The short version
What in all of God's creation makes us Christians think we have the right to impose our particular view of marriage onto society as a whole?
The long version
Okay then. We Christians don't own the concept of marriage. And across the spectrum of even just mainstream UK Christianity there is a range of beliefs regarding marriage. For example, I gather that the Catholic Church has severe restrictions on remarrying people who've been divorced. (I don't have a link with the details, having tried without success to find any guidance on the Catholic Church in England and Wales website).
So there's argument one against this idea of protecting marriage.
Next, even if all Christians across the world believed the same things about marriage, what right do we have to impose those beliefs on others who don't share our faith-based starting point? Most people in the world are not Christian. So we're asking for our opinion to hold sway... why? Because it's what God thinks? I don't like where that could lead, not at all.
Those of us who were not in favour of civil partnership, believing that such relationships are harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of those involved... [my italics]
All children deserve to begin life with a mother and father; the evidence in favour of the stability and well-being which this provides is overwhelming and unequivocal. It cannot be provided by a same-sex couple, however well-intentioned they may be.Well, here we have a couple of claims that can be investigated. Good. But is there actually evidence that, all else being equal (a key point), a gay partnership is more likely than a straight partnership to cause harm to the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of those involved? What about, again all else being equal, that it's better for a child to begin life with a mother and father, instead of two mothers or two fathers? O'Brien just seemed to beg the question in his interview, so please post in the comments if you know of any evidence for his claims.
One last thing the Cardinal said in his Sunday Telegraph interview:
Imagine for a moment that the Government had decided to legalise slavery but assured us that “no one will be forced to keep a slave”. Would such worthless assurances calm our fury? Would they justify dismantling a fundamental human right? Or would they simply amount to weasel words masking a great wrong?How is there any equivalence in these two issues? I just don't understand the point being made here at all. Keeping slaves is illegal in the UK (and many other countries) because it robs the slave of their basic human freedom. What basic human freedom would be lost if same-sex couples were allowed to formalise their commitment to one another on exactly the same basis as opposite-sex couples? Oh that's it, the freedom to be outraged at people who want to live according to their own moral standard, not someone else's. (Hypocritical snark, given what I wrote yesterday about assuming good faith in those we disagree with...)