As the Potential Parliamentary Green Candidate for East Devon, I now receive emails every day from people in the East Devon constituency asking me for my opinions on a wide range of issues affecting the whole country and our little corner of it. I like to share these questions with you – so you can all find out a bit more about me, and hopefully vote for me to be your new East Devon MP at the forthcoming General Election. Please feel free to add your own comments to the end of these blog articles – but keep the comments clean and polite please!
I received a letter (via email) from a lady in Sidmouth last week and here are my answers. Please note I was asked for my own personal thoughts NOT the party line on these issues.
Should Government encourage traditional marriage? I don’t really see it as the place of the government to encourage or discourage it. People should be free to make their own decision on whether they want to marry or not.
Should Government honour traditional marriage in the tax system? No
Are homosexual civil partnerships equal to heterosexual marriage? Yes, they should be and I would hope there are moves to make this more so.
Should cohabitating couples have equal protection to married couples under law? Yes absolutely
Should homosexual couples be legally allowed to adopt children? Yes, of course they should. Why wouldn’t they?
Should Christian adoptive parents be able to adopt children maintaining their Christian ethos? I’m sorry – I do not know enough about how religious affiliation has a bearing on adoption criteria. Personally I don’t think as an adoptive parent (or birth parent!) you should be instilling your own religious beliefs onto the child in your care. Perhaps more children should grow up being allowed to form their own ideas about their own beliefs, religious or otherwise.
Should Christian adoption agencies be forced to comply with equality provisions contrary to their beliefs? I’m sorry – again I do not know about equality provisions. Please see my previous answer.
When does life begin? Should the 24 week limit in law on abortion be lowered? If yes to what extent? Goodness, a Pandora’s box of issues here, we could spend hours discussing. You wanted my personal thoughts though – so here you are. As a mother of two beautiful children, I know their lives began inside me when they were formed. However, they were not viable, complete human beings until much much later. The abortion laws do need to be constantly reviewed especially now with advances in medicine meaning babies can be born sooner and survive. I do believe in a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy though, and there should be more support and help for these women.
Should Government allow experimentation on animal-human hybrids? I don’t really know very much about this area of science I’m afraid. I will look into it more.
Should Government ban destruction of human embryos? No
Is the creation of ‘saviour siblings ethical? Is this where parents choose to have another child to help save the older sibling with a life threatening disease? Parents choose to have children for all sorts of reasons, many do not even choose to have a baby but end up with one. Isn’t it fundamentally selfish to have a child anyway, don’t we have them to fulfil our own maternal/paternal desires? Perhaps having a child to save another is no more selfish than that.
Should Government encourage ethical (adult) stem cell research and discourage or Ban embryonic stem cell research? I acknowledge that there are potential future benefits to humans and other animals from stem cell technologies, as long as there is ethical regulation, adequate government funding, and transparency of research.
At what age should children be taught sex education? What should such education include? Should parents be allowed to opt out? Should schools be required to teach children that homosexual practice is normal and healthy and that they are equal in value? A very interesting subject as I have an eight year old daughter and it’s something me and my fellow parents have been discussing in the playground lately. So, you asked what age, well perhaps eight is a little young. I think probably Year 6 when they are ten years old. What should it include – a common sense approach to the facts really including discussing emotions and feelings. I believe the schools use books and films which are appropriate for their age.
Perhaps parents should be allowed to opt out if they have certain beliefs or want to teach their children about it themselves. I’m not sure. As for homosexual ‘practice’ – of course schools should include teaching children that two boys can love each other and two girls can just the same as a boy and a girl. This would be a good opportunity to explain to children that being gay is not abnormal and could lead to less bullying and teenage suicides as a result.
Should those who help the terminally ill die be prosecuted? I believe that we all have a right to an assisted death. but there needs to be a strong framework. I agree with the very detailed Green Party policy on end of life care which can be found in the policies section on their website http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/mfss/mfsshe.html
Should churches be allowed to employ only those who live according to Biblical principles? Should an organisation with a religious ethos be compelled to sign up to equality and diversity policies at the expense of their beliefs? I’m afraid I don’t know anything about employment law concerning religious affiliation but I would think that all organisations should be signing up to equality and diversity policies.
Is Britain a Christian country? Factually, the 2001 census states that 37 million out of 52 million people said they were Christian. Therefore 15 million people in Britain are not Christian. Nearly 8 million people stated they have no religion. Do I think Britain is a Christian country? I think that a lot of people call themselves ‘Christian’ when they don’t necessarily live their lives according to Christian principles.
I am not a Christian and I get annoyed when people assume I am and I do not think schools should be promoting Christian religion as a given. My children do not go to our local village school as it is a Church of England school, instead they go to a non-religious community school in the next village but even there the government says that school and all UK schools should engage in ‘broadly Christian worship’. I do not agree with this.
I have my own personal religious and spiritual beliefs, I am not an athiest, probably more of an agnostic. I do however, very much respect other people’s beliefs, as others should respect mine.
You can find more information about the issues above on these websites:
The British Humanist Association (BHA) is the national charity supporting and representing non-religious people who seek to lead ethical lives without supernatural or superstitious beliefs.
New Family Social is a UK-wide organization run by, and for, lesbian and gay adopters and prospective adopters.
The Office for National Statistics has the 2001 census data mentioned above.
See the Green Party website for more information on their wide range of policies