What about same-sex marriage, Lord Sacks?

The Chief Rabbi has criticised Cameron's government for its record on marriage

Share
Related Topics

I was surprised to read yesterday that the outgoing Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, was concerned that the Government had "not done enough" to promote the institution of marriage.

He argued "I don’t think the Government has done enough at all. The state has an interest in marriage because of the cost of family breakdown and non-marriage, the last time I looked at it, was estimated at £9 billion a year."

I wasn't surprised that as a religious leader Lord Sacks was concerned about marriage, after all the institution is the bedrock of every religion.  However, I was surprised that he was suddenly so concerned about this government's approach to the issue given his deafening silence on the subject of same-sex marriage when it reached the House of Lords, where he is a cross-bencher, earlier this year.

Astonishingly, given his supposed support for the institution of marriage, Lord Sacks decided to completely ignore the Parliamentary debates for the future of the very institution that he says he holds so dear. This was despite his office voicing its opposition to gay couples marrying and controversially even holding civil partnerships when it responded to a government consultation last year.

Given that Lord Sacks says that he is concerned about family breakdowns and the rates of "non-marriage" and its supposed cost of £9bn to the tax payer (wherever that figure got plucked from), you'd think he would want to address the fact that thousands of currently unmarried same-sex couples are raising families. 

It also seems odd for Lord Sacks to criticise the inaction of the government because it's not as if David Cameron has been particularly shy about the importance of marriage. Just a few months ago, as Parliament stood on the cusp of passing same-sex marriage into law, he wrote for PinkNews.co.uk: "I think marriage is a wonderful institution; it helps people to commit to each other and it should be available to gay people and lesbians. I am proud of the work this government has done and is doing to allow gay and lesbian couples to have their love for each other recognised in this way." Cameron expended huge amounts of political capital trying and succeeding in redefining the definition of marriage to make it relevant to contemporary society.

This action by the prime minister is in my view more valuable than a £150 tax break for being married, something that I can hardly imagine seeing couples pouring into churches, synagogues and registry offices to benefit from. What Lord Sacks has missed Cameron's actions is that by making marriage relevant to contemporary society, he is strengthening and preserving this important institution and as a supporter of marriage, Lord Sacks should be cheering him on.

Whatever one's views on the rights and wrongs about giving all couples, straight or gay, the right to marry, Cameron's actions have meant the subject has probably been discussed and debated around every dining room table in the land, giving marriage a relevancy that it probably hasn't enjoyed since the 1960s.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

After Savile, we must devote our energies to stopping the child abuse taking place now

Mary Dejevsky
A ‘hugely irritated’ Sir Malcolm Rifkind on his way home from Parliament on Monday  

Before rushing to criticise Malcolm Rifkind, do you know how much being an MP can cost?

Isabel Hardman
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower