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A friend of mine got a leaflet through the letterbox yesterday – by the Coalition of Marriage.  This resulted in much rage-stroke-mocking from my friends group, and it’s pretty much all my Facebook wall can talk about.  It basically had 10 points explaining why the government is wrong to legalise same-sex marriages, and you can read the leaflet here:

http://c4m.org.uk/downloads/10reasons.pdf

Since I wrote a post about the legalisation of same sex marriage, I figured I’d take a look at the points made in the leaflet and see if they actually had any real merit.  Clearly, people are annoyed enough to write pamphlets, they must have something to write about.  And remember, I am not politically literate, or all that bothered about this issue considering my own opinions on marriage, so understand that this is my opinion, something everyone is entitled to.  If one is going to release their opinion onto the world, they have to accept that certain people aren’t going to agree – so that said, feel free to argue with me in the comments, that’s the understandable outcome of this kind of post.

Reason 1

It will undermine marriage

Evidence shows that redefining marriage actually undermines support for marriage in wider society. Neither has it delivered the promised stability for same-sex couples. In Spain, after gay marriage was introduced, marriage rates across the whole population plummeted.  In the Netherlands too there has been a significant fall in the marriage rate since marriage was redefined.  Same-sex marriage does not promote marriage.

Allow me to chuckle sadistically.  Oh where do I start…

Undermine marriage?  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but marriage isn’t exactly the sacred bond it once was.  The divorce rate in this country is so high; it’s kind of hard to see how it could get any worse by making it available to more people.  Marriage has been undermined for decades…making it available to homosexual couples is the least of its problems.

Reason 2

Marriage is part of our history. 

Marriage between a man and a woman is not a recent social invention. Everyone knows that marriage predates law, nation and church. It goes back to the dawn of time. Yes, matrimonial law may have been tweaked over the years, but the law has never fundamentally altered the essential nature of marriage: a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman. Same-sex marriage would rewrite hundreds of years of British legal tradition and thousands of years of cultural heritage.

True.  Marriage between a man and a woman is not a recent social invention.  However, neither is marriage between a man and a man, or women and women.  There are historical reports from ancient Rome, Greece, China and Spain detailing same-sex marriages (or the closest religious equivalent anyway).  Once upon a time it was allowed, then certain cultures brought in new laws and guidelines and certain things were no longer acceptable.

And if you’re going to argue that it predates law, nation and church?  Then you’re taking away all the things that say same-sex relations are wrong.  Are you really saying there were never any cavemen who decided to stay with their fellow hunting buddy than a woman way back when?  You can’t prove there weren’t any more than I can prove there was.

Reason 3

Equality already exists

Same-sex couples already have equality. All the legal rights of marriage are already available to same-sex couples through civil partnerships. Equality doesn’t mean bland uniformity or state-imposed sameness. If the Government genuinely wants to pursue equality, why is it banning heterosexual couples from entering a civil partnership? Same-sex couples have equal rights through civil partnerships, but they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else.

I think my post here pretty much sums up my opinion on this.  I completely agree that heterosexual couples should be allowed to have civil partnerships, so I’ll give the leaflet a point here (even though I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the point they were trying to make).

Reason 4

Impact on schools

The current law requires schools to teach children about the importance of marriage.  If marriage is given a new definition, it will be endorsed in schools. According to expert legal advice, any teacher who fails to endorse same-sex marriage in the classroom could be dismissed. Parents will have no legal right to withdraw their children from lessons which endorse same-sex marriage across the curriculum. Already supporters of gay marriage are recommending books for use in schools which undermine traditional marriage, and call on schools to get children to act out gay weddings.

The effect on schools will be polarising and divisive.

I definitely don’t remember being taught about the important of marriage, so maybe it’s a new thing.  I do remember in my first year of high school, Modern Studies trying to teach us the importance of politics.  We were put into teams and all had to run our own political campaigns to understand how politics worked.  Do you know what team won that campaign?  The one whose main promise was to turn Scotland into a caterpillar farm to increase the butterfly population.  We thought it was hysterical, though our teacher didn’t, and said we needed to be serious about this.  But I think I can safely say that class did not affect how anyone decided to support politically when such a time came.

And at home, we would play dress up, boys often ending up in the girl’s clothes for humiliation purposes, and girls in boy’s clothes after the boys had bolted and we didn’t have enough people.  You really think making kids act out gay weddings is actually going to impact them more than making them happy they don’t have to write something that period?

Reason 5

Thin end of the wedge

If we redefine marriage once, what’s to stop marriage being redefined yet further?  If marriage is solely about love and commitment between consenting adults, what’s to say we shouldn’t recognise three-way relationships? It’s already happened in nations that redefined marriage. In Brazil, a three-way relationship was given marriage-like recognition under civil partnership laws.

A similar situation has existed in the Netherlands for several years.  In Canada after marriage was redefined, a polygamist argued in court that his relationship should be recognised in law.

When politicians meddle with marriage it all starts to unravel.

…Okay, I’ll give them a point here.  In a world where the ‘traditional’ relationship is becoming a dying beast, this is a can of worms, and once opened, there’s no telling where it’ll end up.

But I’m sure people gave that argument for slavery, and equal rights (and before anyone starts yelling, no I am not saying that this argument is on par with that of slavery or equal rights, it’s just an example).  I’m not saying I agree that a 3-way relationship should have the same rights as a marriage…and there may come a time where I have to justify that opinion.  I’ll just answer this by reiterating that the rules about marriage need to be strengthened – not who is eligible for it…but what it actually means.

Reason 6

Marginalises the majority

Calling opponents “bigots” is meant to shut down debate and stop people thinking for themselves. Nick Clegg landed in hot water over a draft speech which called opponents of redefining marriage “bigots”.  He later retracted the word, but there’s no doubt that many who support this radical agenda think anyone who disagrees is not worthy of respect. However, support for traditional marriage has come from many respected academics, lawyers, politicians of all parties, and religious leaders. They all know that redefining marriage would have a profound impact.

Again, read my previous post.  Marriage needs to be redefined if it’s actually going to be saved.  Wake up.

Reason 7

Many gay people don’t want it

Polling shows that only a minority of gay people (39 per cent) believe gay marriage is a priority.  And according to the Government only 3 per cent of gay people would enter a same-sex marriage.  A number of gay celebrities and journalists are themselves opposed to gay marriage.  Latest official data shows that only 0.5 per cent of households are headed by a same-sex couples.  Not all of them want, or will enter, a same-sex marriage. So, why is such a monumental change being imposed throughout society?

…Well, it so few gay people want it, why are you complaining?  If the people who want it are such a minority how can it possible be such a big deal for everyone?  Surely if so few want it, it will make it more special for those who do?

I agree, it’s not a priority, but since when have politicians actually bothered to look at those?

Reason 8

The public don’t want it

Seven in ten people want to keep marriage as it is.  Other polling which purports to show public support for gay marriage fails to tell respondents that equal rights are already available through civil partnerships.  When people are told this crucial fact, most people say keep marriage as it is.  MPs say their postbags have been dominated by public opposition to redefining marriage.  Ordinary people want the Government to concentrate on reviving the economy and providing better public services, not meddling with marriage.

Do I really need to reiterate my previous post again?  And see response to Reason 7.

Reason 9

A huge change to society

Since we already have civil partnerships, isn’t same-sex marriage just a small logical next step? No. Rewriting the meaning of marriage will have a far-reaching impact on society. Over 3,000 laws make reference to marriage. The Government has already admitted that official documents will need to be rewritten to remove words like ‘husband’ and ‘wife’. In France the Government is eradicating the words ‘father’ and ‘mother’ from all official documents. The Church of England has warned that it could lead to disestablishment and a constitutional crisis.

Really?  Disestablishment?  I would like to point out that there were thousands of laws that had to be rewritten for equal rights and slavery (again, this argument is not as important, but it’s the principle of the thing).  Laws are rewritten all the damn time.  Okay so there’s a significantly larger number this time – so what?  How exactly is that a huge change to society?

Reason 10

Freedom of conscience will be eroded

The civil liberty of people who believe in traditional marriage is already being eroded. A housing manager from Manchester was demoted and lost 40 per cent of his salary for stating, outside work time, that gay weddings in churches were “an equality too far”.

Conferences and symposiums in support of traditional marriage have been thrown out of venues.  Adverts in support of a 600,000-strong public petition in favour of traditional marriage have been investigated as “offensive”.

And all this has taken place before any change to the law has taken place. What will it be like if the law does change? A leading human rights lawyer has outlined the devastating impact of redefining marriage on civil liberties.

Alright, I’ll definitely agree with them that the Housing Manager shouldn’t have been punished for expressing his opinion (assuming that’s all he did and the pamphlet isn’t obscuring certain aspects of the event).  I am fully of the belief that if an aspect of society that was once considered indecent becomes decent, you should not be expected to like it.  But you do have to accept it.  If someone’s lifestyle choices are not actually affecting you, what right do you have to pass judgement on them? My Aunt and Uncle have been happily married for longer than I’ve been alive.  My parents are divorced, as our all my other Aunts and Uncles.  Do their failed marriages weaken my sole family’s surviving marriage?  Of course they don’t.  No more than a gay couple getting married would weaken it.  It has no effect on their marriage.  That is a union between the two of them.  Not the-two-of-them-and-everyone-else-who-ever-was-is-or-will-be-married.

As for the offensive petition…okay they get another point.  Like I said, everyone has a right to their opinion.  The petition came out before same-sex marriage was legal, and therefore acceptable (again, assuming that the adverts weren’t actually offensive).

So going through their ten reasons…I give them 3 points for things I kind of agree with.  Though can’t help but feel a lot of it was really going over outdated information held by people who are clinging to this desperate belief that marriage is somehow sacred and special and has never been updated and amended.  Anyone remember a little thing called a dowry?  And when it was more a contract for families than an expression of love?  Times change.

Why is this the fight people are so desperate to fight?  All the problems in the world and you feel this is the one you need to soapbox.  At the end of the day, if you bypass all the religion and law and get down to the most basic definition – marriage means union.  Does it really matter who it’s between?