Looking forward, as one always must, I wonder if the law will eventually be changed to allow one to marry one’s dog. Until now, this would have been considered disgusting, since marriage has been a law revolving around sexual behaviour, and sexual acts with animals are still, I believe, illegal. But, as this column has pointed out, the unintended consequence of the same-sex marriage legislation has been to take sex out of marriage law. Civil servants, unable to define same-sex consummation, omitted it.

So marriage, from now on, can mean no more than the legally registered decision of two people to live together while not being married to anyone else. The justification for this is ‘equality’, buttressed by the idea that love must carry all before it. People often love their dogs very much and want to spend their life with them. So why should they not, chastely, marry them? It will be objected that animals are not people and are therefore incapable of informed consent, but this is an example of what the animal-rights gurus call speciesism.

Besides, anyone who lives with dogs knows that most of them do not suffer from commitment-phobia or incline to desertion, substance-abuse or reckless spending. They make excellent life-partners.

No doubt some old bigots will claim that marriage is a uniquely human institution, but it won’t take long to find enlightened vicars who believe that human and canine dignity is in a very real sense enhanced by recognising inter-species unions. Soon celebrities, tired of human relationships, will hold dinky solemnisations with their chihuahuas, and eager Conservative modernisers will tweet their approval. Anyone who suggests that the whole thing is barking mad will be in breach of Public Equality Duty and denied a career in the public services.


GoveThis is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator’s Notes in this week’s magazine. Click here to read for free with a trial of The Spectator app for iPad and iPhone. You can also subscribe with a free trial on the Kindle Fire.

Tags: Marriage, UK politics