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The Christian Solidarity Party makes its case on civil partnership… Clue: They’re not fans. October 30, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
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Many thanks to the person who forwarded this email from the CSP to our elected politicians. It certainly lays it on the line. It also, I’d suggest, indicates the degree of concern in ultra-right Catholic circles at the forthcoming legislation. I understand that the GP has been pushing for the implementation of civil partnerships in the face of considerable resistance from FF. It will be educative to see whether this survives despite now being embedded in the revised Programme for Government.

Subject: Unprecedented Threat to Religious Freedom: Dáil to Debate Bill on November 2

Comhar Criostai,THE CHRISTIAN SOLIDARITY PARTY,
14 Frederick Street North, Parnell Square. Dublin 1. 01-8783529, mobile 087 913 0869 E-mail: comharcriostai@eircom.net

Dear Deputy And Senators
Unprecedented Threat to Religious Freedom: Dáil to Debate Bill on November 2
The Civil Partnership Bill, which includes provisions that would severely restrict the rights of religious believers in Ireland is expected to come before the Dáil on November 2. The recent agreement between Fianna Fáil and the Green Party on the revised programme for government commits them to enacting this Bill, along with a range of other radical social policies.

Marriage is of immense but often underestimated value to Irish society

We can too easily take marriage for granted, but it needs to be supported if it is to flourish. This Bill is a direct threat to the institution of marriage and is a declaration by the State that it does not consider marriage to be worthy of special support. This is in violation of the Constitutional protection of marriage.

The family based on marriage gives children the optimum start in life

Marriage provides most children with their best chance of growing up in a happy, stable, supportive family. Parents who make a solemn legal commitment to each other are more likely to be committed to their children. They are also more likely to stay together through their childrenуs formative years.

Proposals for legislation on Civil Partnership undermine marriage

By setting up civil partnerships which share most of the legal characteristics of marriage, this Bill would undermine the special status of marriage.

The legitimate rights of homosexual citizens can be guaranteed without the proposed law

Advocates of the Bill have claimed that such a law is necessary to address unjust discrimination suffered by homosexual citizens. This is not true. If there are specific areas where homosexual citizens are unjustly discriminated against, these can be addressed by specific legal remedies. They do not require the creation of a legal institution analogous to marriage.

Only a handful of countries has chosen the path Ireland proposes to follow. Others have considered it and rejected it.

While supporters of the Bill would like to give the impression that this is part of an irresistible international trend, this is not the case. Only a very small minority of countries have introduced similar laws. Even within the EU, where such laws are most common, only a minority of countries has introduced such laws and some of those are much more limited in scope than the proposed Irish law. In other jurisdictions, legislation of this sort has not had the expected effect. In the UK, for example, an initial burst of enthusiasm for the novelty of civil unions was followed by a precipitous decline in the numbers availing of them.

The Bill would impose severe restrictions on the rights to freedom of conscience and religion
This Bill will force those who believe in traditional marriage to act against their deepest held convictions or face legal action. Photographers, printers, Church halls and anyone who provides services relating to weddings are among some of those who could find themselves being sued if they refuse, for conscientious or religious reasons, to provide services to same-sex couples. This Bill treats those who believe in traditional marriage as equivalent to racist bigots. In fact, it represents the most aggressive attack on freedom of conscience and religion seen in this country for a long time and it would be hard to find a similar example in any developed democracy.

It is a strange priority to pursue at a time of national economic crisis
The government has played down the likely cost of applying the proposed law. The complexity and frequent instability of homosexual relationships will, even if the numbers involved are small, add significantly to the burden on the family courts. There is also the likelihood that the legislation would be challenged in the European Court leading to changes which would add significantly to the cost. In April 2008, the European Court of Justice, in the Maruko case, found against a private pension scheme which covered spouses, but not civil partners. This ruling, in effect, means that it will be extremely difficult for any EU member state to legislate for civil unions which are not granted, de facto if not in name, all the benefits of marriage. At a time when thousands have lost jobs and thousands more are fearful of losing their jobs and even their homes, this is a strange priority for a government to pursue. Policies to strengthen marriages and families would help people weather the recession better. There is no indication that the government recognises this fact.

Is mise, le meas,

——————————-
Paul O’Loughlin,
President Of Christian Solidarity Party.

It’s an odd selection of complaints. If civil partnership only shares ‘most’ of the legal characteristics of marriage then it seems to me that it’s difficult to argue that it is entirely analogous to marriage. It’s marriage-like, or close to marriage or somesuch. But it’s not quite there. I’d prefer full marriage rights for all couples who want them. That’s obviously not on offer yet. But in light of that it’s also hard to take seriously that this proposal is somehow injurious to marriage or that this is a ‘violation of the Constitutional protection’ for marriage.

Nor is it clear that ‘legitimate’ rights for homosexual citizens can be guaranteed by other legislation alone. Entirely reasonably many citizens gay, lesbian or straight wish to marry. Only the latter category can do so. What alternative is O’Loughlin proposing? None that I can see.

And this leads to the question as to which are the countries that have seriously considered then rejected the concept of civil partnership? If anything there appears to be increasing tendency towards its implementation, particularly as a stop-gap between the status quo ante and full marriage rights.

Then there is the oddity of the idea that this will force photographers and others to unwillingly assist. It’s a notion, and perhaps a minority would find themselves torn on the matter, but I wonder how it would work in practice. But the final rason is the least compelling. A national economic crisis does not expand to occupy all available political space. And it’s hard to see this as a ‘strange’ priority given that there is considerable political and public support for it.

Anyhow, none of this is to deny the right of the CSP to make its voice heard, but simply to consider what that voice is saying.

And in conclusion, what are the ‘range of other radical social policies’ that the CSP thinks that FF and the GP have signed up to? I’d dearly love to know.

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Comments»

1. Jim Monaghan - October 30, 2009

Why not make marriage a private thing and only have a civil partnership thing in law.
I would also favour removing tax concessions where there are no children involved. Why should single people subsidise those who choose to live together.

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2. Andrew - October 30, 2009

On that last point, the CSP are probably referring to the commitment in the PfG to amend article 41.2 of the Constitution, the ‘women’s place in the home’ one.
We also have a commitment to introduce abortion, but we wrote it in invisible ink.

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3. WorldbyStorm - October 30, 2009

Interesting though is it not how CSP don’t come out and say they’ve a beef with 41.2…

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4. Andrew - October 30, 2009

That they’ve a problem with 41.2 or that they’ve a problem with the proposed changes? 41.2
The Constitutional Review Group recommended changing it from this

” 2° The State, therefore, guarantees to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State.
2 1° In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.”

To this:

“The State recognises that home and family life gives to society a support without which the common good cannot be achieved. The State shall endeavour to support persons caring for others within the home. ”

Hard to see what the CSP could object to, but then again…

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5. WorldbyStorm - October 30, 2009

“That they’ve a problem with 41.2 or that they’ve a problem with the proposed changes? 41.2″

With the changes… I’d think they’re profoundly antagonistic to any diminuition, as they see it, of the role of woman as homemaker and central support of the family. I think they’d object strenuously to it.

Personally I like the idea of men, women or whoever working in the home, or outside it, a matter of choice., but some folk see it differently… Not sure the CSP sees it that way.

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6. Andrew - October 30, 2009

Yes even at the Green Party Convention this month I was taken aback by the number of people who wanted to retain a reference to the role of the home, family etc in the Constitution so long as it wasn’t sexist
The thing about such a change is that if it puts the reference to the family on a modern footing, by taking it out of 1930s Ireland/Dev and placing it in the context of a healthier society, it could actually benefit the CSP’s objectives (or at least the broader conservative objective of using the ‘family’ instead of the State). At present the clause is more an object of ridicule which few people can freely associate themselves with, a reformed clause would have a much different standing.
Yet they are too utterly ridiculous to embrace that.

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WorldbyStorm - October 30, 2009

That sounds about right Andrew. It’s amazing isn’t how much people are attached to stuff one wouldn’t think would exercise them at all.

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splinteredsunrise - October 30, 2009

Yeah, if they weren’t so hidebound, a revised and modernised 41.2 would actually head off the sort of people who would remove it altogether. Nor do I get really ultra-conservative Catholics wanting to defend a Constitution they didn’t like in 1937. See also, the revision of Article 44.

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WorldbyStorm - October 30, 2009

That’s it, and I don’t see any problem with a revised 41.2…

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7. Ian - November 1, 2009

I suspect the CSP would probably be referring to the entire section entitled “equality”

Interestingly there has been little or no mainstream media discussion on the “legal recognition of the acquired gender of transsexuals.” part of it

This is the section entitled “equality”

We will monitor, report annually and respond to the impact of the current
economic conditions on gender equality in employment, political participation,
access to public services and care infrastructure, to ensure that gender equality
continues to advance in difficult times.
• We will ensure the introduction of the Civil Partnership Bill to the Oireachtas
before the end of 2009 and its early passage and implementation.
• We will review legislation in the area of guardianship, custody and access,
following the publication of the report of the Law Reform Commission Report
on Legal Aspects of Family Relationships.
• We will introduce legal recognition of the acquired gender of transsexuals.
• We will proceed, subject to appropriate Oireachtas approval, with proposals to
hold a constitutional referendum to consider amending Article 41.2 of the
Constitution, broadening the reference to the role of women in the home to
one which recognises the role of the parent in the home.

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8. WorldbyStorm - November 1, 2009

Perhaps people simply aren’t concerned about it to any great degree… in the sense that they might largely see it is as the business pretty much only of a transsexual person…

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9. Daniel Sullivan - November 3, 2009

No chance we could convince the CSP that the state was planning compulsory random marriages en masse a la Rev Moon where you could end up married to anyone irrespective of gender?

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