Last weeks Conservative conference speech by David Cameron included a comment and commitment to allowing ‘gay marriage’.
This has caused comments for and against from within the Tory Party as well as elsewhere.
I was listening on Friday to a BBC 5-live phone in on this subject with Nicky Campbell which was interesting for the views that were aired. The pro-Cameron stance was given by Louise Mensch MP and the arguments against from others including Peter Bone MP.
Louise (a Catholic) argued that the change would mean that homosexuals could be married in a civil ceremony, as opposed to the watered down civil-partnership. But religious and sacramental arguments would be a decision for the those institutions to decide.
Peter Bone’s initial argument was that a dictionary definition of marriage is a union between a man and a woman (not quite, see below). He also intimated that he thought the David Cameron was acting through pressure from his LibDem colleagues (something that Louise refuted).
Oxford online: marriage
- 1 the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife:she has three children from a previous marriage
- [mass noun] the state of being married:women want equality in marriage
- informal a union between partners of the same sex; a civil partnership.
Other arguments were that marriage was between a man and a woman so that they could bring children into the world and give them a proper upbringing (biological parents being the best route, which as Nicky Campbell pointed out is not the case). Also religion was spouted throughout the time I was listening. If marriage is about bringing children into the world, why do people marry who don’t want children or are passed child-bearing age?
Wikipedia gives this definition:
Marriage (or wedlock) is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found. Such a union, often formalized via a wedding ceremony, may also be called matrimony.
People marry for many reasons, including one or more of the following: legal, social, libidinal, emotional, economic, spiritual, and religious. These might include arranged marriages, family obligations, the legal establishment of a nuclear family unit, the legal protection of children and public declaration of commitment. The act of marriage usually creates normative or legal obligations between the individuals involved. In some societies these obligations also extend to certain family members of the married persons.
Nowhere does it mention the sex of the participants.
Looking at same sex marriage on Wikipedia gives this:
Same-sex marriage (also known as gay marriage) is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality.
Since 2001, ten countries have begun allowing same-sex couples to marry nationwide: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway,Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden. Same-sex marriages are also performed and recognized in Mexico City and parts of the United States. Some jurisdictions that do not perform same-sex marriages recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere: Israel, the Caribbean countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, parts of the United States, and all states of Mexico.
I believe that some of the above are religious states?
There was also a caller on the programme (a lesbian, if that matters) who gave the case that although she did not wish to marry, she should have the right to do so. Another was annoyed by the use of the term ‘normal’ when referring to hetrosexuals, which by definition would mean homosexuals are misfits or not normal.
From my viewpoint, we are all equal and therefore if I am allowed to marry why shouldn’t my peers, regardless of their sexual persuasion. They have the same rights as I do in this democratic country. If not we are branding gays as second class citizens. How can that be right?
I married my wife in a register office, but I’m sure the registrar didn’t tell me that it was only a civil partnership, in fact nope she called it a marriage…
Yet again we have people defending the ‘status quo’ and keeping Victorian values. As we understand and learn more about the world, ourselves etc. laws and values have to change with the times. Oh and Peter we can even change the definition in the dictionary if it helps!!