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Marriage Terms Mangled

One of the inevitable consequences of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has now emerged. The term “husband” will in future be applied to a woman and the term “wife” will refer to a man, the Government has decided.

The Oxford English Dictionary and common sense have been overruled by Government who have effectively abolished the traditional and normal meaning of the words for spouses.

The landmark change is contained in the fine print of new official legal guidance drawn up for MPs and peers as the Government’s same-sex marriage bill is debated.

It comes as part of a Government initiative to “clarify” what words will mean when gay marriage becomes law.

It as the vocabulary of “cloud cuckoo land”.

It follows claims by opponents of the redefinition of marriage that universally understood terms such as father and mother might be simply deleted by bureaucrats on official forms. The effect on children appears to have been overlooked.

They condemned the system adopted in some countries such as Spain – where parents are sometimes referred to as “Progenitor A” and “Progenitor B” – as “Orwellian”.

Instead officials have decided to allow the words for the spouses to be used interchangeably for people of either gender in some contexts.

Previous legislation is to be amended sweep away the traditional understanding of “gender specific” terms which could exclude those legally married under the new arrangements.

The guidance gives the example of some early health and safety legislation drafted in 1963 which includes a range of exemptions for family businesses where the terms husbands and wives will mean people of either gender.

“This means that ‘husband’ here will include a man or a woman in a same sex marriage, as well as a man married to a woman,” it says.

“In a similar way, ‘wife’ will include a woman married to another woman or a man married to a man.

“The result is that this section is to be construed as including both male and female same sex marriage.”

Yet it then goes on to say that in future legislation the traditional male-only meaning of husband and female-only understanding of wife could make a comeback – but not in all cases.

“The term ‘husband’ will in future legislation include a man who is married to another man (but not a woman in a marriage with another woman),” it adds, confusingly.
“And ‘wife’ will include a woman who is married to another woman (but not a man married to another man) unless specific alternative provision is made.”

A spokesman for the Coalition for Marriage, which campaigns against the change, said: “We always knew the Government would tie itself in knots trying to redefine marriage, and this shows what a ridiculous mess they’ve created.

“This mangling of the English language shows what happens when politicians meddle with marriage.

“They’re in cloud cuckoo land.”