Speaking during the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill’s second reading in the House of Lords, former chief constable of the West Midlands, Lord Dear, said that moves towards equal marriage meant the rights of gay people were “outstripping” the rights of families, and that children will be made to “act out gay weddings in class”, if it passes.
During his speech, Lord Dear claimed that the rights of gay people were being prioritised over, and wearing away the rights of the family.
An amendment has been tabled by the former chief constable, which would deny the bill its second reading in the House of Lords.
He described the bill as “ill considered”, describing the Parliamentary process as “flawed”, and said that it “seeks to overturn centuries of tradition, heedless of public opinion, and the views of religious leaders, and blind to the laws of unintended consequences.”
He then said he had heard claims the UK could regress to a state something, like Uganda, which has laws against homosexuality, if equal marriage does not pass, and said that “nothing could be more fanciful nothing could be further from the truth”.
Lord Dear went on to say that he had “championed the extension and protection of minority rights, including homosexual rights and equality”.
He said he had seen the UK change from “thinly veiled intolerance”, to “understanding and acceptance today”, citing civil partnerships as a reason that gay couples are “significantly better off, than family members who live together without the benefits of such a partnership”.
“Two sisters living together, or an elderly parent and unmarried daughter”, are unable to “enjoy the benefits as same-sex couples”, he said.
He continued: “Parents will not have a legal right to withdraw children from classes which endorse same-sex marriage in the curriculum. The effect on schools will undoubtedly be divisive, and we should reflect on the fact there calls have already been made for children to act out gay weddings in class.”
Continuing, he noted violent protests in France, where equal marriage recently passed, and that a minority of protesters turned violent last Sunday, throwing bottles, metal barriers and smoke grenades at riot police.
He attacked the bill, saying it was not included in the Conservative Party’s manifesto, and that it was not in the Queen’s speech, and noting the loss of seats by the Coalition parties during recent local elections.
Lord Dear later then accused the Government consultation on equal marriage of being “rigged”, claiming that it only counted a petition from the Coalition for Marriage against equal marriage, as one vote, despite containing half a million.
He then said that, out of his mailbag and email inbox, which had a thousand pieces of correspondence, contained only 38 in favour of equal marriage. It was pointed out by other speakers that those in favour of equal marriage were unlikely to have written to him, as he was already publicly opposed to it.
Lord Dear continued, citing a study by an Argentinian university, which he described as “chilling”, as he said it noted a “revolution to [Argentina’s] internal law”, since legalising equal marriage.
Concluding, he attacked the bill, saying that it was not fair that it had only been given a two-day debate, and noting the amendment by the Government to hold a review of civil partnerships, asked: “How can we be expecte to consider turning the law of marriage on its head?”.
Lord Dear was the second speaker out of 93 who have signed up to speak in the House of Lords, during the debate around the bill today and tomorrow, when a vote will be held. Follow developments on the PinkNews Live Blog.