Friday 19 October 2012

A letter to my MP

Here's a letter I've sent to my MP: I will let you know of any response in due course.

Feel free to use any or all of it when writing to yours.


I am writing to ask you to oppose the current proposals to redefine marriage.

There are several reasons for this.

1 Safeguarding the institution of marriage
Marriage is foundational to civilised society, and has been as far back as we can trace. It is reckless to change such a fundamental building block without good reason, and without looking at the potential consequences.

One of the claims made by those in favour of gay marriage is that allowing gay marriage changes nothing for heterosexual marriage.

That is quite simply not true.  Changing the meaning of marriage necessarily includes:

Re-defining it to mean that it is not intrinsically about procreation;
Re-defining it to mean that it is not the union of one man and one woman;
Re-defining consummation (something the government’s proposals have fudged in a shameful fashion) and which raises serious questions about whether consummation will be defined in the same or different ways for lesbians, homosexual men and heterosexual couples (if the same, that radically changes the meaning of heterosexual marriage; if different, that makes a mockery of the equality principle that is allegedly behind the proposal).

It also creates a cultural context within which people will have very different understandings of marriage than heretofore, thus making it much harder for young people to find others with the same (traditional) view of marriage as they may hold, and rendering normal heterosexual marriage harder to contract and sustain.

2 The Protection of Children
Traditionally, marriage has been essentially about the conceiving and raising of children in the context of a loving relationship between a man and a woman. The evidence is clear that children do best when raised in a stable family by their mother and their father.  

Same sex marriage is an unproven experiment.  What little evidence there is suggests that its introduction undermines marriage (eg in Spain and the Netherlands, where marriage rates across the whole population have fallen since its introduction).

The stakes are very high when we are dealing with the future generation: to take such a risk there should be a serious good that is pursued...

3 The Purpose of the Change
It is widely touted that the purpose of this change is equality.  That is clearly not the case.  Same-sex couples already have equality, via civil partnerships.  They gain no legal right under the marriage proposals which they do not already enjoy.  The real purpose of this change is social engineering: that is to bestow state (and it is hoped public) approval on same-sex relationships.  The question that has to be asked is whether that is the correct role of the state.  In fact, this is clearly a change being led by a small but vociferous minority trying to lead public opinion in a particular direction.  It seems to me to be dishonest to pretend it is anything else.  

I also fear that the reason the Conservative Party has jumped on the bandwagon has more to do with massaging the Tory brand than any conservative principles.  But in practice, it won’t mean gay people are more likely to vote Tory; it will mean that many Tories are unlikely to vote at all, as there will be no party which represents their views and philosophy.

4 The Alleged Distinction between Civil and Religious Marriage
Much has been made of the alleged distinction between Civil and Religious Marriage, and it has been asserted that this applies only to Civil Marriage, leaving Religious Marriage untouched.  That is a very curious claim, as there is no such distinction in English Law.  There are civil or religious ceremonies, but only one institution of Marriage.  It is very hard to see any protection that could be offered to religious organisations who refuse same-sex weddings if challenged at the European level, once same-sex marriage is legalised.

5 The Slippery Slope
Once the state believes it can re-define marriage, what is to stop it being re-defined further? That is not a fanciful question, as we are already witnessing cases in Brazil, the Netherlands and Canada striving to legitimise polygamy.

6 Freedom of Conscience
We are already seeing hotel and B&B owners being prosecuted for following their consciences as Christians, and upholding standards which were, until very recently, the law of the land.  Legal advice from senior QCs indicates that we will soon find that Christians who believe in marriage as always heretofore defined are thereby barred from many occupations and organisations, including education, many public services, and so on.   Likewise  Churches will be obliged to let their halls be used for ceremonies which are against their beliefs, or not let them be used at all; and so on.

For all of these reasons, the proposed legislation is wrong-headed and should be opposed.  Like so many in the country, I appeal to you as our elected representative to oppose it at every opportunity.

Yours sincerely,



Trisagion said...

Ben, I have slightly adapted and expanded your letter and used it as the basis of a letter that I have, today, sent to my own MP, who is an 'undecided'. Many thanks.

Sitsio said...

Brilliant, thanks. Prompted me to write to mine, using your excellent template!

Ben Trovato said...

Thanks, both of you, for letting me know. I will be interested in any response you receive - and will publish mine to this blog.