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  • Writer's picturePresbyterian Reformed Church

Alice in Westminster


We might not have expected Alice in Wonderland to be mentioned in Parliament during the “same-sex marriage” debate but she was. We read of Alice that Humpty Dumpty said to her in a scornful tone, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean, – neither more nor less.” This is now public policy.

According to The Oxford Popular Dictionary & Thesaurus “marriage” is a “formal union of a man and a woman to live together”. The same dictionary defines “matrimony” as “marriage”. Matrimony is derived from the Latin noun mater, meaning, “mother”. Marriage is thus a formal lifetime union of a man and woman in prospect of motherhood. It may be that motherhood does not result. Childbearing is not automatic. The absence of children does not, however, invalidate the marriage but neither does it redefine what marriage is.

The Home Secretary offered a depleted definition of marriage as “the commitment of two people to each other”. She maintained that marriage is about commitment and recognizing commitment. This is a novel definition of marriage. The latter no longer means “matrimony” but just what politicians choose it to mean. It becomes a union, created by the state, between one person and another person recognizing their mutual commitment.

The Christian definition, accepted by the Church of England and Baptist, Congregational and Presbyterian non-conformists states that marriage as ordained by God is between one man and one woman for the purposes of procreation, the prevention of uncleanness and the mutual help of husband and wife,

The declared purpose of the intended legislative change is “equality”. According to the argument a state recognized union of one person and another person in a committed relationship is equal to the God ordained union of one man and one woman joined together in matrimony in order to procreation, the prevention of uncleanness and mutual help.

This is a trick of language worthy of Humpty Dumpty who confused Alice by changing the meaning of words. No legislation can give equal status to same-sex unions concerning procreation because it is a biological impossibility. No legislation can give equal status to same-sex couples concerning mutual help because law cannot produce the complementary nature of the male-female relationship.

The three persons of the Godhead are eternally co-equal but equality outside of God is not absolute. Even within matrimony there is no complete equality between the man and the woman. The mother cannot undertake the initiative of begetting and the father cannot undertake the wonderful responsibility of child bearing, giving birth and nursing the suckling. The man and the woman must each take their place alongside of one another but they do not have such equality of function that they can replace one another. Legislation cannot change this. The male and female are not interchangeable units but complement each other in distinct ways.

The intended legislation will result in two different classes of union having the same description but essentially different. Centuries of literature would have to be annotated to indicate that marriage means “the union of one man and one woman in matrimonial bond” and not the new definition of “a committed relationship between two persons”. Even children will be able to recognize that the two things are not equal but merely have the same name.

The MP who mentioned Alice in Wonderland also mentioned “Orwellian territory”. This is apposite. He who would change reality must re-educate by propaganda, suppress contrary views, and enforce compliance. Christians who have prayed for those who have lost their employment because they could not in good conscience endorse civil partnerships know that our PM does not have the key for any quadruple lock. It would fall to courts beyond our shores to decide who will lose their jobs.

Christ said, “from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh…” (Mark 10.6-8)  Irrespective of oppression of conscience, matrimony will continue to the end of this creation and it will be plain for all to see that same-sex unions cannot be equal to matrimony even if the name of the latter were given to the former. The whole enterprise is a fallacy.

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