Civil Marriage – a fight for our rights
Publish Date: 24/02/2012
In September, it was announced that the coalition Government would legislate for same-sex civil marriages by 2015.
The equal marriage consultation is due to begin in March and would allow for marriage equality legislation to be passed before the end of the current parliament.
In the last week the Government has come under increased pressure to honour its commitment to give same-sex couples the right to marry, as many people have spoken out against an escalating campaign by religious groups against the plans.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, lent his voice to a new campaign to oppose plans to change the status of marriage, calling it, "one of the greatest political power grabs in history".
The campaign, named the Coalition for Marriage, was launched alongside a petition that was signed by a number of MPs, including: Fiona Bruce, MP for Congleton, David Nuttall MP for Bury North, Jim Dobbin MP for Heywood and Middleton, Joe Benton MP for Bootle, Edward Leigh MP for Gainsborough, Stewart Jackson MP for Peterborough, Bob Blackman MP for Harrow East, Jeffrey Donaldson MP for Lagan Valley and David Burrowes MP for Enfield, Southgate.
If any of these MP’s represent you please do use the letter and supporting information (below) as a basis to let them know how you feel and let them know why they are being misinformed by the Coalition for Marriage.
Download the text below this line as a word document or copy it from this page for your own use.
It is extremely disappointing to learn that you have signed the Coalition for Marriage petition - which is campaigning for the institution of marriage to remain between a man and a woman, and not be opened up to same-sex couples.
I would like to know why you have personally found it necessary not to honour the Government’s commitment to give same-sex couples the right to marry, and why you see fit to resist the opportunity to give all your constituents the right to realise their commitment to one another in law and without prejudice.
I’m sure you have many lesbian, gay and bisexual constituents who would be interested to know that your decision goes against that of your Party leader who has spoken out in support of same-sex civil marriage several times.
It is important to understand that the views held by the Coalition for Marriage go against the wishes of the majority of the general public who believe in equality for all.
I would urge you not to be swayed by misinformation and untruths which have been given to you irresponsibly by the Coalition for Marriage.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual people make up a significant part of the community you have been elected to represent and it is unconstitutional to deny them the right to marriage if they so choose it.
A public consultation on how to make civil marriage available to same-sex couples is to be launched soon and although those who wish to de-rail this process may feel they are succeeding in stalling this debate, it is inconceivable that this country would seek to deny further equalities for same-sex couples to be allowed the right to a civil marriage.
I urge you to reconsider your opinion on this matter based on accurate information and understanding the views of the public. It would be most helpful at this time to fully understand the dangers of being informed by those who use misinformation and ignorance to further their own agenda.
In a world where there is widespread bullying, hate crime and discrimination based on perceived difference, it is unfortunate that high profile decision makers like yourself feel the need to back campaigns that seek to keep people separate, unequal and highlight difference rather than understanding.
While we must all respect the personal beliefs of people of faith, I would kindly urge you to reconsider your position on this issue and understand the importance of supporting equal marriage for all, and understand why the Coalition for Marriage is misguided on this matter.
I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
Why the Coalition for Marriage is Wrong on the Issue of Same Sex Marriage
- The Coalition for Marriage petition states "that there is broad public opposition to redefining marriage", yet this is untrue. In 2009 a Times poll found that 61 per cent of the general public were in favour of gay marriage.
- No one should have the right to deny marriage to any couple who wish to do so based on their sexual orientation.
- Two people who love one another and wish to get married deserve the same recognition from the state and society as anyone else, regardless of their sexual orientation.
- It is regrettable that some people, either because of personal religious beliefs or for any other reason cannot accept marriage equality, it is also unacceptable for such beliefs to deny others true equality.
- The belief held by some that same sex marriage would undermine the institution of marriage is misleading. The commitment of loving couples to one another, whatever their sexual orientation can only reaffirm the importance of stable relationships as expressed through marriage vows.
- Civil partnerships have been an overwhelming success but they were never intended to be the conclusion in full equality for same sex couples.
- No-one will be forced to conduct same-sex civil marriages if they do not wish to do so.
- Many faith organisations have said they do wish to take advantage of recognising same-sex civil marriage. It would be wrong to deny them this opportunity to recognise those in their own community who have so far been denied the right to marry the person they love.
- The ‘Profound consequences’ of not supporting equal marriage is an unequal society, something that benefits no-one.
- Far from being sidelined on this issue, those denied the opportunity to show their love for one another in their chosen setting will hopefully be given the same opportunities as everyone else.
- It is inaccurate and insulting to infer that lesbian gay and bisexual people who wish to enter into marriage do so on the belief that they would not make the same vows to their partner as a heterosexual couple does on their wedding day.
- No-one’s career could ever be harmed by supporting same-sex civil marriage, although it would be interesting to know how one would be viewed as an elected representative if you believe in excluding people purely because of their sexual orientation.
- Love after all is love, however you define it. Please support marriage equality for all.
Please Support Campaigns in favour of same sex civil marriage
The Equal Love campaign supports the legal bid to overturn the twin bans on same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships in the United Kingdom. http://equallove.org.uk/