Sunday, 3 February 2013

Marriage: a privilege and a responsibility

I made my word count this week on my novel but have written almost five times as much in response to the UK Government's proposal to redefine marriage to apply to same-sex couples.

On Tuesday 5 February 2013 there will be a second reading of the Westminster Government's proposed Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. This is despite 83% of the British population opposing any change to the definition of marriage in the 2012 consultation.

When Government choose to ignore the vast majority of their population, this is a sign that democracy is in danger. Government, the UK media and a few who are rabidly pro same-sex marriage are abusing and insulting anyone who dares to question what is happening. For years the GLBT community fought for recognition and respect. Now they have apparently won that recognition and respect it seems some of them have decided to abuse their new power.

It is time to speak out.

I am a man. I have been married to my wife for almost twenty years. I have three children.

I hold that marriage is a privilege and a responsibility. No man has the right to marry a woman. No woman has the right to marry a man. When a man and woman agree to commit to each other for life, this has for centuries been regarded as a solemn responsibility expressed by the exchanging of vows:
I will honour and cherish you
I will be faithful to you, for better - for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer - for poorer.

Every man and woman that remains true to their vow in this regard are blessed with a relationship that fully displays love.

I define love as following: sacrificial and serving; friendship and companionship; romantic and sexual.

Any society where sacrificial love is shown is a true civil society: one that values a husband with terminal disease and instead of seeking a quick death, seeks to show love and to make the most of every moment left with that loved one.

I have not lived up to the ideal marriage I propose above yet I recognise that as with every other goal I have, if I aim for the highest, I have more chance of success.

The Government’s response to their consultation begins with this statement: “3.1 At its heart, marriage is about two people who love each other making a formal commitment to each other. We do not believe that this commitment is any different whether it is made by a same-sex couple or an opposite sex couple. We believe that by allowing same-sex couples to get married we are further strengthening the institution of marriage.”

I have not seen any sign anywhere in the consultation paper or the Government response that the UK Government shares my understanding of marriage.

It is disturbing and concerning that the direction British society is heading in is not to uphold an ideal, to seek to better ourselves, to act better; instead many in the media and government are pushing for us to act in ways that are ever more cruel, ever more dismissive, ever more selfish.

There is a continual push in the media and by government for a society where the terminally sick are not cared for; where adultery (a form of theft) is lauded; where management of money is abused from government on down.

A few people demand the right to die. Instead of our society seeking to value their lives; instead of us seeking to uphold and see value in every person regardless of their disability there is a disturbing push to say the only people whose lives are of value are those who are not in pain, those who are not crippled. Yet there are thousands of people in pain and who are unable to look after themselves who are valued, who are cared for, who are loved on a daily basis by family and friends.

This is a high expression of love.

This is sacrificial love.

Where is the government’s vision for recognizing this love in their proposed legislation? Where is their determination to encourage the vast majority of the British population - including myself - to act in more selfless ways?

Marriage existed before Government and throughout history has always been recognized as a gift from God. Marriage is a matter of belief, of conviction and no Government in any country has the right to impose change on the definition of marriage.

Regardless of whether you agree with me or not, please contact your MP before Tuesday to express your views. I welcome debate.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Mark :)

    You say that 83% were opposed in 2012 - well not according to this poll (Three in five voters back gay marriage, new poll shows - http://bit.ly/TwLQGs) so I guess it depends who you ask.

    I don't see why any of what you say about loving, committed relationships applies only to M-F couples and not M-M couples or F-F couples. If we therefore remove that from your argument, there isn't much left tbh

    You say:
    "GLBT community fought for recognition and respect. Now they have apparently won that recognition and respect it seems some of them have decided to abuse their new power"
    ok... so asking for equality is abusing your power? I bet they said that about equal votes for women 100 years ago ('we give them the vote and then have the temerity to ask for equal pay!') or about the civil liberties movement... The bottom line is that equality is equality, and it is not abusing your power to expect to be treated fairly.
    JF


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  2. Hi Jonathan,

    The UK Government state that over 740,500 responses were received to their 2012 consultation on the Marriage: same sex bill. Of these responses 83% were opposed to the bill. ICM Research interviewed a random sample of 1002 adults according to their website. I believe it is wiser to legislate based on a democratic process such as listening to the results of a countrywide consultation rather than a statistically insignificant poll. Many MP's during the parliamentary debate referred to polls when supporting the bill yet none stated how many responses had contributed to those polls. Is it right to ignore the majority views received from a government consultation?

    Can a man sacrifice his life for another man? Yes
    Can a man look after a sick man? Yes
    Can a man provide for another man, be a friend and companion to another man? Yes

    Is the totality of relationship a gay man can have with another man (or woman with woman) the same as the totality of relationship a man can have with a woman the same?
    No

    Does this mean that gay men and lesbians are unequal?
    No

    The relationships are different. Difference does not mean inequality.

    Equality for women: women make up more than fifty percent of the global population.

    The civil rights movement: at a very rough estimate eighty percent of the world population are non white; are not European or North American or Australian (or any other white community around the world)

    It was absolutely right that laws be changed and enforced to recognise that a person is a person regardless of gender, origin, skin colour or age.

    Yet equality law is currently being misused to discriminate against increasingly large groups of people.

    Women are now discriminated against in the UK since equality legislation demands insurance providers set premiums regardless of gender. Yet women are statistially safer drivers than men. Is it right that women are discriminated against on the grounds of equality?

    Hetrosexual people: over 94% of the UK population are currently discriminated against as they are not allowed to enter into a civil partnership. The proposed Government bill does nothing to rectify this discrimination.

    Can a man have a child with another man? No
    Does this mean he is unequal to me because I can have a child with a woman? No. It means we have chosen a different life path.

    I see nothing in the Government bill that will improve lives or society. I see discrimination.

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