PM’s faith minister attacks gay marriage law saying it could have string of ‘unintended consequences’

December 13th, 20127:19 am @

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  • Letter leaked to Daily Mail reveals Baroness Warsi is breaking ranks
  • She demands to know how gay marriage will be taught in schools
  • Ex-Tory chairman’s move will embolden other MPs to oppose bill

By
James Chapman

23:37, 12 December 2012


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07:09, 13 December 2012

Baroness Warsi has broken ranks on gay marriage to warn it could have a string of ‘unintended consequences’

The minister for faith has broken ranks on gay marriage to warn that David Cameron’s controversial legislation could have a string of ‘unintended consequences’.

In a letter leaked to the Daily Mail, Baroness Warsi suggests schools could be required to teach about same-sex unions, while individual priests and churches who refuse to conduct them risk being sued.

Her intervention will embolden more than 100 Tory MPs who are threatening to vote against the legislation in the New Year.

Writing to Culture Secretary Maria Miller, who unveiled the planned legislation on Tuesday, Lady Warsi raises a series of questions about the change in the law.

She demands ‘clarity’ on how the new law will properly ‘protect religious freedom’ and asks: ‘What legal support will be afforded to churches and other places of worship if they’re challenged individually or as an organisation?’ 

Lady Warsi, who attends Cabinet and is also senior minister for the Foreign Office, asks what legal advice the Government has received in relation to the compatibility of gay marriage legislation with ‘domestic and European law’.

Most contentiously, the peer, who held talks on the issue this week with Church of England leaders, asks: ‘What consideration has been given to the teaching of equal marriage in schools, both faith schools and non-faith schools?’

Her letter, sent after Mrs Miller outlined her plans to MPs, was copied to Education Secretary Michael Gove, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, Attorney General Dominic Grieve and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

The Cabinet signed off the plans this week, but Lady Warsi’s letter suggests that serious reservations – understood to be shared by other ministers, such as Environment Secretary Owen Paterson – remain.

Lady Warsi tells Mrs Miller that as minister for faith she has received a ‘large volume of calls in relation to this matter’ from groups seeking assurance ‘about a number of aspects of the policy’.

She writes: ‘How will we ensure that the legislation will protect religious freedom? What legal protection will churches and other places of worship be afforded from challenges if they refuse to undertake same-sex marriage?

‘What legal support will be afforded to churches and other places of worship if they’re challenged individually or as an organisation?’

Lady Warsi also reflects concerns that schools could be required to teach children about same-sex marriage. Under the Education Act 1996, pupils must learn about the nature of marriage and its importance for family life and the bringing up of children.

Exchanges between Government officials released under freedom of information laws earlier this year suggested that if plans to allow gay couples to marry are passed into law, same-sex marriage might also have to be added to the sex education curriculum.

In a letter leaked to the Daily Mail, Baroness Warsi suggests schools could be required to teach about same-sex unions, while individual priests and churches who refuse to conduct them risk being sued

But the Education Department has repeatedly insisted that teachers will still be able to refuse to teach anything considered inappropriate to the religious or cultural backgrounds of their pupils.

Colin Hart, campaign director of the Coalition for Marriage, a campaign group opposing same-sex ceremonies, said: ‘Baroness Warsi is absolutely right when she highlights that the Government has failed to even pretend to try to protect teachers and other public sector workers from the effects of their gay marriage proposals.

‘Only a couple of weeks ago, an education minister admitted that the Government still hasn’t a clue on the effects of their policy on teachers, schools and parents who hold traditional views on marriage. How many more months do they need?’

Mrs Miller’s attempt to broker a compromise, by promising a special legal ban on gay marriages in the Church of England, appears to have satisfied no one. 

Under Government plans unveiled on Tuesday, religious same-sex marriages will be allowed in civil venues and places of worship that want to opt in.

But, as an extra safeguard in what the Culture Secretary called a ‘quadruple lock’, the legislation will also outlaw any such ceremony in the Church of England and the Church in Wales.

However the Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan said: ‘In my personal opinion, it’s a great pity it’s illegal for us not to even have the possibility to do it. It should be left for us to opt in or opt out.’

And gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said banning the Church of England from performing same-sex marriages could breach of EU law.

Lady Warsi refused to comment.
 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Cameron took a Muslim on board to show how PC and ‘right on’ he was (actually a good idea done for dishonourable reasons). Now that appointment has come back to bite him on the bum !

Wee Willie
,

Glasgow,
13/12/2012 05:16

simple… teach them that some people marry the opposite sex and have sexual relations with them while some people choose relations and marriage with people of the same sex, and that it is completely NORMAL whatever their choice, and religious people against same sex marriage are just prejudice freaks with shallow brain washed out looks, welcome to the 21st century, equal rights for everyone!

FreeSpeaker
,

North yorkshire,
13/12/2012 04:52

clowns.. in disguises… Keep up the good work Baroness Warsi.. we are behind you… and we will vote with our hearts..and clear mind….marriage is a definition of a union between MAN and WOMAN so that they become HUSBAND and WIFE in order to fulfill the marriage they can procreate and consummate their marriage vows. The law should just state that gays can register their partnership and keep marriage sacred not sacrilegious… as how the politicians want it.

THere is a saying… “When you throw a Politician into a river and they drown…. That’s called POLLUTION”… here they are polluting the minds of our children and the future of our humanity….

nomadicman
,

Boston,
13/12/2012 04:44

Ha! Pack of jokers thinking the church will stand for that. I can see riots happening!

Angel
,

Somewhere hot,
13/12/2012 04:36

Baroness Warsi is correct. The Gay Lobby have their civil partnerships and that is enough. Even a little child understands what marriage mean. To make it stand for more than one type of union weakens it as an institution. Marriage is between a man and a woman ONLY and must stay that way.

Reubenene
,

Victoria, Australia,
13/12/2012 04:35

‘Faith’ minister? You can’t make these things up.. Oh no wait

xavi
,

my own little world,
13/12/2012 04:34

This new law is going to be a disaster because as with most tinkering with the fabric of society, there will be unforseable and forseable consequencies, usually meaning that rights of the minority become more equal than those of the majority. In an attempt to impose equality for same sex marriages on society, they are rewriting the very meaning and the purpose of marriage. The government are trying to hoodwink us into accepting that a British law can protect faith groups from being forced to perform same sex marriages by the ECHR. A gay couple may decide to test it’s legality very quickly after it becomes law. Already the idea is falling apart, with Mr Tatchell honestly admitting that it could breach european law. We must stop this before it’s too late.

Andrew
,

Kent, England.,
13/12/2012 04:24

A mystery why David Cameron is pushing this so hard.

mrslightlyannoyed
,

Hemel Hempstead England,
13/12/2012 04:14

Who cares about European law? What matters is that everyone has the right to get married whatever the sex of the couple! It should be a basic right not a law! Get with the times UK its not 1912!

nznick
,

Bournemouth,
13/12/2012 04:12

But its ok to teach about the lunacy called religion ?

cappygolucky
,

Adelaide, Australia,
13/12/2012 03:07

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