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Happy ever after?

by Iain McGill

 I WAS quite happy to have the equal marriage debate pass me by. It wasn't featuring in the pub with my mates, more importantly it wasn't featuring on my twitter timeline! It seems certain to pass in both Westminster and Holyrood by a significant majority and with support from members of all sides.

This is the result I'm hoping for, as well as expecting. Besides, nobody had asked me to express a view on it, backing up my instinct that there are other, more contentious issues to hand.

Yesterday I was asked though - by many people. 20 out of 650 (I'll call them the 3%) Conservative constituency chairs had written to the Prime Minister demanding a delay in the equal marriage legislation. This was big news on a slow news day.

People wanted to know, are we the nasty party again? (We never were for my money.) Were they talking for me as Chair of Edinburgh North & Leith? (No, not at all.) As a Christian conservative and libertarian how would I cast my vote if I had one?

I'm just amazed that there is even a debate about this. Here we have the Government agreeing that the state has no right to control an aspect of people lives, we've cross-party support for it, it's going to pass and it's some Conservatives arguing that the State should retain a veto in a very personal choice of who and how you choose to arrange your life?

It's maybe the most Conservative thing this Government (hamstrung as it is by the Lib Dems) has actually done. Talk of rolling back the influence of the state is cheap, actions are much harder to see evidence of.

The idea that it's appropriate for the state to approve or veto someones choice of marriage partner is laughable - to use The SNPs argument re the Union - do you imagine if the vote was the other way round ie. to implement an unequal marriage law that it would provoke such a serious debate? It wouldn't get off the ground as a serious bill.

Cameron's very first conference speech as leader was a good one - he's mastered that part very well - and he declared to loud applause that he does not support gay marriage despite being a conservative - he supports gay marriage because he's a Conservative.

In 2010 in our equalities manifesto there was a clear commitment to move for equal marriage. This was the manifesto we stood on and won the keys back to No.10 on the back of.

The grumbling of the 3% that it's not necessary, wasn't in out manifesto or party policy does not stand up to scrutiny.

For me the more surprising thing is that a Government is actually doing something that it said it would! No wonder some folks have been wrong footed!

Fair play to Cameron, Clegg, Miliband, Salmond and Harvie for all backing it. The grumblers muttering about voting for other parties in future will be hard pressed to find a credible party offering a different party line - there's no such party.

Looking forwards to the law passing and fingers crossed it's the first of many overly intrusive interfering laws that our Parliament's choose to scrap over the next few years.

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Article from Monday 4, February, 2013

User Comments

This is supposedly about equality, yet I note adultery will not be grounds for divorce for a same sex couple, so "equality" is being redefined too. It's not about being equal, it is an orchestrated attack on the church, which will not be protected by the state as it has surrendered ultimate authority to the ECHR. There is no legal disadvantage for a same sex couple entering a civil partnership, so there is no valid argument there, so where does the disadvantage lie? Is it that they can't be free to choose the venue for their partnership to be legally formalised? Is a church considered more romantic in some way, never mind the beliefs of those who funded its being built and maintained? Would that make a same sex couple feel accepted and to hell with what other people think? Well, that's a strange way to go about becoming accepted, isn't it? The formality of marriage was designed to form a social and legal acceptance of the act which can result in the production of children. That is its history and purpose. A same sex couple cannot produce a child of both partners, so they cannot be considered the same. But that's by the way. The push for this legislation to be passed without any input from the public sets a very disquieting precedent. No mention in any manifesto or coalition agreement and substantial opposition across the country, no matter what its advocates might claim. Alex Salmond cannot claqim to be politically sympathetic to David Cameron and nor can the President of France, yet all three are pushing this same policy at the same time without any public mandate to do so. Why and why now?

Posted on 04/02/2013 by Sheumais
POSSIBLY A STEP TOO FAR TOO QUICKLY. OK call me a “Philistine” or any other pejorative name because I clearly have difficulty with this one, I still think that legislating for same sex “ marriage “, is possibly a step too far too quickly. No one is disputing the rights of heterosexual or homosexual couples to form relationships and be considered equal under the law as far as this can be defined where there is a consensus of approach. The use of the word “marriage“ though is a difficult one, that many people including myself to a certain extent, have some reservations about. There is no one definition or accepted stance as to what marriage means or how it is relevant to different cultures, within our society. Too many people from the multi ethnic and religious backgrounds, which far outnumber the percentage of same sex couples wanting to “ marry “, have voiced concerns that a small minority want to “ redefine “ what marriage means or has meant in the past, denying their beliefs and culture. So who is discriminating against who? Is there perceived discrimination going on here - possibly an interesting debate in the making. This is not a party political point, and although it was contained in manifestoes at the last General Election etc., that doesn`t always indicate that the general public will agree or accept the change. The “ Genie “ though is out of the bottle and I suppose we are about to see the unedifying spectacle of the Tory Party at Westminster, tearing itself apart, whilst this UK Government policy, passes through the house of commons with the help of the opposition. A subject like this requires consensus, I fear that this will be more divisive, and cause unnecessary strife.

Posted on 04/02/2013 by Jim Terras