Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Gay marriage would open way for legal incest: claim

Same-sex marriage could lead to calls for polygamy and incest to be allowed, a Christian campaign group in Northern Ireland has claimed.

DUP MPs Nigel Dodds and Jeffrey Donaldson, as well as Baroness Paisley, are among the vice presidents of the Keep Marriage Special campaign, which calls itself a “broad alliance of Christians”.

Its claims were criticised by gay rights campaigners, who said that the gay and lesbian community was under “constant attack”.

Under government proposals, which are out to consultation, the law would be changed to allow same-sex couples in England and Wales to have a marriage through a civil ceremony.

While the change would not apply here, it has stirred strong debate.

In Keep Marriage Special's response to the consultation, it wrote: “If the only basis for marriage is the desire of the parties to get married, then there is, according to the logic of this proposal, no reason not to open up marriage to more than just same-sex couples.

“Polygamy, polyandry and incest would all be permissible.”

John O'Doherty, Director of Belfast gay rights group The Rainbow Project, said: “It's what we (now) expect from the religious right — a constant attack on LGBT people and their families.”

Meanwhile, the Church of England came under fire yesterday after its consultation response warned that same-sex marriage could undermine its status in society.

Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive of gay rights group Stonewall, branded the response a “masterclass in melodramatic scaremongering”.

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