Response to the Isle of Man consultation on introducing so-called same-sex marriage

The Isle of Man Government is conducting a consultation regarding its proposed legislation to permit same-sex ‘marriage’ on the Island. This post contains the response my wife and I sent to the Isle of Man Government. Many of the points covered are applicable to the same-sex ‘marriage’ controversy in other countries.

Your response can help

The consultation closes on 13 November 2015 and is open to all, regardless of where they live. It would be very helpful for the Government to realize that a great many people from all over the world are opposed to the introduction of same-sex ‘marriage’. Here is how you can help:

  • State your opposition (no matter how briefly) in a polite email to Ms Anne Shimmin at equality@gov.im.
  • Leave a message by phone on +44 (0)1624 685202 opposing the legislation.
  • Share this post widely using the Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus buttons at the end of the article.

Thank you!

The Government’s consultation documents

Our response

We oppose the introduction of so-called same-sex marriage to the Isle of Man on the following grounds:

  1. the proposed legislation fundamentally misconstrues the purpose of the state’s legal recognition of marriage;
  2. the proposed Bill is unnecessary and divisive;
  3. on the basis of its own standards, the proposed legislation is intellectually incoherent and unfair;
  4. the proposed Bill would enshrine homosexual marriage in law as a second-class institution;
  5. the existing marriage legislation is already entirely fair and equal;
  6. the proposed legislation would further undermine the institution of marriage to the detriment of society;
  7. the proposed legislation does not sufficiently protect those who hold sincere philosophical or religious beliefs in opposition to same-sex ‘marriage’;
  8. Tynwald has no public mandate to enact the proposed Bill;
  9. the proposed legislation is a rebellion against God’s moral Law, blasphemes the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and is thus greatly offensive to Almighty God and to many people of faith.

We shall now briefly explain each of these points.

1. The proposed legislation fundamentally misconstrues the purpose of the state’s legal recognition of marriage

Legislation should serve the good of society.

The state has historically recognized and privileged particular institutions through its legal and tax systems. It does so because it believes this to result in tangible societal benefit. Traditional marriage (i.e. the lifelong union of one man and one woman) has long been recognized and privileged because society benefits economically and socially when children are raised in stable families where both father and mother are present throughout the child’s upbringing. Whilst it is true that traditional heterosexual marriages do not necessarily entail procreation, the state’s compelling interest in privileging traditional marriage is nevertheless to foster stable family environments where each child benefits from the distinct and complementary kinds of loving care offered by both father and mother. It is incontrovertible that the collapse of the traditional family in recent decades – caused in significant part by ill-advised legislative, tax and benefit policies – has resulted in great harm to our society.

It is evident that same-sex unions do not naturally result in children, and that such unions unavoidably deprive any children of the right and benefit of being cared for by both biological parents. Furthermore, recent high-quality research shows that children under the care of same-sex couples are significantly disadvantaged relative to those in the care of heterosexual couples.1,2 The state can therefore have no compelling interest in privileging same-sex relationships through its legal or tax system. When considered in this light, the Civil Partnership Act 2011 was undoubtedly misconceived.

If legislation should serve the good of society, the state conversely has no reason to legislate in areas that do not accrue benefit to society. Indeed, it should not legislate in such areas. This is because even clearly beneficial laws necessarily infringe upon the freedom and liberties of others. (For example, even a highly desirable law against theft constrains the liberty of the would-be thief to act according to his avarice.) Since individual liberty is of great value, the state – absent a compelling societal benefit – should not attempt to legislate to validate one person’s mere opinion over that of another. It is notably not the task of the state to create law in an attempt to make people feel happy, affirmed, or comfortable with their life choices.

The Consultation Document fails to present any societal benefit from the proposed legislation. It shows no understanding at all of why the state has historically privileged traditional marriage. Indeed, rather than advance a rational argument in support of the Bill, the Chief Minister instead makes in his foreword an ill-conceived emotional appeal to a vague notion of ‘fairness and tolerance’. We shall address this below.

The only other basis put forward by the Consultation Document in favour of the proposed legislation is that other jurisdictions have also recently considered the matter. Yet, no matter how many times and in how many different ways this same point is repetitiously advanced by the Document, this bare observation fails to rise to the level of rational argument. Other jurisdictions introduce all sorts of legislation for all sorts of reasons, and yet we do not and should not automatically follow suit unless there is a compelling reason for so doing. Again, the Consultation Document conspicuously fails to enunciate such a reason. We observe too that the Document singularly avoids dealing with the rather obvious counter to its notion that jurisdictional precedent is somehow important – namely, the fact that vastly more jurisdictions presently prohibit so-called homosexual marriage than permit it.

No legislation should ever be introduced upon such a paucity of rational argument as that evidenced by the Consultation Document. Far from this proposed Bill, in the words of the Chief Minister, sending ‘a strong message to the world that the Island is a modern and inclusive nation’, it instead proclaims loudly that the Island has abandoned rationality as a basis for its law, and has instead embraced the anarchy of unthinking emotionalism. Such elevation of feeling over rational thought is unworthy of our legislators, and bodes ill for our Island’s future. Indeed, the proposed Bill embodies exactly the kind of empty, gesture politics that a mature and responsible legislature should eschew.

2. The proposed Bill is unnecessary and divisive

Even if we were to concede some societal benefit to recognizing and privileging same-sex relationships, which we do not, the proposed legislation is utterly unnecessary. The Civil Partnership Act 2011 already enables homosexual couples to form a civil partnership, with all the tax and legal benefits attending traditional marriage. The proposed legislation thus in no way advances the actual rights of homosexual couples. Since the Bill is unnecessary, it should be rejected.

As the proposed legislation grants no tangible legal or tax benefits to homosexual couples, the only remaining reason for it to be passed is to demand from the rest of society an acceptance of homosexual unions as being morally good relationships equivalent in every way to traditional heterosexual life-long marriage. Yet, as we have already asserted, legislation should not be enacted to make people feel happy and comfortable by coercing affirmation of their life choices from another portion of the populace, which will then itself become unhappy and uncomfortable. Rather, legislation should be enacted only when it brings clear societal benefit.

Furthermore, as the Chief Minister admits, the proposed Bill is intensely divisive. He is entirely correct when he writes in his foreword:

I recognise that the proposed legislation to allow same sex couples to be married may generate strong and polarised views, with some organisations and individuals believing very strongly that marriage can only ever be between a man and a woman.

Thus, the only possible reason for enacting the legislation – to gain the approbation of wider society for homosexual unions by labelling them ‘marriage’ – is unachievable on the Chief Minister’s own admission. While consistent, Bible-believing Christians remain on the Island (or, indeed, anyone else with religious or philosophical objections), there will never be complete societal acceptance of so-called homosexual marriage. And, while Tynwald may declare a homosexual union to be ‘marriage’, and even drive-away Christians, its fiat can never alter the biological fact that men and women are not physically interchangeable. Homosexual relationships can never and will never be equivalent to heterosexual ones, not least because a homosexual couple’s anatomy is fundamentally incompatible, and they are unable to procreate without external assistance.

Again, then, the legislation is shown both to be unnecessary and unable to achieve its presumed goal of normalizing homosexual unions. It unwisely seeks to privilege – with no concomitant societal benefit – the opinions and feelings of a very few homosexual activists (albeit some in positions of high power) over the livelihoods of those who hold sincere, rational, reality-based philosophical or religious objections to the very concept of homosexual ‘marriage’. The proposal is thus futile and, because it is extraordinarily divisive, damaging to the cohesion of our small Island community. It should be rejected.

3. On the basis of its own standards, the proposed legislation is intellectually incoherent and unfair

The stated goal of the proposed Bill is the promotion of some supposed notion of ‘fairness and tolerance’. Yet, considered on the grounds of such emotionalism, the proposed legislation is seen to be distinctly unfair:

  • It continues to privilege couples over polygamous relationships. (The reason for marriage being between two people is self-evidently that our physical nature requires two people to procreate – a male and a female. Once the requirement for marriage to be between one male and one female is abandoned, as it is with same-sex unions, there remains no principled non-religious reason to prohibit polygamous relationships.)

  • It continues to privilege those not in a consanguineous relationship over those who would claim to be in ‘loving relationship’ with an incestuously close family member. (Once procreation is abandoned as the basis for the legal privileging of marriage, there remains no non-religious argument to proscribe incestuous relationships.)

If an emotional appeal to ‘fairness and tolerance’ is to be the determining principle for our marriage legislation, what then is the rational basis for prohibiting ‘loving, committed’ polygamous relationships? And why then should a man not marry his sister, nephew, niece, brother – or indeed, even his own father or mother?

To be clear, we are strongly against extending marriage legislation to allow for such relationships, and believe that to do so would be detrimental to society. Nevertheless, it is intellectually incoherent to extend marriage to same-sex couples on the grounds of ‘fairness and tolerance’ for ‘loving, committed’ relationships (again, to use the Chief Minister’s words), but then to deny it to other kinds of professedly ‘loving, committed’ relationships. It is unfathomable that the Consultation Document fails to make even the slightest attempt to address such glaring logical difficulties with the position it advocates.

The proposed legislation should therefore be rejected as being self-defeating in its utter inconsistency with its own stated aims.

4. The proposed Bill would enshrine homosexual marriage in law as a second-class institution

The Consultation Document clearly intends the proposed legislation to be understood as extending existing traditional marriage privileges to cover homosexual couples. However, schedule 2 part 3 of the proposed Bill borrows from a similar provision in the UK legislation and expressly states:

Only conduct between the respondent and a person of the opposite sex can constitute adultery for the purposes of this section.

Thus, whereas infidelity with someone of the same sex as one’s spouse is considered adultery for heterosexual marriage, that same infidelity is not regarded as adultery for the purposes of homosexual ‘marriage’.

This provision is bizarre, if the legislation is truly (as the Chief Minister claims) intended to permit ‘loving, committed couples of the same sex to be married’. If the legislation is indeed for the benefit of committed homosexual couples, why do those supposedly committed couples need a special definition of adultery that expressly excludes the most likely acts of homosexual infidelity that would demonstrate the absence of such commitment?

The Consultation Document curiously fails to explain the rationale for this provision. However, a 2013 Slate article reveals why it is likely thought necessary (our emphasis):3

But the thorny part of the gay marriage experiment is sex, and more precisely, monogamous sex. Mundy writes about an old study from the ’80s that found that gay couples were extremely likely to have had sex outside their relationship—82 percent did. That was before AIDS and the great matrimony craze in the gay community. She also tells the story of Dan Savage, who started out wanting to be monogamous until he and his partner had kids, and then they loosened up on that in order to make their union last. “Monogamish” is what he calls his new model. But as Mundy asks, can anyone out there imagine a husband proposing that same deal to his pregnant wife?

A long Gawker story last week explored this problem in greater detail. In the fight for marriage equality, the gay rights movement has put forth couples that look like straight ones, together forever, loyal, sharing assets. But what no one wants to talk about is that they don’t necessarily represent the norm:

The Gay Couples Study out of San Francisco State University—which, in following over 500 gay couples over many years is the largest on-going study of its kind—has found that about half of all couples have sex with someone other than their partner, with their partner knowing.

In writing about the subject, gay people emphasize the aspects of their relationships that sound most wholesome and straight-like, Steven Thrasher writes. They neglect to mention that, say, in Thrasher’s case, he met his partner for sex only once, and they ended up falling in love. The larger point being that gay couples are very different when it comes to sex, even if this is not the convenient moment to discuss that. And in legalizing gay marriage, we are accepting a form of sanctioned marriage that is not by habit monogamous and that is inventing all kinds of new models of how to accommodate lust and desire in long-term relationships.

The special adultery provision, then, would enshrine in law a lower expectation of sexual fidelity for homosexual ‘marriage’ than is expected of heterosexual marriage. The proposed legislation thereby acknowledges the de facto reality that many male homosexual couples do not wish to enter into ‘loving, committed’ relationships equivalent to heterosexual marriages. What the legislation proposes is thus not the equal of faithful, monogamous heterosexual marriage, but something of a fundamentally different character that is merely called ‘marriage’.

Again, the proposed legislation is shown to be incoherent and self-defeating. On the one hand, it purports to offer equivalency between homosexual and heterosexual marriage. On the other, it defines a lower standard and expectation of sexual fidelity for so-called homosexual marriage. It would enshrine homosexual ‘marriage’ as a de jure second-class institution inferior to traditional heterosexual marriage.

5. The existing marriage legislation is already entirely fair and equal

Given that the proposed legislation continues to disadvantage certain classes of professedly ‘loving, committed’ relationship (e.g. those that are polygamous or incestuous), it would not therefore enact ‘marriage equality’ in any meaningful sense, but merely a different form of unequal marriage.

The Bill thus implicitly admits that the question of ‘fairness and tolerance’ (and therefore, of the justice of the legislation) ought not to be determined by legislative restrictions upon whom one can marry (since the proposed legislation continues to leave significant restrictions in place), but rather by which individuals can avail themselves of the institution of marriage.

The truth here is that traditional marriage, as embodied in the existing legislation, is already entirely fair and tolerant in the latter respect – every unmarried person, no matter his or her self-identified sexual orientation, is already perfectly at liberty to marry a suitable, willing and single person of the opposite sex. That certain people choose not to avail themselves of the legal opportunity to marry a person of the opposite sex is their right, but in no way does this indicate any deficiency, intolerance or unfairness in the existing marriage legislation.

Thus, on the basis of the principle of ‘fairness and tolerance’ as advanced by the Chief Minister, the Bill is manifestly unnecessary and should therefore be rejected.

6. The proposed legislation would further undermine the institution of marriage to the detriment of society

In his foreword, the Chief Minister asserts that ‘allowing loving, committed couples of the same sex to be married in no way undermines the institution of marriage’. The Chief Minister is wrong.

As already discussed, the state’s legitimate interest in marriage is the promotion of stable families in which children are nurtured by, as far as is possible, their biological father and mother. Given this right understanding, it is self-evidently plain that the state’s interest is subverted by similarly privileging other relationships that, by their very nature, militate against this desired outcome. (This is even more the case if the stability of those other relationships is undermined by a watered-down definition of adultery.) If those other relationships are supported by the state in the same way as marriage, then people have no incentive to maintain traditional marriages over those other relationships. Thus, traditional marriage itself is necessarily undermined.

Furthermore, it is self-evident that the specialness of a thing is dependent upon its particularity: if everything is special, then nothing is. The state’s historical privileging of traditional, heterosexual marriage signals that it is an institution of a special character that confers particular benefits upon society. Extending that privilege to other relationships necessarily devalues the specialness of the traditional marriage institution and weakens the strength of the signal sent by the state’s support for it. To take this to its logical conclusion, one could hypothetically call every ‘loving’ human relationship ‘marriage’. It is obvious that to do so would radically undermine marriage as an institution. It follows, then, that every step to lessen the particularity of traditional marriage diminishes that institution.

We grant that the Civil Partnership Act 2011 has already significantly undermined traditional marriage by extending the legal and tax benefits of traditional marriage to other relationships. Yet, this is not an argument for weakening marriage still further by radically redefining it, but rather for repealing the Civil Partnership Act.

Finally, even some advocates for same-sex ‘marriage’ (those rather more candid than our Chief Minister) admit that it will change the marriage institution. Masha Gessen, a journalist and homosexual activist, made the following comments while on a panel at the 2012 Sydney Writers’ Festival, Australia:4

… it’s a no-brainer that [homosexuals] should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. … fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there — because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie.

The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change. And again, I don’t think it should exist. And I don’t like taking part in creating fictions about my life. That’s sort of not what I had in mind when I came out thirty years ago.

I have three kids who have five parents, more or less. And I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally. I don’t see why we should choose two of those parents and make them a sanctioned couple.

Masha Gessen understands that the logic of homosexual ‘marriage’ ultimately leads to the destruction of the institution of marriage itself, and thus to the normalization of absurd and damaging situations such as those in which her three children ‘have five parents, more or less’. If this is where the Chief Minister and his Government intend to take us, they should at least be honest with the electorate they serve about their intentions.

The proposed legislation will damage the institution of marriage. It has profound, negative implications for society, some of which will take many years to become fully apparent. It should be rejected.

7. The proposed legislation does not sufficiently protect those who hold sincere philosophical or religious beliefs in opposition to same-sex ‘marriage’

We welcome the fact that some attempt has been made via clause 8 of the proposed Bill to protect those with religious or philosophical objections to same-sex ‘marriage’. However, the clause is woefully inadequate for at least the following reasons:

  • It does not define what constitutes participation in a marriage ceremony. Is a florist ‘participating’ in a ceremony by providing flowers? What about the photographer and videographer, or the caterers, or the person who makes the cake? What about a hotelier who is asked to accommodate the newly ‘married’ couple? All these people may feel bound by conscience not to affirm same-sex ‘marriage’ in any way through their provision of goods or services.

  • The opt-out is expressly only for religious ceremonies. However, the aforementioned providers of wedding-related goods and services will no doubt generally wish to supply both religious and civil weddings. Thus, although the Consultation Document claims protection for an ‘organist who usually plays at wedding services at a church’, no such protection is offered for those participating in civil ceremonies. The Consultation Document paints a misleadingly one-sided and vastly over-optimistic picture of the protections offered by the proposed Bill.

  • Given that the opt-out is expressly only for religious ceremonies, the proposed legislation would immediately exclude every Bible-believing Christian from any public office or private function relating to civil marriage. Indeed, as the Consultation Document itself states, the Bill ‘makes clear that the conduct of a marriage registrar or the Chief Registrar is not included in the protection provided by this section’. The Bill will, if enacted, thus directly discriminate against Christians (and others with strong religious objections to same-sex ‘marriage’) by rendering them unable to hold these public offices.

  • The Bill provides no protection whatsoever for those providing goods or services to married couples before or after a ‘wedding’ has taken place. For example, landlords or hoteliers may wish to provide accommodation only to married couples. Such service providers would have no protection under the proposed legislation if they were to decline to provide service to a ‘married’ homosexual couple.

These concerns are not hypothetical. Even though same-sex marriage legislation is a very new phenomenon, examples already abound of people in various jurisdictions being persecuted by the authorities and suffering material harm due to their being unable in good conscience to provide goods or services relating to homosexual ‘marriage’ or relationships. For example, consider these reported cases:

  • ‘A federal judge jailed a Kentucky clerk … for contempt after she repeatedly defied his order to issue marriage licenses to gay and straight couples, imposing his authority in the most high-profile challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk, had unsuccessfully appealed all the way to the high court to delay an order by the judge that she issue marriage licenses to all qualified couples, gay or heterosexual.’5

  • ‘Oregon officials announced that Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweetcakes by Melissa, would be fined $135,000 for their refusal to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding’.6

  • ‘A custom cake baker in suburban Denver can’t cite his religious convictions in declining to make a wedding cake for two men, a Colorado appeals court ruled today. “Cake artist” Jack Phillips said he gladly serves gays and lesbians in his family business. But, Phillips said, he could not in good conscience design a wedding cake for a same-sex couple when, as a Christian, he believes that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.’7

  • Barronelle Stutzman, ‘A Christian florist and grandmother who declined to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding because of her Christian belief in traditional marriage has been fined $1,001 by a Washington court and will be held liable to pay the legal fees incurred by the gay couple, which could “devastate” her financially.’8

  • ‘A U.K. judge has ruled that a Christian-run bakery discriminated against gay customers when it refused to make a cake featuring the “Sesame Street” characters Bert and Ernie with a pro same-sex marriage slogan. District Judge Isobel Brownlie ruled at Belfast County Court on Tuesday that Ashers Bakery, the defendants, “have unlawfully discriminated against the plaintiff on grounds of sexual discrimination,” The Belfast Telegraph reported.’9

  • ‘The New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) has ruled that the Roman Catholic owners [Robert and Cynthia Gifford] of an Albany-area farm violated the civil rights of a lesbian couple when they declined to host the couple’s same-sex “marriage” ceremony in 2012.’10

  • ‘Peter and Hazelmary Bull, the Christian hoteliers fined for refusing a single room to two homosexual men in September 2008, have lost their appeal to the UK’s Supreme Court, with the court ruling that their company policy was “discriminatory.” Despite the fact that the couple proved that their policy applied equally to any unmarried couples, and not just homosexuals, all five judges ruled the Bulls’ policy to be a case of illegal discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, and dismissed their appeal. Two of the judges said the discrimination was “indirect,” but unjustified.’11

The Consultation Document asserts (section 4.1) that ‘it is not considered that the proposals would have any impact on the business or third sectors’. It thereby demonstrates how that document’s authors and the drafters of the Bill have utterly failed to understand how the proposals comprehensively infringe the personal and religious liberties of those engaged in marriage-related businesses.

If the proposed Bill is enacted in its present state, the evidence from other jurisdictions is abundantly clear that Christians and others with sincere religious objections to same-sex relationships will be further marginalized and oppressed. The Bill would impose upon many of them deep economic and emotional harm, and force them to choose between their livelihoods and their faith. In the name of ‘tolerance and fairness’, the proposed legislation will thus entrench a deeply unfair intolerance of Christians who wish to live quiet, productive, law-abiding lives in accord with their deeply held religious beliefs. The legislation is exceedingly unjust and discriminatory. It must be rejected.

It ought to be self-evident that it is acutely inequitable and incongruent for an allegedly pluralistic and tolerant society to compel individuals to labour to provide goods and services in a manner that violates their consciences. If the proposed legislation is nevertheless enacted, it is thus essential that it is with the addition of a clause expressly guaranteeing the freedom (without the risk of subsequent censure or sanction) of any individual or organization to decline to provide goods or services for any reason or purpose that they believe to be contrary to their religious or philosophical beliefs. It is also essential that there be wording to guarantee the freedom of individuals and organizations to continue to advocate against homosexual ‘marriage’. The draft Equality Bill should likewise be amended to guarantee these vital freedoms.

8. Tynwald has no public mandate to enact the proposed Bill

The Consultation Document advances no evidence whatsoever of any widespread desire by the people of the Isle of Man for the introduction of same-sex ‘marriage’. This is a measure for which no one on the Island has voted.

Though the Consultation Document provides a litany of other jurisdictions that have introduced similar legislation, it fails to note that a great many of these introductions have been by government action or judicial edict, regardless of – and often contrary to – the wishes of the general population. For example, the 2008 democratically passed proposition providing that ‘only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California’ was subsequently overturned by judicial fiat.12 The recent June 2015 decision of the US Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges – astonishingly cited and mischaracterized by the Consultation Document as a positive precedent – likewise overrode numerous democratically enacted state-level bans on same-sex marriage. As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in his scathing dissent to that decision (our emphasis):13

Stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that much more difficult to accept.

The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent. The majority expressly disclaims judicial “caution” and omits even a pretense of humility, openly relying on its desire to remake society according to its own “new insight” into the “nature of injustice.” Ante, at 11, 23. As a result, the Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are?

We find it appalling that the authors of the Consultation Document should consider such blatant judicial disregard for the Constitution of the United States and the democratically expressed wishes of its people to be a worthy precedent that the Isle of Man should emulate. We instead concur with Chief Justice Roberts – it is unwise for matters such as these to be stolen from the people, whether that be by judges or by MHKs.

Traditional, heterosexual marriage is, as Chief Justice Roberts writes, ‘a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia’. We thus consider it unwise and harmful to community cohesion to introduce such a profoundly significant, divisive and disruptive measure without the express consent of the people, preferably sought by way of referendum. If, despite having no democratic mandate to do so, Tynwald nevertheless hubristically takes it upon itself to force-through such manifestly incoherent and discriminatory legislation as that proposed, overturning in the process the millennia-old ‘basis of human society’, the consequences for our community are likely to be both grave and irreparable.

9. The proposed legislation is a rebellion against God’s moral Law, blasphemes the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and is thus greatly offensive to Almighty God and to many people of faith

We have hitherto endeavoured to confine ourselves to arguments rooted in logic and reason that people of all religions – and those of none – should readily comprehend.

However, like other sincere, confessional Christians rooted in the historic, orthodox Christian Faith, our worldview is grounded in what that Faith has always considered to be the authoritative, written Word of the Almighty God, maker of Heaven and Earth – namely, the 66 books of the Christian Bible. Whilst we have no expectation that this worldview will be shared by most of the Island’s legislators, a brief outline of the Christian understanding of marriage may nevertheless help them to understand why Christians regard this particular proposed Bill with such grave alarm. Be in no doubt, if Tynwald passes this legislation it will be declaring its open hostility to the Almighty God, to the Christian Religion, and to all those who sincerely hold the teachings of the historic, orthodox Christian Faith.

  1. Christians believe that the one Almighty Triune God in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – created the entire universe. As such, we are His creatures and obligated to live our lives in obedience to His will.

  2. We believe that God Himself instituted marriage to be between one man and one woman. The Lord Jesus Christ – the second Person of the Triune God, who took on human flesh and became a man – affirms this by quoting from the biblical Genesis account of creation. These words of Jesus are recorded in Matthew 19:4–6:14

    And He [Jesus] answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

  3. Since marriage was instituted by God to be between a man and his (female) wife, it follows that the purported institution of so-called same-sex marriage is a fundamental rebellion by man against God His Creator. Such rebellion justly incurs God’s condemnation and wrath.

  4. As the Bible teaches that God is good, and that all He commands us is for our own benefit, this rebellion against the clearly expressed will of our Creator God must necessarily be to our own harm and detriment.

  5. Furthermore, as the Apostle Paul explains in Ephesians 5:23–33, the institution of marriage between a husband and wife is a picture of the relationship of the Lord Jesus Christ to His Church:

    For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

  6. If every marriage between a woman and a man is a typological picture of the Lord Jesus Christ’s self-sacrificial love and giving of Himself for His Church, it follows that the purported marrying of two people of the same sex is a blasphemous corruption of that picture. Same-sex ‘marriage’ erases the distinction between the two spouses in the marriage typology, and thus erases the distinction between the Lord Jesus Christ (who is God) and His Church (His creature). It is therefore a direct, idolatrous blasphemy against the person of the Lord Jesus Christ – God in human flesh – and His work of laying down His life to save His own Bride, which is the Church.

  7. Not only has God instituted marriage to be between one man and one woman, but He has commanded all humankind to adhere to an abiding moral Law rooted in the very nature and character of God Himself. This moral Law is epitomized by the Ten Commandments, and summarized by the twin injunctions to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love our neighbour as ourselves.

  8. When honestly considered, these Ten Commandments reveal every single naturally conceived human being to be guilty of breaking God’s Law. We have all failed to love God with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength, and we have all failed to love our neighbour as ourselves. Indeed, the Bible tells us that each one of us is born with a sinful nature that is in open rebellion against God, and that we have each deservedly earned His fierce, eternal wrath and condemnation.

  9. Christians thus call all people to turn away from their sin, echoing the words of the Apostle Paul when he said, ‘Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man [Jesus] whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.’ (Acts 17:30–31)

  10. In addition to God’s Law, Christians also proclaim the Gospel, the Good News that the Lord Jesus Christ became a human being, lived the life of perfect obedience to God’s Law that we are unable to achieve, and died on a Roman execution cross in the place of sinners. Jesus there willingly took upon Himself the punishment and wrath of God due to His people. God the Father then raised Jesus from the dead, thereby declaring Jesus’ sacrifice in the place of sinners to be pleasing and acceptable.

  11. By faith – that is, by trusting in the sure grace and mercy of God promised by this Gospel – Christians believe that God the Father accounts the perfect righteousness and obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ as if it truly belonged to the repentant sinner. And likewise, through faith, we believe that God counts the self-sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross as being an acceptable punishment for all the sin of the now repentant, trusting sinner. Thus, through faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, underserving sinners are graciously reconciled with God, cleansed from their sin, and saved from the eternal punishment that would otherwise be their due. Such saving faith is itself a gracious gift from God.

  12. Christians, then, do not oppose same-sex ‘marriage’ out of a desire to denigrate or disparage homosexuals, but rather because we love them. Since we believe the very concept of same-sex ‘marriage’ to be a blasphemous rebellion against God’s revealed will, it must inevitably be harmful to those participating in it, and damaging to the society that permits it. We Christians therefore have a duty to love all our neighbours by telling them these truths, and by calling them to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We do this not to condemn anyone, but in the hope that our neighbours may be saved from the wrath of the holy and just Almighty God through believing the Good News of the Lord Jesus and His life, death and resurrection for sinners. We Christians too are sinners, saved not by our own merit or works, but by the underserved favour of God toward us in Christ. We do not therefore believe ourselves superior to other people, but rather wish them also to come to a saving knowledge of the grace of God through the Good News of Jesus.

It is with this love for our neighbours in mind that we beg the Chief Minister, the Cabinet Office, and Tynwald to reject this profoundly objectionable, ill-considered, intellectually incoherent, intolerant, discriminatory, unjust, rebellious, and blasphemous Bill.


  1. Peter S. Sprigg, ‘Homosexual Parent Study: Summary of Findings’, Family Research Council, 23 August 2012, http://www.frc.org/issuebrief/homosexual-parent-study-summary-of-findings
  2. ‘Homosexual Parenting: Is It Time For Change?’, American College of Pediatricians, March 2013, http://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/parenting-issues/homosexual-parenting-is-it-time-for-change
  3. Hanna Rosin, ‘The Dirty Little Secret: Most Gay Couples Aren’t Monogamous’, Slate, 26 June 2013, http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/06/26/most_gay_couples_aren_t_monogamous_will_straight_couples_go_monogamish.html
  4. Johanna Dasteel, ‘Homosexual activist says gay “marriage” isn’t about equality, it’s about destroying marriage’, LifeSiteNews.com, 1 May 2013, https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/homosexual-activist-says-gay-marriage-isnt-about-equality-its-about-destroy
  5. Arian Campo-Flores, ‘Defiant Kentucky Clerk Jailed for Refusing to Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses’, The Wall Street Journal, 3 September 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/defiant-kentucky-clerk-to-appear-in-court-over-refusal-to-issue-same-sex-marriage-licenses-1441295805
  6. Billy Hallowell, ‘Baker Has a Message for the Gov’t Official Who Just Fined Him $135,000 for Declining a Gay Wedding Cake: “He’s Doing This With the Wrong Christian”’, The Blaze, 3 July 2015, http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/07/03/christian-baker-has-a-message-for-the-govt-official-who-just-fined-him-135000-for-declining-a-gay-wedding-cake-hes-doing-this-with-the-wrong-christian/
  7. Ken McIntyre, ‘Christian Baker Must Make Cakes Celebrating Gay Marriage, Appeals Court Rules’, The Daily Signal, 13 August 2015, http://dailysignal.com/2015/08/13/christian-baker-must-make-cakes-celebrating-gay-marriage-appeals-court-rules/
  8. Samuel Smith, ‘Christian Grandma-Florist Fined $1,001, Ordered to Work Gay Weddings but Refuses, Says She Won’t Betray Jesus; State Threatens to Take Her Home, Business Away’, The Christian Post, 30 March 2015, http://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-grandma-florist-fined-1001-ordered-to-work-gay-weddings-but-refuses-says-she-wont-betray-jesus-state-threatens-to-take-her-home-business-away-136613/
  9. Stoyan Zaimov, ‘UK Christian Bakery Found Guilty of “Sexual Discrimination” for Refusing to Bake Gay Marriage “Bert and Ernie” Cake’, The Christian Post, 19 May 2015, http://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-uk-bakery-forced-to-pay-fine-for-discrimination-against-gay-people-for-refusing-to-bake-pro-same-sex-marriage-bert-and-ernie-cake-139288/
  10. Kirsten Andersen, ‘Catholic couple fined $13,000 for refusing to host same-sex “wedding” at their farm’, LifeSiteNews.com, 20 August 2014, https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-couple-fined-13000-for-refusing-to-host-same-sex-wedding-at-their
  11. Hilary White, ‘Christian B&B owners lose Supreme Court appeal: forced to sell business after gay couple complains’, LifeSiteNews.com, 28 November 2013, https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/christian-bb-owners-lose-supreme-court-appeal-forced-to-sell-business-after
  12. Dylan Matthews, ‘The Supreme Court ended Proposition 8. Here’s what that means.’, The Washington Post, 26 June 2013, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/06/26/the-supreme-court-ended-proposition-8-heres-what-that-means/
  13. Chief Justice Roberts, ‘OBERGEFELL v. HODGES’, Supreme Court of the United States, 26 June 2015, http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf
  14. Scripture quotations are taken from The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982). 

3 thoughts on “Response to the Isle of Man consultation on introducing so-called same-sex marriage”

  1. so based on your biased and religious ways my partner and I would be forbidden to be married if you would get your draconian way. Jesus said by your love will they know you are mine… you don’t love you judge and condemn. GBTL communities around the world should not be marginalised but included in all walks of life.

    Of course if you only want a man and woman to have the label of marriage then you can keep divorce and marital abuse, and affairs as well…

    read your bible and understand Jesus never said anything against gays or lesbians – it was Paul.

    1. Dear Louise,

      I wonder whether you actually read the article and thought about the arguments I made? Rather than make a rational argument yourself, you have merely thrown out the emotionally loaded accusation that I ‘don’t love’ but instead ‘judge and condemn’. This rather suggests that, having no good argument yourself, you merely wish to shut down the debate with an ad hominem attack.

      1. You assert that ‘GBTL communities around the world should not be marginalised but included in all walks of life’. Should this also apply to other ‘communities’ of people acting in contravention of God’s commands? What about the ‘adulterous community’, or the ‘thieving community’, or the ‘parent-dishonouring community’? Though you assert your opinion, you do not make any argument as to why it should be thought valid. You fail to explain why society should privilege those engaged in certain kinds of sexual sin.

      2. As I explained, Jesus spoke very clearly about the creation institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman. The consistent testimony of the Scriptures is to condemn homosexual relations.

      3. All the 66 books of the Scriptures are θεόπνευστος – ‘God breathed’, and are thus indicative of what Jesus thinks. You don’t get to set Jesus (the Second Person of the Trinity) against Paul writing as He was moved by the Third Person of the Trinity.

      4. I am showing my love for homosexuals (and everyone else) by calling them to repent of their sin and be forgiven through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His work. It would be extremely unloving to take the easy route of avoiding conflict by saying nothing, thereby leaving people in ignorance of their sin to their eternal condemnation.

      5. With regard to divorce, I affirm what Jesus says (Matt. 19:6) – ‘Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.’ Our society’s lax divorce and remarriage laws have been a source of great evil. However, this is not the matter at hand and has nothing to do with the validity of homosexual ‘marriage’.

      6. I am absolutely against affairs, and also marital abuse in all its forms. Again, though, these have nothing to do with the validity of homosexual ‘marriage’. (With reference to the proper relation of man to wife, I refer you to the words of Paul from Ephesians 5 that I quoted in the article: husbands are to lay down their lives for their wives in a self-sacrificial way. This is as far from an abusive relationship as it is possible to get.)

      Finally, you ask me to read my Bible. I ask you to do the same, take seriously the teaching of the entire Scripture, and submit yourself to its authority. At the moment, you are clearly just picking and choosing the parts with which you happen to agree. You have made yourself judge of Scripture, rather than allowing it to judge you. Repent, and believe the Good News that Christ lived, died and rose again even for sinners like you and me.

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