I was overwhelmed to hear the MP’s tell of how much mail they had received on the same-sex marriage issue. They said it was the most they had ever received on one single issue, and the vast, vast majority of it opposed the bill. (Of course those in favour decided not to talk about their bulging mail bags – because that would put them in a position where they would look as if they were IGNORING their constituents!)
But what really struck me yesterday while watching the same-sex marriage debate in parliament was how un-equal the legislation actually is. So much so that David Cameron has actually had the word ‘Equal’ removed from the title of the bill! The main points of inequality are that same-sex marriages do not require fidelity, or even consummation. Therefor, the grounds for divorce are completely different from those of a hetero marriage. And if equality was really the goal then surely civil partnerships should also be offered to hetero couples? (This would however create a situation in which it was legally viable for me to marry my sister! – or even my son! which would probably make the whole thing a laughing stock right?! – but hey, each to their own – we wouldn’t want to discriminate against people who want to marry within their own families would we? After all if the two people really love each other then what’s the problem?!…)
(Here is a lovely pic of the happy couple – just before they formalise their non- faithful, non-consummatory, legally equal, hetero civil wedding-marriage!… Lol! – just kidding!)
Here are some of the MP’s comments opposing the bill from yesterday’s debate:
Tory John Glen (Salisbury) questioned the politics of the move: “By a factor of a least 30 to one my constituents have expressed their opposition to this. The level of disappointment of a much larger minority, as witnessed by the 635,000 who have signed the coalition for marriage petition, is keenly felt and will, in my view, be a highly motivated electoral minority in future elections.”
Senior Tory Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee, said: “I will vote against this measure tonight not because I think the world will end if we see it pass but because I have serious misgivings that in spite of the minister’s commendable efforts, recognised by the Church of England, it is impossible to guarantee that religious freedom will not be compromised.”
David Burrowes said he had received death threats about his opposition to the measure and his children had been taunted and told “their dad’s a bigot”. He said he was “very sad” at Mr Cameron’s plan and added: “The redefinition downgrades marriage to a personal relationship not bound by the obligations to society, community and family which have stood the test of time and is an increasingly popular institution.”
Former minister Edward Leigh said the plans were an affront to many traditional Conservatives. “We should be in the business of protecting cherished institutions and our cultural heritage otherwise what, I ask, is a Conservative Party for? Indeed we are alienating people who have voted for us for all their lives, leaving them with no one to vote for.”
Tory former defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth said the legislation was a “massive change” which “deeply affects the core fabric of our society through the challenge it poses to the whole institution of marriage”.
Conservative Sir Roger Gale (North Thanet) said: “It is not possible to redefine marriage. Marriage is the union between a man and a woman, has been historically, remains so. It is Alice in Wonderland territory, Orwellian almost, for any Government of any political persuasion to seek to come along and try to re-write the lexicon. It will not do.” It had been suggested, he said, that a civil union bill could be created “that applies to all people irrespective or their sexuality, or their relationships, and that means brothers and brothers and sisters and sisters and brothers and sisters as well”. Sir Roger stressed he did not subscribe to the notion, but added he recognised the merit in the argument.
The size of the vote against the Bill’s second reading indicated that scores of Tory MPs opposed the measure but a number of Labour MPs also spoke against the plans.
Stoke on Trent South MP Robert Flello said: “Civil partnerships are equal to marriage – they might not have the same name but they are equal. “It’s not simply about the love and commitment of the happy couple, as important as that is. If marriage was simply about love and commitment, we would first have to define love as being sexual love otherwise non-sexual relationships based on love and commitment would also have to be treated as marriage if that really were the definition of equality.” Mr Flello said the Bill would create two forms of marriage – traditional marriage and same sex marriage – which were still not “equal” with the plans trying to “engineer cultural equivalence”.
Labour’s Jim Dobbin (Heywood and Middleton) said the Bill would change the very nature of marriage and law and was both “hasty and destructive”.
Dr Sharon James, Coalition For Marriage said “We’re absolutely delighted at the scale of those MPs who voted against this. It’s way more than we thought it would be at the start of our campaign. I’m disturbed to hear many MPs say that people are writing to them to say they disagree with gay marriage, but that they’re wrong. Those MPs are holding their constituents in contempt. However, I was pleased to hear in the parliamentary debate that some MPs talked of being flooded with letters and emails from people against gay marriage, and that those MPs are listening. This isn’t a done deal, it’s the beginning of a parliamentary process.”
So you see, David Cameron now has a huge problem. The majority of his own party (approx. 140) voted against him last night. and about another 75 conservatives abstained. This was a much larger opposition than anyone was expecting. It now causes Davy Boy a real problem. And it is a problem that is not going to go away. How long do you think it will be before we start to hear shouts of no confidence coming from the bowels of the conservative party?! Tread carefully David – you’re on thin ice.