Cameron to take sex out of marriage

By DAVID WOODING
SEX is to be taken out of marriage law – so gay couples can tie the knot.
Ministers plan to solve a legal wrangle by ditching the historic requirment for newlyweds to consummate their union.
The rules say a marriage is not complete until a man and wife have “ordinary and complete” intercourse.
But the detailed description of what that means would make it impossible for gay and lesbian couples to fulfil their vows.
I’m not going to go into the precise wording of what consummation means by law for fear of readers crying “Too much information.” But suffice to say the coalition is considering a re-write of a key section of the Matrimonial Causes Act.
It would end the right to annul a marriage on the grounds of non-consummation.
Last night a furious MP claimed it would reduce marriage to the level of a civil partnership – an option already available to gay people.
Tory Edward Leigh accused Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone diminishing the meaning of wedlock for everyone.
He said: “If the government presses ahead with the redefinition of marriage, it will have profound effects on the ability of individuals to have a marriage annulled.
“This is something that is particularly important to Catholics for whom annulment is permitted by the church, but divorce is not.”
Ministers have been forced to consider dropping consummation so the law applies equally to straight and same-sex couples.
Rash
But in a letter to Ms Featherstone, Mr Leigh warns the legislation is complex and cannot be changed “at the stroke of a pen”.
And he warned of a rash of legal challenges if the need to consummate a marriage is removed.
“In legal terms, this would mean a couple are married the moment they complete either a civil or religious marriage ceremony,” he said.
“This would diminish marriage to the level of a legal contract and remove any link between marriage and children – or indeed between marriage and physical intimacy.
“This would constitute an unprecedented assault on the deeply-held beliefs of those who say a marriage is not complete until the act of consummation.
“It would fly in the face of assurances that this change would only affect marriages solemnised by a civil wedding since all marriages would be affected by this change.”

Queens
It is the latest legal controversy to engulf plans to allow gays and lesbians equal marriage rights.
Ministers have been warned they may need to re-write the Royal Marriages Act of 1772.
It does not allow same-sex marriages and a change would be needed to allow two Queens or two Kings on the throne.
Gay marriage has caused a massive split in Tory ranks – despite PM David Cameron promising MPs a free vote.
Home Secretary Theresa May last week became the most senior minister to back marriages for all.
She said she was a strong supporter of marriage and it should be available to everyone regardless of sexual orientation.
But fellow Cabinet minister Owen Paterson is the most senior Tory MP to oppose the idea.

David Cameron: Bulldog spirit key to ending debt crisis

By DAVID WOODING in Manchester

DAVID Cameron urged cash-strapped Britain to adopt the bulldog spirit to drag ourselves out of debt and despair.

The Prime Minister called for the nation to stop being “paralysed by gloom and fear” – and instead show some fight and energy to get our great country back on the road to prosperity.

He called on people in every walk of life to work together to turn things round and make Britain a beacon of enterprise for the world.

Mr Cameron (pictured left making his speech) issued the rallying call  in his closing speech to the Tory party conference in Manchester.

He declared: “Britain never had the biggest population, the largest land mass, the richest resources – but we had the spirit.

“Remember, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. Overcoming challenge, confounding the sceptics, reinventing ourselves, this is what we do. It’s called leadership.”

The final flourish of his address – echoing on the conference slogan: “Leadership for a better future” – was aimed at contrasting his leadership skills with those of Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Mr Cameron said: “Let’s turn this time of challenge into a time of opportunity. Not sitting around watching things happen and wondering why. But standing up, making things happen and asking why not.

“We have the people, we have the ideas, and now we have a government that’s freeing those people, backing those ideas.

“So let’s see an optimistic future. Let’s show the world some fight. Let’s pull together, work together. And together lead Britain to better days.”

The 50-minute speech covered a wide-range of issues. Here’s a summary in nugget form:

JOBS AND DEBT: Mr Cameron said: “It’s an anxious time. Prices and bills keep going up – petrol, the weekly shop, electricity.” He admitted the “uncomfortable” truth that the slump is caused by too much debt and the only way out is to cut spending and live within our means.

EUROPE: Britain will never join the euro while Mr Cameron is Prime Minister, he vowed.  And he won’t let us be sucked into “endless bail-outs” of countries that are in the single currency.

SCHOOLS: He promised to tear down the “apartheid” between private and state schools. It was “disgusting”, he said that we should aim for any less from a child from a poor background than a rich one.

IMMIGRATION: Mr Cameron vowed to get tough with criminals who use human rights laws to try to stay in this country. But he warned we must not lock out talent and should give the red carpet treatment to the best entrepreneurs, scientists and students from around the world to attract them here.

JOBS and BENEFITS: More than 2.5 million people have been “parked” on sick pay as a con trick by governments to keep unemployment figures down. The PM said: “Under Labour they got something for nothing. With us, they’ll only get something if they give something.” He will spend up to £14,000 on long-term jobless to get them trained and back into work.

GAY MARRIAGE: He promised to give equal marriage rights to same sex couples – “not despite being a Conservative but because I am a Conservative”.

ADOPTION: Action to find homes for the 65,000 children in care. Only 60 of the 3,660 kids without parents under the age of one  were adopted in Britain last year. He promised action to end this scandal. “How can we let this happen? We’ve got people flying all over the world to adopt babies, while the care system at home agonises about placing black children with white families.”

LIBYA He urged everyone to remember what Gaddafi did – he bankrolled the IRA, was behind the shooting of a police officer in London and the bombing of a plane in the skies over Lockerbie. Mr Cameron said: “Let’s be proud of the part we played in giving Libyan people the chance to take back their country.”

HEALTH and SAFETY: Mr Cameron said he would overhaul barmy health and safety rules and scale back criminal checks rules to common sense levels. He remarked: “Britain didn’t rule the waves with arm bands on.”

Mr Cameron got the biggest ovation of the afternoon when he took a sideswipe at Ed Miliband who was met with jeers when he mentioned Tony Blair at Labour’s rally in Liverpool last week.

He said he had lucky enough to have strong support from all previous Tory leaders, including Michael Howard, Iain Duncan Smith, William Hague, John Major and Lady Thatcher.

The PM quipped: “You know what? We don’t boo our leaders. We’re proud of our past and what those people did for our country.”