Equal Marriage

A couple of weeks ago my husband wrote to our MP petitioning him to vote in favour of equal marriage. The letter he received back was much as you would expect from a Conservative MP: polite, seemingly open-minded, and leaving a strong impression that they weren’t going to take anything you had said into account.

I’d responded to the consultation on equal marriage online already, but I decided to take the opportunity to write to our MP myself, specifically addressing a few of the points he had made.

The consultation on equal marriage closes on 14th June. If you haven’t already, please respond.

Additionally the excellent service WriteToThem makes it easy to write to your MP.

Dear Jonathan Lord MP,

I am writing to ask you to vote in favour of the change in law which will allow same-sex couples to marry.

In your response to my husband’s email, also asking that you vote in favour of this change, you advised that you would review the outcome of the current consultation. You also advised that you would consider the correspondence from constituents asking that the law stays as it is, espousing the traditional view that marriage itself has always been between a man and a woman.

It has been said by those who are against this change, that allowing same-sex couples to marry will undermine the value of marriage. As I’m sure you are aware, the ‘value’ society places on marriage has changed significantly over the course of human history. For centuries the value of marriage was predominantly as a business transaction. Then a shift in social attitudes took place, and the view was espoused that people should marry for love.

Now that we are in this current paradigm, that marriage is first and foremost a celebration of a romantic relationship, the only reason to maintain that same-sex couples cannot marry is because you don’t like the idea of gay people having a romantic relationship.

It is my strong belief that there is nothing wrong with being gay. However the law in the UK does not currently support this view. Despite the progress that has been made in the past few decades, the law still indicates that being gay is sub-optimal. The law regards same-sex couples as being inferior to straight couples, and the state would prefer that the family unit was based on a relationship between a man and a woman.

Marriage has increasingly little to do with raising a family. A straight couple who can’t conceive naturally can now use medical intervention to have a child, or they can adopt. Many of these options are available to gay couples, and there’s no evidence to suggest that gay couples make ‘worse’ parents than straight couples. Additionally many straight married couples, such as my husband and I, choose to remain child-free. We wanted to get married because we loved each other, but we never wanted to have children. Because we are a heterosexual couple, this was legal and acceptable.

If, as you stated, you are a huge supporter of marriage and the family, then you should embrace this opportunity to allow same-sex couples the same access to the institution of marriage, while at the same time showing your support for the gay community.

As a matter of historical accuracy, you referred to “the traditional view that marriage itself has always been between a man and a woman.” This is factually incorrect, as the Catholic Church regularly conducted same-sex marriages throughout the 300 year period of the 10th to the 12th century. In addition the Catholic Church was vociferously opposed to heterosexual marriage up until the late 9th century. This shows not only that part of the argument against gay marriage is based on a false understanding of social history, but further illustrates the point that society has changed its attitudes to marriage before.

I sincerely hope you will use your vote to show that our society’s progression towards equality and tolerance should not be impeded by the illogical and incorrect views of those inexplicably obsessed with the romantic and sexual relationships of other people.

Thank you for your time.

Mrs Liz Eden