The Conservative chair of Surrey County Council says she is “fundamentally opposed” to equal marriage and that it will have “negative consequences for “families and children” – she also claims “there are lots of gays in the media” and “if anybody speaks out, you’re rubbished.”
Surrey Council Chair Lavinia Sealy made the remarks in a podcast interview, which had been recorded on Monday at an event by the anti-gay Coalition for Marriage.
Mrs Sealy said her opposition was not for religious reasons, and that it “irritates” her to be asked whether allowing churches to opt-out of performing weddings for gay couples would reduce her concens.
She told Paul Deach of the Surrey Heath Residents’ Blog: “It is not a question of religion, it is a question of our natural beings… It’s a question of being educated about our whole humanity, the history of humanity. Playing around with that just from the point of view of an equalisation doesn’t make sense for families and for children.”
The councillor continued. “Whether there are huge dangers in going along this route for children and for families, and frankly for marriage itself, you could go on to have more than one partner, you could marry and decide you’re gay after all and change, and people do that [already] but is [equal marriage] encouraging it?”
She added: “If you think of little children, they are best brought up if possible in a family. I’m not saying that adoption can’t take place, but we should not fiddle around with medical ethics and decide that actually we can [...] have children coming out of a gay couple. I know it has been done but I think it’s very questionable indeed and the consequences are for children and families.”
Asked by Mr Deach to elaborate on what these consequences will be, she said: “Frankly I don’t know, it’s a Pandora’s box.”
Mrs Sealy became impassioned when speaking of how “disappointed” she was with Education Secretary Michael Gove and the Conservatives for pushing the equal marriage legislation, saying that it could lose them votes or lead to people splitting off to form their own party.
“Why the hell should they [pro-equal marriage Conservatives] make up their minds about something? We have been in a particular party for longer than they have, probably before they were born… They’re kids on the block in some ways and it annoys me that they can be so clever about it without talking to everybody,” she said.
“It’s a bit Orwellian… Do we have the right to speak out anymore in this country without being dissed by anybody, without being sneered at by the BBC? There are lots of gays in the media that if anybody speaks out, you’re rubbished. [...] They ought to be more careful.”
She argued that if there was “something wrong with [civil partnerships] and it doesn’t give enough, let’s change that” as civil partnerships were “specifically designed for gays”.
The councillor added: “I am, by the way, absolutely in favour of equal treatment for gays, both lesbians and gays, and the civil partnership”.