SIR, - The government appears to be in a headlong rush to destroy one of the basic institutions of a healthy society. The primary question is: what kind of intimate, cohabiting, potentially child-bearing relationship does this society want to encourage and reward and protect?
For decades investment has been made in supporting married couples and educating for successful parenting. Rightly so, because marriage is known to be better for raising children, for encouraging lifelong companionship and care, and for encouraging sexual faithfulness. The fact that many marriages fail, and most are far from perfect, is not an argument to redefine marriage. It is an argument to invest in it, something I thought this government undertook to do. In the run up to the last election David Cameron led us to believe that this was one of his important objectives. There was no mention, then, of any intention to redefine it.
To claim redefinition is in the interests of ‘equality’ is to misuse the word. What is happening, rather, is that ‘equality’ is being redefined. Might we expect in due course, in the interests of ‘equality’, a redefinition of terms such as sexual intercourse, husband, wife, adultery, restrictions of consanguinity, and so on. In a future round of redefinition, why shouldn’t a man have several lawful partners of either or both sexes, ‘fathering’ children as he fancies – all in the interests of ‘equality’? Furthermore, the idea that all relationships can make an ‘equal’ contribution to society’s well-being (and the future of our nation’s children) is self-evident nonsense. Would teachers really believe that?
Of course gay people should be treated with the same respect that is due to all people, whether minorities or not, in terms of their social acceptance in a strong society. But that does not mean that their lifestyle should necessarily be regarded, treated, or taught, as normative. And in what sense, exactly, are gay relationships not already “equal” to those which are heterosexual?
Neither - of course - should gay people be discriminated against in any field. But we are in danger of losing our powers of discrimination altogether if we think that a same sex partnership has an ‘equal’ role in society, to that of a conventional marriage. I do not believe this is ‘a religious issue’, in the sense of pertaining to optionally held articles of belief. Rather it is about an archetypal pattern which societies have enshrined in various ways down the ages. You have never had to be ‘religious’ to embrace and benefit from the institution of marriage. It would seem that the re-definers of marriage now intend that you should have to be.
I fear for us as a society in this headlong rush to make a pig’s breakfast of this vital institution. Instead, let’s by all means strengthen civil partnerships, or introduce civil union, and certainly defend the human rights of gay people. But don’t imagine that by redefining marriage we are upholding principles of equality.
Green obsessed age
SIR, - In reply to your front page atrticle ‘A Tsunami of industrial size wind turbines (Berwickshire News, January 17), we unfortunately live in a “Green” obsessed age and we are being bombarded with these obscene, useless wind turbines and the cost of these monstrosities will be passed onto our energy bills for years to come. We should be living in a day and age where we are left in peace to live our lives in any way we see fit but as long as this “Green Crusade” makes people money and makes people look “important”, we will continue to get this rubbish shoved down our throats.
SIR, - John Lamont MSP and Michael Moore MP are given a regular parliamentary column in the Berwickshire News. Over the last year, each politician in his column has repeatedly criticised the SNP Government for proposing to hold a referendum as to whether Scotland should stay within the UK or become independent in 2014. The referendum date had to be much earlier, they asserted, as a two year delay would cause enormous uncertainty and would be hugely damaging to Scottish businesses. I see David Cameron has just announced that his Government intends to hold a referendum on whether or not the UK should stay within the EU, but it will not take place until 2017. As members of the Westminster coalition parties, Mr Lamont and Mr Moore have some explaining to do. Applying their reasoning, surely a four year delay until the EU referendum would cause even more uncertainty and would be even more damaging to Scottish businesses? Perhaps they could enlighten readers as to the double standards.
Mission Christmas toy appeal is a huge success
SIR, - I would like to express my gratitude to the people and businesses of the Scottish Borders and north Northumberland who so generously gave to Radio Borders’ Cash For Kids “Mission Christmas” Toy Appeal.
This appeal aims to provide gifts to children who would otherwise wake up to nothing on Christmas morning. We received more requests than ever this year but I am pleased to say that thanks to the volume of donations received we were able to help over 330 children across the region.
Cash For Kids works throughout the year to give a helping hand to local children who need it most and we hope to build on the success of this appeal by helping even more children in 2013.
Thank you to everyone who helps make this work possible.
Radio Borders’ Cash for Kids.
Thanks to WRVS volunteers
SIR, - WRVS volunteers have been battling through the snow and ice to continue to deliver services to older people and check that they are safe, warm and well. Fear of slipping on icy paths and treacherous road conditions mean that older people often cannot get out and about and without our volunteers they may not see anyone else for days at a time. I’d like to say a massive thank you to our volunteers across Scotland who have continued to deliver vital services like Meals on Wheels to the housebound, despite the bad weather. Many volunteers have gone beyond the call of duty and have carried on when other services have stopped. Thank you and keep up the good work!
WRVS head of operations for Scotland.
SIR, - We would like to say a huge thanks to those S2-S4 youngsters, mainly from the Berwickshire High but also Kelso High, who enthusiastically danced the night away at the Teenage Twelth Night Ceilidh held recently at Ednam Village Hall. It was obvious that they thoroughly enjoyed the lively ceilidh music provided by Chris, Andrew and Marissa Waite from Chirnside - many thanks to them - and are to be commended for their excellent behaviour. Thanks too must go to the taxi-ing parents! We intend to split the £300 raised between two chosen charities - Cystic Fibrosis and Riding for the Disabled - and look forward to everyone’s continued support next year!
TEENAGE TWELFTH NIGHT CEILIDH ORGANISERS.
End of an era for hairdresser Peter
SIR, - May I through your column thank the many people who sent cards, gifts, and messages to wish me well on my retirement. I had been in Newtown Street for over 35 years, and it has always been a pleasure to come to work and meet the clients, and the staff who have worked with me. Those people together were the ones that made the business what it was. Thank you all for your good wishes.