Talking Politics: Same-sex marriage bill is divisive, not inclusive

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Throughout all the debate and controversy surrounding the same sex marriage proposals, recognition of the purpose and values of marriage has been assumed rather than discussed. No real debate has taken place on the nature of marriage itself.

Marriage is clearly a foundational and progressive institution. It is both traditional and radical: it secures well-being and manifest advantage for children born under its auspices and stability for men and women. However traditional marriage is under threat and has been for so many years. The steady erosion of marriage over the last few decades is a grave social and economic ill. Surely with around 50% of children in our society being born out of wed lock, shouldn’t the state be looking at ways to strengthen the institution of marriage for the sake of children rather than erode the true purpose of marriage even further? There is a plethora of evidence out there that says, that the best platform to tackle poverty, and gain acceptance, socialisation and a place in society already prepared for children, is born about by parental sacrifice and the love of their children of their union.

Basically, the traditional family unit, sealed by traditional marriage.

Traditional marriage is based on many things but the main basic purpose of marriage is about children and the nurturing of children as set out in current laws.

Of course that doesn’t mean to say that children brought up in other models don’t prosper, of course they do. I am not so naive that I don’t recognise that the institution of marriage has many variations and many within traditional marriage cannot have children for a variety of reasons.

No matter how wonderful we are or how hard we try as parents however there is no substitute for the traditional family unit. I know this from being a single Dad for many years and I can tell you that I tried my absolute best, as most parents do from whatever diverse family unit they are involved with, but I know that as hard as I tried, I was never a substitute for a Mother in their lives.

Those who advocate the extension of marriage to same sex couples have been very strong on the value of equality but at the same time almost silent on the specific nature of marriage they want equal access to. Having studied this bill line by line, there is nothing fair or equal about the government’s bill.

You have to ask why they have dropped the word, ‘Equal’

A bill which keeps the traditional meaning of marriage for some sections of society that says, ‘Marriage is between a man and a woman for the procreation of children’, then gives others in society a different meaning of marriage which says, ‘Marriage of same sex couples is lawful’ – How is that equal?

A Bill where a person in a same sex marriage has an affair with someone from the opposite sex then it is deemed as ‘Adultery’. If however they have an affair with someone of the same sex, then it is not classed as Adultery and therefore not grounds for divorce. – How is that equal?

A Bill which takes away the meaning of the purpose of marriage whose intention is traditionally child centred and tailors it to become a partnership model, changes the basic building block of society and makes it Adult centred. – How is that equal for children?

Currently if a same sex couple have a Civil Partnership they will generally find their local Vicar open to give them a blessing in church if they so want. An unintended consequence of this bill is that this will no longer be available because the Church doesn’t recognise same-sex marriage and this Bill precludes them from doing so.

Rather than erode the traditional meaning of marriage for the majority, there is a simple solution to this bill, which as it currently stands is incredibly divisive rather than being inclusive.

Why don’t the government have a serious look at opening up civil partnerships to heterosexual couples or civil marriage to same sex couples and simply change the name to something like ‘Civil Marriage or State Marriage’ or whatever we chose to call it? That way those who want marriage so they can be called married, get their way.

That way those who want to maintain traditional marriage for its true intended purpose can keep it.

That way those who do not want a traditional option of marriage can have marriage under a civil partnership or civil marriage where they currently can not

That way those who believe the church should decide on who they want to marry can allow them to do so – Let the Churches themselves decide not the State and in a fashion where they do not fear reprisals for doing so.

Everyone should then be happy and the Government can get on at bringing forward plans to help strengthen the family unit under whatever guise so everyone benefits.