Sunday, 4 March 2012

Unequal marriage: When a tradition becomes a reason, becomes an excuse, becomes a straitjacket

Later this month, the Government will launch a consultation into equal marriage and civil partnership in the UK.

It is something that the Liberal Democrats are very keen to promote, being the only main UK political party to give equal marriage their official policy backing.

The Conservative MP Peter Bone is less enthusiastic and writes today at ConservativeHome that redefining marriage threatens the liberties of Christians, teachers and parents.

His key argument seems to be that if young children are taught about equal marriage, then the conservative, "traditional" view of marriage will not be pre-eminent. As Bone puts it:

...schools will have no choice but to give children equivalent teaching on same sex marriage, even those children of a very young age, including those at primary school.


He worries about "the effect on our schools, children and teachers" and even suggests that parents who disagree with equal marriage may be excluded from being school governors. (It's not a topic that was ever raised during my eight years as a school governor...)

It is simply inconceivable in today’s world where political correctness runs a mock [sic] in our institutions, that there would not be profound consequences for those who hold traditional views.

Parents who object will be treated as bigots and outcasts, possibly excluded from being on the PTA, or from being a governor. Discriminated against and persecuted because they hold views that have been enshrined in our laws and have been the cornerstone of our society for two thousand years.

Just because something has been traditional doesn't mean it's right nor permanent - cf slavery, women's disenfranchisement and any number of "traditions" that seemed like a good idea at the time to those who happened to be doing the oppressing.

Sarah Hanson-Young, a Green Senator for South Australia sums it up:

Watch out for the launch of the Government consultation on Equal Marriage, get in touch with LGBT+ Liberal Democrats and ask them how you can get involved, (a little rainbow bird tells me there will be huge fun to be had, while leafleting gay bars and clubs around the country).

Meanwhile you can add your name to the Coalition for Equal Marriage's petition.