Baroness Deech speaks... again

Baroness Deech continues her monthly onslaught against the family justice system today with the latest of her public lectures as professor of law at Gresham College, London. According to the Telegraph, the theme of today's lecture will be that English law no longer has a clear concept of marriage.

Lady Deech will apparently quote the legal definition of marriage as the “voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others”, and will go on to say that: “Such is the transformation of family law and family life that not one word of this remains true.” In support of her argument she will give the reasons why she thinks the number of marriages has fallen to its lowest level since 1895. I shall deal with each of these in turn, with my own comments:
  • Religion is a waning force: Excellent news - perhaps reason may take over from superstition.
  • Women have financial independence: This is a bad thing??
  • There is state support for lone parents: I would like to think that there would be in any civilised society.
  • Children are no longer classified as illegitimate: Thank goodness, too, that children are no longer saddled with this archaic stigma, through no fault of their own
  • Divorce is easy: I'm sure that many divorcees would disagree. In any event, a survey released only last week indicated that most people do not believe that making it harder would preserve many marriages (and may only prolong the agony of unhappy marriages).
  • There is no recrimination over sex and birth out of wedlock: 'Recrimination'? Does she want a return to the bad old days when young women and girls were ostracised by their families for falling pregnant?
OK, enough of the ranting. Baroness Deech will then go on to make a rather more sensible point, when she disagrees with provisions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, which allow same-sex couples to be named as parents on birth certificates with no reference to a father. It almost pains me to say it, but I think I am with her on this one: isn't the situation akin to adoption, where the original birth certificate remains after the adoption, and the adopted child can obtain a copy after they reach 18, thereby obtaining details of their natural parents? Surely, the right of the child to know their natural father must trump the rights of the couple? Or am I missing something?


  1. I agree with everything you say here John, except the state support part.

    I quote Opra Winfrey when she says this is the crux of the matter and a very difficult one with regards to safety net and welfare. The difficult choice is if you would have poor women on the street begging with their children or not. I come down on one side of that argument and you the other.

    Having a child is a way out of poverty for women that men do not have. Doing so on the state also diminishes the importance of family.

    Was in communication with Lord Northbourne on the human fertilisation and embryology bill and the Lords were very upset about this and that the Government brought in a three line whip and the parliament act to push it through. An argument for representative government I think rather than the present government writing the laws with no mandate.

  2. Quoting Oprah Winfrey? Not sure that would go down well in court...


    Seriously, how many women have children solely as a way out of poverty?

  3. About half of them for a start. Also, poverty is a relative term, like what is reasonable.

  4. Personally, I doubt whether it is anywhere near half, but we'll have to agree to differ on that one.

  5. Would rather the state did not extend the welfare state to such generous child support as I do think it encourages women in marginal incomes or marginal relationships to have children when they can't support them with their own money or a father for their childhood.

    As a feminist I do support women in the work place and in society as I said at the start, I have a daughter who is the apple of my eye myself. But I think this treating them like china dolls and giving them everything is sexist and counter productive to society and the family as I said before. However, we are going round in a bit of a circle. I do not think such generous support can exist long term, now I am starting to sound like a Tory (oops, I am not), we need to heal our broken society. No, won't be voting for them, but they have a point there I think.

  6. p.s. I do have a lot of time for Oprah. Oprah for President. First female President. Could do a lot worse. Think she is getting on a bit now though, not sure and don't Presidents have to be able to run 5 miles in under an hour or something and be born in America (rules Schwarzenager out). I thought I read somewhere she was the richest woman in America. Don't think you should be as dissmissive of her as you have been. Was that a racist / sexist comment? Too much naval gazing, that is my point.

    Quoting Oprah in Court? You are probably right, but personally I would go with what she says over Butler Sloss every day of the week and twice on a Sunday.

  7. No, that was certainly not a racist or sexist comment - just a comment upon her as an authority.

  8. Just found this

    Says she is the most influential woman in the world! It's on wikipedia so it must be true, ha.

    Her background and history is well worth a read though. Plesently suprised and glad I quoted her now.

  9. I think she is a splendid authority, especially given her background and childhood. A lot more experience of what she is talking about then the Judges in this country who seem to be born with silver spoons.

    I used to like watching Oprah and I quote her in one episode where they discussed welfare and America v European model, must say she had a very convincing argument, think she'd make mincemeat of you John ;-).

  10. Now, if you could get her to do a pod cast that would be one I'd pay money to listen to.

  11. i think deech is absolutely raving. a sad example of someone who seems to be very bright but sees everything through the distorting mirror of her faith so that she is emotionally incapable of recognising difference.

  12. i like to think that with all the things i say, the odds were that one of them would (at random) turn out to be right at some point.


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