Nelson McCausland: Why it's time to hear from voices in defence of the traditional view of marriage (it'd make a change)
Opinions of the liberal elite and social radicals have dominated debate for far too long, writes Nelson McCausland
Tuesday was a dark day for Ulster, with the House of Commons amending the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill 2018 to nudge the province in a direction which devalues both human life and marriage.
At a political level, it acted in a way that, in the words of DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds, "drove a coach and horses through the principle of devolution".
Since 2017, when Sinn Fein walked out of Stormont and collapsed devolution, there have been many pressing issues which need to be addressed, especially in the fields of health and education, but Parliament has not acted on these, saying instead that they must await devolution.
However, two activist Labour MPs, Stella Creasy, an advocate for abortion, and Conor McGinn, an advocate for same-sex marriage, took the opportunity to advance their social agendas and Parliament backed them.
In so doing, they prioritised these two sectoral issues over the health and wellbeing of society.
Afterwards, Conor McGinn, whose father was a Sinn Fein councillor, said that the DUP should see this as an "incentive" to get Stormont restored.
In fact, it is an incentive to Sinn Fein to thwart the restoration of devolution. All they have to do is sit on their hands and wait until October.
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Both are issues on which there are differences of opinion, but many people in Ulster believe strongly that marriage can only be between a man and a woman and that there is a dignity about human life, from conception and without exception.
There was a lot of talk in Parliament about rights, but only a minority spoke up for the right of the unborn child. The truth is that both lives matter, both the mother and her unborn child.
Yesterday, Grainne Teggart, of Amnesty International, spoke on the radio about the "women who have been harmed" by the Northern Ireland law, but made no mention of the children who are aborted. Are they not harmed?
It is estimated that around 100,000 lives have been saved as a result of Northern Ireland not introducing the 1967 Abortion Act.
On the other hand, there have been almost nine million abortions in Great Britain since the 1967 Abortion Act and today around 98% are carried out for purely social reasons, not because of any threat to the health of the mother.
Tuesday's amendments in the House of Commons did not actually change the law, but they have taken us some way down a path that could well lead to such changes.
Nevertheless, at a time of great political uncertainty, with a packed legislative timetable and the possibility of a general election later this year, nobody knows how this will work out.
That is why it is important that voices of reason and compassion are heard now, in the midst of the current clamour.
Some Churches have already raised voices of dissent on behalf of their members and I am sure that others will follow in speaking up for those who value traditional marriage and protection for the unborn child.
Moreover, nobody should imagine that same-sex marriage and some limited form of abortion would be the end of the road.
When civil partnerships were introduced in Northern Ireland in 2005, we were assured by the promoters that there was no intention to press for same-sex marriage, but it didn't take long for that assurance to be abandoned.
Indeed, Gavin Boyd, of the Rainbow Project, has already confirmed that same-sex marriage is merely one element of the LGBT agenda, with further demands on many other issues.
He was particularly clear that his agenda included the "promotion" and "affirmation" of homosexuality and transgenderism in schools.
As regards abortion, the activist organisations here in Northern Ireland want to see what they call "decriminalisation", but, in fact, that means an end to any and all restrictions on abortion, which would legalise abortion on demand and up to birth.
For too long, the voices of the social radicals and the liberal elite have been able to dominate the public debate.
It is time now for other voices to be heard; voices that advocate for the sanctity of life and traditional marriage.