Can you guess the policy?

See how many clues it takes you to work out what policy this person is talking about.

It is a policy promoted “at the behest of a small minority of activists”.

It is not a minor policy for “it will redefine society”.

What’s more “it will have huge implications for what is taught in our schools”.

It even involves an “attempt to redefine reality”.

Not in a good way, for it “represents a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”. And not merely that, for it will “demolish a universally recognised human right” too. Demolish and grotesquely subvert. Now we’re talking.

And please, think of the children. “It would create a society which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father.”

But wait, that’s still not all. “Other dangers exist” too.

So no wonder that, if the policy goes ahead, the government “will have forfeited the trust which society has placed in them and their intolerance will shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world”.

Can you guess?





One final clue: the person in question is Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Britain’s most senior Catholic.





And the policy? Gay marriage.

* Mark Pack is Party President and is the editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

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This entry was posted in News.


  • jenny barnes 4th Mar '12 - 9:43am

    I think there’s a real danger here of Catholicophobia, mocking their inconsistent beliefs and statements, but I believe as a liberal democrat that Catholics have a perfect right to believe in ten mutually incompatible and or impossible things before breakfast, and it would be really unkind, indeed almost un-liberal, to be rude about them.

  • Richard Dean 4th Mar '12 - 11:09am

    Ha ha! Humour is helpful, even life-saving, but many people do see gay marriage like that, not only Catholics. Progress won’t be helped if we ignore these unfounded worries, and let’s not replace one set of folk demons with another.

  • Scott Berry 4th Mar '12 - 11:48am

    Lol at “their intolerance”. I heard that Lynne Featherstone is a really prejudiced and backwards invidual! I want to know what Human Right we’re demolishing?

  • There are lots of things that are (rightly) perfectly legal that I disagree with, some I find grotesque. The thing is that anyone who supports a liberal (small L) standpoint will be in my position. Laws are there to protect society not to force it to fit any single world view. If we adopt that route we become Iran..

    Therefore, unless someone is going to force the Cardinal to marry another man, or he provides actual evidence to back his tirade on families without a mother and father, then I fail to see his point. What about children in families where a parent has died, are they doomed to a life of misery? Children need good parenting and schooling they do not need a mother and father to achieve this but a loving family and adequate education…

    In my own circle of friends I have those who are married and unmarried, those who are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or simply not sure yet. Some are great parents, some less so, some have decided parenthood is not for them. Some are in loving relationships, some loveless marriages. Their success in either parenting or relationships seems to be entirely unrelated to their sexuality..

    As a caveat I say this as a practising Anglican so this is no attack on religion…

    Final point, the Cardinal is Britain’s most senior ‘Roman’ Catholic, there are many who consider themselves Catholic who do look to him as a leader…

  • Jayne Mansfield 4th Mar '12 - 12:45pm

    You are correct Richard Dean, ‘many people do see things like that’.

    As a lapsed Catholic, may I point out that we were taught to see things like that.

    It took me years and a spell away from home to unlearn the prejudices that I was taught both in the home and at a Catholic school.

    I would still call myself a Christian but I have no time for any organised religion that undermines the dignity o fmy fellow human beings.

    If practicing Catholics are opposed to gay marriage, the answer for them is not to enter into one.

  • Maria Pretzler 4th Mar '12 - 2:21pm

    Welsh Liberal Democrat Conference just passed (unanimously) the following emergency motion:

    Conference notes the comments this morning (4th March) by Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Catholic Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, describing the concept of gay marriage was a ‘grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right’.

    Conference believes:

    1) Civil Marriage is a matter for the state alone to define.
    2) the comments of the cardinal are misjudged abd do not reflect the views of the majority of people in the UK
    3) marriage is a right that should be available to all people
    4) that introducing gay marriage should be a priority for the UK government.

    Conference calls on Welsh LibDems at all levels to continue to campaign for the introduction of gay marriage.

    (typos all mine)

    I spoke in favour of the motion, and I am a Roman Catholic myself.
    Whenever one of our bishops speaks out like this it is just terrible … because I just know I’ll be spending fighting back attacks for some time. I am not defending the anti-gay stance of the Catholic church, but what you usually get is some very illiberal anti-religious hostility, and from more Liberal democrats than you’d expect, given the liberalism we want to represent.

    In the end, the best solution to this would be a complete separation between church marriage an state marriage, as it exists in some countries. The state should not simply acknowledge marriages by various religious organisations – I’d like to see a state of affairs where religious marriages and register office marriages are compleely eparate, and the legal status is only conferred by the register office. That way, there would be a clear line, and churches could regulate their marriages as they see fit, and would have no say over how the state wants to define secular marriages.

  • Cheltenham Robin 4th Mar '12 - 7:14pm

    Perhaps there should be a clause in the Bill that allows gay Catholics to opt out of getting married.

  • We could pass a law compelling UK employers to allow all their employees to marry without forfeiting their employment- worded carefully to avoid any loopholes around religions…

  • Julian Tisi 5th Mar '12 - 8:22am

    As someone else who is a committed Liberal and a committed Christian / Catholic, I too am appalled by the Cardinal’s ignorant statement. But so too are most of my Catholic friends. I include in this a number of catholic priests I know who are far more gay-friendly – and open about it – than you might imagine. There is a very strong anti-Catholic attitude in the UK. Some of it is undeserved, some hypocritical, some (child abuse, anti-gay rants by cardinals) sadly entirely deserved.

  • This debate is not about how homosexual or heterosexual couples choose to live their lives, and it’s not about whether religious groups should or shouldn’t be able to conduct ceremonies on their premises. That’s a different question. This debate is very specifically about whether the state should expand the current legal definition of marriage to include homosexual couples.

    Now I thought as liberals we were nervous of the state holding up *any* particular family configuration as an ideal, or to be officially mandated and sanctioned. That’s why we’ve always been nervous (or outright hostile) to marriage tax breaks etc. So why do we now want to rush to get state sponsorship for a particular family arrangement? I get the point about perceived discrimination – but (a) Clearly lots of people won’t accept gay couples as genuinely married in the social/religious sense, and you need to do the hard work of persuasion to change that, not simply change the law, and (b) as far as I can see there is no legal/financial difference in effect between marriage and civil partnership. So this is really about using the state to rubber stamp with approval a particular family structure.

    A far more liberal approach would be to seperate completely ‘marriage’ from civil unions, which can be offered to either gay or straight couples who want the legal and financial protections from the state. Otherwise, why so many self-identifying ‘liberals’ seem to want recognition from the state for how they live their personal lives is beyond me.

  • Scott Berry 7th Mar '12 - 9:12am

    Ben; surely the current state of affairs is the one implying “state sponsorship for a particular family arrangement”, whereas by widening the definition to include homosexual marriage you are widening the legally accepted arrangement, so being less pescriptive and more liberal!
    I’m vaguely sympathetic to the idea of abolishing legal marraige and just having civil ceremonies as the legal institution, allowing religious bodies to do what they want with marriage (which I think is your suggestion), but that debate isn’t happening; even if it were it’s so far of recieving popular support it’s laughable.
    Actually, the closest thing to that option that is practical given political constraints, is to expand the legal definition of marriage, but continue to allow churches and religious organisations their own definition of “Christian Marriage” (or insert other religion) and allow them to include whoever they choose in that, which is what is being proposed. Personally I prefer this option anyway, the word marriage is important to a lot of people, why not call a legal arrangement marriage if that’s what many people want. As it stands “marriage” is an important thing to many people and we should surely widen it to be available to as many people as we can if we want to be liberals and allow people to make their own choices about how to live their lives.

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