In response to Rob Slane: We are on the slippery slope to abolishing adultery, Dave wrote:
You are, of course, correct, as Norman Tebbit pointed out the meaning of marriage is now so wide there is no good reason why a man shouldn’t marry his dog, or a lamppost.
We saw with Stephen Gately that gay men aren’t quite so bothered about fidelity within a marriage. Promiscuity is more or less a hobby for gay men and they don’t see why marriage should get in the way. Consequently, their definition of what a marriage is is quite different from straight definitions, but they insist in using the same word. The word is therefore debased and now meaningless, just as straight men are beginning to run against it anyway.
However, it seems to me the Churches do not need to strand idly by and allow this to happen unchecked. Firstly they can re-invent a word that does have meaning to describe formal relationships between men and women – I would suggest the term “Holy Matrimony” should be used to describe what used to be known as marriage because it is highly unlikely that the secular establishment will seek to get their grubby mitts on a term that is so loaded from the start.
Secondly, the churches could create their own legal contracts for couples engaging in “Holy Matrimony” to sign. Secular marriage is nothing more than an implied legal contract, similar to a business partnership, where the terms and conditions are unknown until the marriage is dissolved due to “breach of contract”. I see no reason why the Churches should not take the same approach, creating legal contracts binding men and women together equally and ensuring that either can be punished in some way financially if they are in breach of contract.
Different churches could have different contracts. People would be free to choose which one to go for, and we will see in time which churches and which marriage contracts are the most successful.