by Hilary White
BELFAST, May 2, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Defenders of traditional marriage in Northern Ireland and elsewhere are going to continue to lose ground, even among their own constituency of conservative Christians, until they start talking about the realities and harms of homosexual behavior, one of Belfast’s leading pro-life and family advocates has said.
“No one is putting forward an effective defense of marriage” without mentioning this issue, said Liam Gibson, Northern Ireland office of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. “We’ll continue to lose numbers until we do, but whether anyone has the courage do to that is a different matter.”
Campaigners for traditional marriage definitions have almost uniformly restricted themselves to lauding the institution as a source of social stability and an ideal environment to raise children, and shied away from critiquing homosexuality itself. And this embarrassment and fear of talking about what homosexual acts actually are crippling the efforts to defend marriage and the family everywhere.
“Whenever people get up and say how wonderful marriage is, laud marriage, the other side just says, ‘That’s true, so let’s extend it to more people,'” Gibson said.
During the debate on the subject, he added, politicians opposing “gay marriage,” as well as Church leadership, refused directly to address the elephant in the room.
Gibson told LifeSiteNews.com today that the usual approach of talking about the glories of marriage, that politely leaves aside the main point of the discussion, is the very argument that is losing the battle for the family everywhere.
“What we need to do is look at the reality,” he said, “the physical, medical and psychological consequences of particular types of behavior. And at how society needs to protect people, sometimes from themselves, and certainly from the promotion of things that are inherently dangerous – highly risky behavior.”
SPUC in Northern Ireland are planning to circulate material and hold “meetings and seminars” on the dangers of engaging in homosexual activity and the realities of the homosexual subculture and its obsession with sex.
“What we really need to do is bolster the Catholic population, because it’s the Catholic politicians who are letting us down. I don’t know how long we can rely on the alliance of believing Protestants and believing Catholics to hold the line if the Catholics are just giving in,” he said.
He cited the lack of strong convictions by Catholic clergy as a major stumbling block, up to and including Pope Francis himself. “To be honest,” he said, “comments like ‘Who am I to judge?’ make it practically impossible to make the case.”
Gibson’s comments came today in the wake of the defeat of another attempt by the far-Left Sinn Fein Party to create “gay marriage” in the province. The motion to adopt the law, that was brought in this year in the rest of the UK, is the third in the last 18 months to have been defeated by opposition mainly from Protestant Democratic Unionist (DUP) politicians. The DUP tabled a voting mechanism called a Petition of Concern that made the proposal all but impossible to pass.
Homosexual activists have indicated they will counter any defeat of the motion with a legal challenge, a strategy that has succeeded in most jurisdictions in the Western world. Northern Ireland already grants same-sex civil partners similar rights and responsibilities to natural marriage, but attempts to close the legal gap and install “gay marriage” will be ongoing.
Gibson warned that while the majority may still oppose a change, natural marriage is “steadily losing ground” in public opinion, and he placed the blame squarely on the failure of opponents to name the thing they are fighting.
When homosexual activists talk about “gay marriage” he said, they have framed the debate entirely in terms of “equality,” and the lack of meaningful response has allowed them to brand anyone opposed to their goals, sometimes even other homosexuals, as “bigots”.
“Nobody’s actually making that case, so the general public is only hearing one side,” Gibson said. “Anyone who even hesitates for a moment in wholeheartedly supporting the gay agenda will come under a huge amount of pressure and attack.”
“Even homosexuals who have opposed same-sex marriage have been subject to threats and intimidation,” he said.
Gibson said that a letter from the Catholic bishops for this latest motion was in the usual vein, refusing to talk about the nature of homosexuality and praising the suitability of marriage as an ideal environment for child-rearing. In an open letter to Members of the Legislative Assembly, the bishops said, “Religious and non-religious people alike have long acknowledged and know from their experience that the family, based on the marriage of a woman and a man, is the best and ideal place for children.
“It is a fundamental building block of society which makes a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the common good. It is therefore deserving of special recognition and promotion by the State,” the letter said.
Gibson acknowledged that the letter was “better than nothing,” but added, “I know they don’t want to be seen as denouncing or condemning, but until people actually hear how dangerous and risky some lifestyles are, no one’s going to be swayed.” At the same time, he said, “the propaganda from the other side is overwhelming,” and wholly focused on the paradigm of “equality” and “rights.”
Indeed, a case in point is the statement issued by Amnesty International, one of the movement’s most devoted fellow-travelers, on this week’s vote in Northern Ireland.
Amnesty director, Patrick Corrigan, said, “Politicians in Northern Ireland who continue to block marriage rights for same-sex couples are like latter-day King Canutes, trying in vain to hold back the tide of equality.”
“States may not discriminate with regards to the right to marry and found a family, on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. That obligation is clear in international law,” he said.
Gibson responded that the homosexual certainly realize that their opponents “are not going to start talking about the realities and the facts of homosexuality.”
“They know it makes people feel very uncomfortable, it’s difficult on a TV or radio show to bring up the real differences. If you do start pointing out the differences, you’re likely to upset a lot of people listening and not get invited back to speak again.” This leaves the movement with a nearly unopposed field, he said.
He added that the motion to introduce “gay marriage” came from Sinn Fein, that has long been associated in the minds of people outside of Ireland with the Catholic Church, but this has not been the reality of the party since the 1970s.
Sinn Fein is, he said, “essentially a Marxist party.”
Their focus is on the neo-Marxist agenda to destabilize traditional social institutions. “They’re not just anti-British rule. They want to radically reshape Irish society. They’ve never hidden that part.”
Sinn Fein has vowed to continue working to bring in a redefinition of marriage, and voted against a motion to close the Belfast Marie Stopes facility that opened with little opposition from police in 2011, though abortion of any kind remains a criminal offense in Northern Ireland.
“This is the third time in 18 months,” Gibson added. “Presumably they’re not going to go away. They’ll be pushing for it continuously.”