Patrick Strudwick: If I were Lord Carey, I'd be right behind this change

Anglicanism was created so Henry VIII could divorce yet its leaders have the temerity to accuse gays of "weakening" marriage?

Share
Related Topics

Gay people can take credit for many of humanity's greatest accomplishments: the Sistine chapel, the invention of computer science, Glee. But according to Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, another achievement is imminent: the destruction of marriage. Yes, he argued yesterday, if you let gays get hitched they will "fatally weaken" the institution.

But when it comes to the ruination of marriage, I am all too aware of one undeniable reality: heterosexuals have beaten us to it. The facts, of course, have been discarded by Carey and his new "Coalition for Marriage". Since 2005, when civil partnerships were introduced, only 2.3 per cent have ended in dissolution. Far from harming marriage, civil partnerships set an example – in five of these years the divorce rate for heterosexuals went down. And yet, fewer straight people want to wed than ever before.

Why has this crisis in marriage already happened? Heterosexual men have poisoned the brand. Until 1991, husbands could legally rape their wives. Until 1882, a woman's property automatically became the possession of her husband. Until the 1960s middle-class married women were expected to give up work. Marriage was socially enforced. Cohabiting couples were despised as "living in sin". Single women were "spinsters". Single mothers were "sluts", sent to asylums or distant relatives, ostracised or institutionalised, and robbed of their newborn.

Marriage, when viewed in its complete historical context, does not look like a vehicle for love, but an instrument of control.

No wonder conservatives blame feminism for harming marriage; they are right, it has, by exposing all this, and we should be eternally grateful. Women now instigate twice the number of divorces as men.

To destroy a brand, however, takes more than systematic abuse. It takes derision. Celebrities ridicule marriage with such bravura it is profoundly remiss of Anglicans to allow them to book churches. Britney Spears marrying for 55 hours? Kim Kardashian marrying for a TV special? Anglicanism was created so Henry VIII could divorce yet its leaders have the temerity to accuse gays of "weakening" marriage?

As marriage declines, those who want to protect it should be begging gay people to wed. For we can offer a priceless gift: detoxification. How many sham civil partnerships have you heard about? How many gay bigamists have been exposed?

In the end I am reminded of Eminem's position. He knows about undermining the institution, given his second marriage, to the same woman, lasted 11 months: "Everyone should have the chance to be equally miserable."

React Now

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

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ice skating in George Square, Glasgow  

How many Christmas cards have you sent this year?

Simon Kelner
 

Al-Sweady Inquiry: An exercise in greed that blights the lives of brave soldiers

Richard Kemp
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum