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Same-sex marriage trivialises marriage and family, claims leading researcher

A leading researcher on family policy says in countries where same-sex marriage has been legalised it has had a detrimental effect on marriage, family and society.  Patricia Morgan, author of numerous books and papers on marriage and the state, is publishing a paper titled 'What Happens to Marriage and Families where the law recognises same sex marriage?' in the House of Lords this afternoon. It's based on research and data from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, US and Canada.

She told Premier's Victoria Laurence during the News Hour what she discovered:

Meanwhile, a number of Tory MPs are calling for a referendum to allow the public to be given a vote on same-sex marriage. Up to 150 MPs are said to support a call for a national vote on same-sex weddings to ensure that such a historic change in legislation goes ahead only with full public support.

Tory MP David Burrowes, who's a Christian, says despite much discussion over the wording of the bill, no amendments have been made by the Government.

A number of MPs want the legislation changed so it provides greater protection for teachers who choose not to discuss it in the classroom and registrars who wish to opt-out of marrying gay couples.

In a blog Mr Burrowes writes:

"For many colleagues, the news that the issue of gay marriage is coming back to the Commons next week is like those Jaws film trailers. 

"Just when you thought it was safe to return to a new Parliamentary session, focussing on the key issues facing the country, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill returns to infest MPs."

Mr Burrowes told Premier's Victoria Laurence during the News Hour there needs to be greater protection to ensure religious freedom. 

However, Revd Colin Coward from Changing Attitudes - which works for equality for gay Anglicans in Britain - tells Premier's Des Busteed why he's against a referendum:

The Government has sought to stop religious denominations being forced to conduct same-sex weddings by providing a quadruple 'lock' which:

  • Ensures that no religious organisation or individual minister can be compelled to marry same-sex couples or to permit this to happen on their premises.
  • Provide an opt-in system for religious organisation who wish to conduct marriages for same-sex couples.
  • Amend the Equality Act 2010 to reflect that no discrimination claims can be brought against religious organisations or individual ministers for refusing to marry a same-sex couple.
  • Ensure that legislation will not affect the canon law of the Church of England or the Church in Wales.

As a result, if either church wanted to conduct a same-sex marriage, it would require a change to primary legislation at a later date and a change to canon law. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill's remaining stages will be debated on May, 20th and 21st. If approved it will pass to the House of Lords for further scrutiny.

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