, the then UK Government promised that this would not lead to marriage being redefined for everyone.  Just under a decade later, legislation introducing same-sex ‘marriage’ was rushed through the UK Parliament, without a proper public consultation process. 

The legal recognition of same-sex relationships is effectively an endorsement of such unions by the State.   As the State begins to normalise same-sex relationships, dissent to homosexual behaviour and adoption is met with greater hostility and the freedom to express an opposing view is increasingly restricted.  The Christian Legal Centre has supported among others:

·         Richard Page, a Justice of the Peace, who was disciplined by a Cabinet Minister and England’s highest judge for saying that a child’s best interests lie in being raised by a mother and a father;

·         Andrew McClintock, a Christian Magistrate who was forced to resign from his membership of the Family Panel at Sheffield Magistrates Court after requesting permission to opt-out of cases requiring him to place children in the care of same-sex couples;

·         Dr Sheila Matthews, a Community Paediatrician, who was dismissed from her role on her local authority’s adoption panel after requesting to abstain from voting in cases where homosexual couples were being considered as potential adoptive parents;

·         Owen and Eunice John, a Christian couple who were refused permission to foster children because of their refusal to affirm same-sex lifestyles to a young child in their care.

Catholic adoption agencies have also  been forced to close down for refusing to place children in the care of same-sex couples.

Same-sex marriage has a strong impact on society. What effects are already evident in the UK?

The introduction of same-sex ‘marriage’ has significantly undermined marriage as traditionally understood, and means that the ‘family’ now comes in all shapes and sizes.  Homes headed by same-sex couples are said to be just as beneficial for children as traditional family arrangements and any dissenting voice is classified as ‘hate speech.’  During sex education classes, children are taught that all types of sexual relationships are equally and morally valid, and there are no moral limits to sex.  

A number of schools in the UK were recently downgraded and put in special measures by Ofsted (the UK’s official body for inspecting schools) because of their Christian ethos on marriage and sexual ethics.  At one school, Ofsted inspectors asked ten-year-olds whether they knew what lesbians ‘did’ and whether any family members ‘had gay friends’.  At another school, pupils were inappropriately asked if they knew any homosexual students.

In the UK, we have also seen the suppression of legitimate debate on marriage and the family in the name of ‘equality and diversity’, sometimes by State authorities themselves.  In 2012, Christian Concern’s colloquium which discussed the redefinition of marriage was cancelled by both the Law Society (the representative body for solicitors in England and Wales), and the Government-run Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on the basis that the event breached ‘diversity’ policies. A number of street preachers have also been arrested and detained in custody for under ‘hate crime’ for saying that marriage could only be between one man and one woman, and that this was the only proper context for sexual expression.  Many were released following the intervention of the Christian Legal Centre.  We have also supported among others:

 ·         Margaret Jones, a Senior Deputy Registrar at Bedford register office, who was sacked for breaching ‘equality’ policies after she indicated she would be unwilling to conduct same-sex ‘marriages’ on the basis of her Christian convictions;

·         Sarah Mbuyi, a Christian nursery nurse, who was sacked for gross misconduct after explaining the Bible’s teaching on marriage in response to a question from a colleague.

·         Theresa Davies, a registrar with Islington Borough Council, who was demoted because she refused to preside over same-sex civil partnership ceremonies in line with her Biblical beliefs about marriage.

·         Kwabena Peat, a Christian teacher, who was suspended after he complained that a staff training day was being used to promote homosexual practice in the classroom, and to marginalise those who disagreed.

·         David Booker, a Christian employee at a charity in Southampton, who was suspended after answering a colleague’s questions about his Biblical beliefs on marriage.

Currently, churches in the UK are not required to perform same-sex ‘marriages’ if they do not wish to.  However, a same-sex couple has now threatened to take legal action against the Church of England to force its ministers to perform same-sex weddings.

How important is for private citizens to collaborate with pro-family associations during the everyday commitment in defense of natural family?

The traditional understanding of marriage, which is the life-long union of one man and a woman, is the foundation of the natural family, and has been the cornerstone of a stable, civilised and flourishing society throughout history.  As marriage continues to be undermined, more and more children are facing the devastating effects of family breakdown.  It is crucial that private citizens collaborate with pro-family associations to defend the family for the sake of our children and the rest of society.

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