From the Coalition for Marriage
The democratic deficit
With the first same-sex weddings set to take place this weekend to much media fanfare, it’s important to remember how undemocratic and illiberal the redefinition of marriage is:
- Marriage was redefined over the heads of the 24 million married people in this country.
- None of the three main political parties at Westminster made redefining marriage part of their election manifesto. It was not even in the coalition agreement.
- Three days before the 2010 General Election, David Cameron told Sky News he had no plans to change the law of marriage.
- There was no green paper or white paper. The only consultation was on 'how' to redefine marriage, not 'whether' to.
- The Government ignored the 500,000 names and addresses of UK residents on our C4M petition. They weren’t accepted as responses to the consultation.
- Since the Government’s online response form was anonymous, anyone anywhere in the world could submit a response, as many times as they liked.
- The consultation ruled out religious same-sex weddings. But when the Bill was published religious ceremonies were included.
- This exposed religious organisations to the threat of hostile legal action, with one gay couple already publicising their intention to go to court to get a C of E wedding.
- Though he still backs gay marriage, David Cameron has admitted he would never have gone ahead had he known the level of opposition that would be stirred up.
- Parliamentary scrutiny was wholly inadequate. At Second Reading, backbench MPs were limited to four minute speeches.
The implications of redefining marriage have not been thought through. The Government agrees that people’s careers shouldn’t be damaged just because they believe in traditional marriage – yet the protections in place are completely insufficient.
A parent complained to her school that her six year old daughter had had two lessons on same-sex marriage in a week.
A teacher was threatened with disciplinary proceedings because she said in the staff room that she believed in traditional marriage.
A couple wanting to adopt children were told they were unsuitable because they supported traditional marriage.
Thankfully all these cases have been resolved, but they should never have arisen at all.
If marriage is redefined once, what is to stop it being redefined again? Some campaigners are now calling for polygamy to be legalised.
Just recently the Government stripped familiar words like husband, wife and widow from a raft of our laws simply because these words don't line up with the Government's new definition of marriage.
For another example of what could happen, you have to look no further than the recent comments of a Justice of the Supreme Court.
Lord Wilson, in a speech he gave supporting gay marriage, suggested that marriage to the dead was an option. He said “if it really helps the broken-hearted, we have at least to ask: why not?”
No nation on earth had legalised same-sex marriage until 13 years ago. Only 16 out of 193 nations have done so.
The truth is that same-sex marriage is a social construct, a social experiment. Parliament can change the law, but it cannot change the reality that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Marriage – between a man and a woman – is the greatest partnership in history. It reflects the complementary natures of men and women.
Time and time again the evidence has shown that children do best with a married mother and a father.
So let’s keep standing up for marriage.
Coalition for Marriage