According to promoters of the new Coalition for Marriage - C4M - allowing same sex marriage would undermine the whole fabric of society.
It would fatally weaken one of our country’s greatest strengths, lead to an increase in serious crime, harm people’s careers, and dash the hopes of parents hoping to adopt. Government plans are “the greatest power grab in history”, an “act of cultural and theological vandalism” and will unpick the legal rights of 24 million married couples at a single stroke.
If such claims were true, there would be genuine cause for concern at the consultation on same-sex marriage which will be launched by the Government later this month.
But who is really going to be hurt by the introduction of marriage for same-sex couples?
The coalition would have us believe that marriage would be changed irrevocably, not just for LGB&T people, but for the rest of us as well. But is this really true?
Allowing same-sex couples to get married would not invalidate the marriage of heterosexual couples. Their marriage would continue as before – not be picked apart by new law. And no-one would be forced into a same-sex marriage any more that anyone would be forced into a heterosexual marriage. Where is the harm?
Neither would the church be harmed - contrary to C4M’s claims. For many years now the state has married people who have been divorced, and eventually the Church has begun to do the same, but even now clergy are not compelled to marry couples where one or more partners are divorced. There has been no legal action – no court cases – no compulsion.
Neither would the raising of children be affected. While the vast majority of children are raised in heterosexual households (and would continue to be) some same-sex couples already raise children, either by adoption or by natural means, and the introduction of marriage for same-sex couples can only strengthen the bonds of commitment between their parental partners.
As for claims that changing marriage would lead to an increase in serious crime – Lord Carey must really be clutching at straws there! States in the USA which have seen the introduction of same-sex marriage have seen no such correlation or pattern emerging. It is quite simply scaremongering.
Nor are the Government’s plans undemocratic or the act of a dictator. While C4M claims a survey which shows a small majority (51%) believe that” no one has the right to redefine mar¬riage for the rest of us” (whatever that means), a Daily Telegraph poll showed that 80% of the 14,500 people who voted, said yes to same-sex marriage. And at the end of the day, it will be our MP’s who vote – for or against – which is, of course, the very basis of parliamentary democracy in the UK.
So who would be hurt by the introduction of same-sex marriage?
The striking thing about including same-sex couples in marriage is that it does exactly that – it includes people who have been excluded before. Nothing more – nothing less.
So the only hurt which might be involved is the hurt feelings of those who want to exclude others.
There is one thing which Lord Carey and I agree on, however. In his words, “Marriage is the glue that binds our country together. When a couple marries, they are not just joining with one individual, but connecting two families – and in doing so creating a support network far better than anything the state can supply.”
I have to say that I couldn’t agree more – which is why I firmly believe that marriage should be available to same-sex couples who want to make that life-long and life-giving commitment to each other – just like heterosexuals.
So perhaps there should be another coalition – C4M2 – for people who want to see same-sex couples given the same access to marriage to express their love and commitment to each other and for the good of society at large.