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Maria Miller – ‘one government cannot bind a future government’

Sir Roger GaleBy Sir Roger Gale

[,,,]  It is not surprising that, based upon the naked opportunism and political treachery of the second vote and the betrayal of a fundamental belief in the true meaning and value of marriage of the first, the Great British Public has begun to feel that the days of honour, vocation and commitment in politics are under terminal stress.

I happen to have been in the chair for much of the passage, through committee, of the Civil Partnerships Bill. It was clearly stated, at that time, that this was “not the thin end of the wedge” and that it would “not lead to gay marriage” and that it was a complete measure in itself designed to rectify in law some undeniable and unacceptable discriminations against same-sex couples. So much for undertakings. The Secretary of State with responsibility for Equality, Maria Miller, has stated, correctly, that one government cannot bind a future government. Without, however, some acceptance that undertakings clearly given by both sides of the House in a particular debate should be given a reasonable chance to stand the test of time I see no future for any such undertakings, given by any and all political parties, in relation to, say, High Speed Rail, the European Union , or the protection of religious faith in the context of same-sex marriage. With cynicism and expedience the order of the day we may be sure that if the Same-Sex Marriage bill proceeds through the Commons and the Lords to Royal Assent – and I can only hazard a guess at what Her Majesty might be thinking as she writes , in Norman French, “La Reine le veult” on that piece of legislation – it will only be a question of time before a referral to the European Court of Human Rights drives a coach and horses through Mr. Gove`s promises that “this will not affect the rights of teachers faith schools” and the Maria Miller`s much-vaunted “quadruple lock” in respect of marriage in church or chapel or mosque or temple or synagogue. I do not believe that those offered ”protections” will be worth the paper that they are written on.

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