Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The truth about the Coalition for Marriage

On their website ( which is emblazoned is huge letters with the words DON’T PLAY POLITICS WITH MARRIAGE – ONE MAN + ONE WOMAN, the Coalition for Marriage give four bullet points which detail their approach and beliefs with regards equal marriage:
·         Marriage is unique (Throughout history and in virtually all human societies marriage has always been the union of a man and a woman. Marriage reflects the complementary natures of men and women. Although death and divorce may prevent it, the evidence shows that children do best with a married mother and a father.)
·         Profound Consequences (If marriage is redefined, those who believe in traditional marriage will be sidelined. People's careers could be harmed, couples seeking to adopt or foster could be excluded, and schools would inevitably have to teach the new definition to children. If marriage is redefined once, what is to stop it being redefined to allow polygamy?)
·         No Need to Redefine (Civil partnerships already provide all the legal benefits of marriage so there's no need to redefine marriage. It's not discriminatory to support traditional marriage. Same-sex couples may choose to have a civil partnership but no one has the right to redefine marriage for the rest of us.)
·         Speak Up (People should not feel pressurised to go along with same-sex marriage just because of political correctness. They should be free to express their views. The Government will be launching a public consultation on proposals to redefine marriage. This will provide an opportunity for members of the public to make their views known.)
Most people will be able to draw their own conclusions about the potential for homophobia in these comments.
WHO ARE THE COALITION FOR MARRIAGE?                                     
In an article in PinkNews on Wednesday 29 February 2012 (, it was reported that “While many of the most prominent Coalition for Marriage backers are Church figures, it told today it had no religious affiliation.  The Coalition describes itself as an “umbrella group of individuals and organisations in the UK that support traditional marriage”.  When asked which of these organisations was non-religious in nature, was directed to the list of signatories and the organisations listed next to their names.  Excluding political parties, the only two officially non-religious organisations of the many bodies listed are the Family Education Trust and the Philosophical Society of England.  The President of the Philosophical Society of England told this afternoon she had signed the Coalition for Marriage in a personal capacity and the organisation was in no way aligned with the Coalition’s aims.  The Family Education Trust confirmed to this afternoon that it was non-religious in nature and backed the Coalition’s view that only straight marriages should be legal.”
If you follow the advice of the Coalition for Marriage as reported by Pink News, one finds that the following individuals are prominently placed as supporters of the Coalition:
Lord Carey of Clifton, former Archbishop
Lord Mackay of Clashfern, former Lord Chancellor
Baroness O’Cathain OBE, Conservative
Fiona Bruce MP, Conservative
David Burrowes MP, Conservative
Jim Dobbin MP, Labour
Joe Benton MP, Labour
Edward Leigh MP, Conservative
David Nuttall MP, Conservative
Stewart Jackson MP, Conservative
Bob Blackman MP, Conservative
Jeffrey Donaldson MP, DUP
Julian Brazier TD MP, Conservative
Lord Brennan QC, Labour
Lord Stoddart of Swindon, Independent Labour Peer
Lord Singh of Wimbledon (Director Network of Sikh Organisations)
Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, UUP
Prof. Sir Denis Pereira Gray, Exeter
Prof. Brenda Almond, President of the Philosophical Society of England
Prof. Kenneth Walters
Rt Revd Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester
Rt Revd Anthony Priddis, Bishop of Hereford
Rt Revd Michael Langrish, Bishop of Exeter
Rt Revd James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle
Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry
Rt Revd Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough
Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham
It is fairly self explanatory that various Bishops, a former Archbishop and the Director of the Network of Sikh Organisations may well suggest a religious element to the organisation.  This theory is compounded when one looks at the politicians linked to organisation.  In the Pink News article referenced above Ann Widdecombe, the former Tory MP, is listed as a prominent supporter of the Coalition.  Widdecombe is known for her virulent support of the traditional church and converted to the Roman Catholic church due to what she perceived of as liberalism in the Church of England.  Of those listed above, David Burrowes founded the Conservative Christian Fellowship and is current chair, Fiona Bruce who is a known evangelical Christian, Edward Leigh who is a prominent Roman Catholic and frequently speaks in parliament on religious matters, and we could go one ...
But of course, that does not mean necessarily that the organisation is religious based.  People could agree with the principle of maintaining the status quo on marriage whether or not they share a particular faith. 
So, Is the Coalition for Marriage religious based?
Well lets take a look at the evidence.  If we look firstly at their own website they give the following address as their base:
C4M, 8 Marshalsea Road, London SE1 1HL
What is this address?
A simple google search shows that it is also the address for the Christian Medical Fellowship, Care not Killing (an organisation seeking to oppose euthanasia which has quasi faith involvement – including their campaign director being Dr Peter Saunders who happens to be the chief executive of the Christian Medical Fellowship), Friends of Ludhiana (a Christian Medical College in the Punjab) and the Lawyers Christian Fellowship.
Still it could all be a huge coincidence couldn’t it?
If we look at the website they have who is it registered to.  Well, a simple internet search for the domain name gives the following registration details:
Domain name:

        Jon Errington

    Registrant type:

    Registrant's address:
        4 Park Road
        Newcastle upon Tyne
        NE12 8DG
        United Kingdom

So if we consider the registration address, its interesting to consider that the Christian Institute (often regarded as an extreme fundamentalist Christian group and who notably have a pattern of refusing to answer questions seeking to scrutinise them) are registered at this address:
The Christian Institute
Wilberforce House
4 Park Road
Gosforth Business Park
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE12 8DG
Strange thats the same too!
So, Who is this John Errington?
If we look at this webpage
We can see that “.... He works with Jon Errington (office manager) ...” ... Jon Errington is the office manager of the Christian Institute.
Why would the Christian Institutes registered address and registered contact for their internet domain be the extreme evangelical organisation, The Christian Institute, and their own office manager?
Again, it could be a coincidence, maybe the Christian Institute are just giving support to the Coalition?
So are there any other connections?
Lets see who their directors are:
The official registered board members found on a simple google search are:


Appointment type
So who are they?
Sam Webster is a solicitor/advocate who works for The Christian Institute (seems to be lots of coincidences happening here!) In a Christian Institute publication they stated “The Institute has
appointed a litigation lawyer to our full-time staff to manage cases for our Legal Defence Fund.  Sam Webster has seven years of litigation experience. He is a committed Christian and has worked at a large national law firm. He is a solicitor advocate, which means he is a solicitor who is also qualified to represent clients as an advocate in the higher courts in England and Wales.”

Nola Margaret Leach is also a director of CNK Alliance Limited (which bizarrely has an address at 6 Marshalsea Road, London – how cosy and convenient).  CNK Alliance Limited is otherwise known as Care Not Killing, the organisation which has Dr Peter Saunders as their campaign director, and seeks to oppose euthanasia on faith grounds.  Nola Leach is also chief executive of CARE who state their purpose is “to declare Christian truth and demonstrate Christ’s compassion in society” and who have recently been criticised for their use of interns with several MPs. 

Andrea Rose Williams Minichiello is chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre and a barrister.  She is also director of the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship and CCFON Limited (part of the organisation Christian Concern which states that it is an organisation seeking to introduce a Christian voice into the law, media and government). 
Norman James Wells is also a director of the Home Education Advisory Service, an organisation actively promoted by the Christian Institute.
Dr Donald Geoffrey Horrocks is also Head of Public Affairs for the Evangelical Alliance. 
There certainly seems to be an extreme bias towards religion, despite the comments that were made to Pink News!
Is anyone else involved?
Colin Hart is named as the Chairman of the Coalition for Marriage.  Colin Hart also is director of The Christian Institute and a director of North Eastern Christian Schools Limited.
.  (There is definitely a pattern forming here!)

So Which organisations can be seen to be supporting them?
A number of organisations including CARE, the Evangelical Alliance and the Christian Institute have issued media releases clearly stating that they are joining other faith-based and secular groups in launching the Coalition for Marriage.  Strangely despite considerable efforts in searching through the internet whilst numerous examples of faith based organisations supporting the coalition, none from secular groups could be located.  It makes one wonder why they feel the need to stress the secularity of the Coalition and to deny a religious aspect to it when approached.

Well apart from establishing a petition to try and prevent the government planned equalisation of marriage to include same sex couples, they have also been engaging in high profile media campaigns (Colin Hart from the Christian Institute is a bit of a media slut!).  They have also been engaging in various other avenues to try and publicise their campaign.  The following is an interesting extract from a blog from a LibDem councillor:
“The Coalition for Marriage was launched last week. And as many groups do to try and drum up some publicity announce themselves to the world, they commissioned an opinion poll of public attitudes to equal marriage.  Which is fair enough. But then, it appears, a thought struck them. The UK is, by and large, a tolerant nation, with the vast majority now accepting of gay and lesbian relationships being respected and recognised. So… how to pose an opinion poll question that could produce the result they wanted?  Thankfully, ComRes (a member of the British Polling Council) did them proud. It is a brief masterclass in asking the right questions to produce the results you want.
First, the neutral question that comforts the respondent that the views they hold are eminently reasonable: ‘Please tell me the extent to which you agree or disagree with [this] statement about the definition of marriage… It is possible to be tolerant of the rights of others and protective of traditional marriage at the same time.’ Unsurprisingly, 86% of the public agrees with this beguilingly innocuous true-ism.
And so are we lined up for the clincher, the killer question, so loaded with intrinsic bias it is almost admirably breathtaking in its audacity:
‘Please tell me the extent to which you agree or disagree with [this] statement about the definition of marriage… Since gay and lesbian couples already have the same rights as married couples available to them under civil partnership, they should not be allowed to redefine marriage for everyone else.’
It’s a question which would have been only marginally less subtle if paraphrased as ‘Don’t you think those gays are getting a bit above themselves, eh?’
Given the brazen slant of the question, I was actually quite surprised to see that only 51% agreed with the statement, with 34% disagreeing.
I think the wording of this poll question tells us everything we need to know about the credibility of the Coalition for Marriage — and, perhaps more importantly, everything we need to know about the confidence they have in their own case that they should pray in aid such dubious tactics.
As Lib Dem equalities minister Lynne Featherstone noted :
Marriage is a right of passage for couples who want to show they are in a committed relationship, for people who want to show they have found love and wish to remain together until death do them part. Why should we deny it to people who happen to be gay or lesbian who wish to show that commitment and share it with their family, friends and everybody else? We should be proud of couples who love each other and a society that recognises their love as equal.”

So in conclusion who are they?
Duplicitous, underhand, liars who are trying to deny the fact that they are a religious organisation.