Thank you for your email.
Regarding the issue of marriage in church, marriage is defined in law according to how it is conducted. Under the Marriage Act of 1949, marriage can already be conducted in numerous different ways, taking into account religion or lack thereof; and location, be it a religious building, register office or other approved premises. There is therefore already a clear distinction in law between religious and civil marriages. Civil marriages cannot happen inside a church now and this does not change under the Government’s proposals. I agree that religious liberty must be protected in any legislation; no religious place should be discriminated against for its choices in this matter.
On the strengthening of society, I don't believe this is something that can be easily evidenced or quantified; however, I do believe strongly in the general benefits of marriage for couples, children and society as a whole.
The current proposals are precisely that: proposals. They do not intend, nor can they, to detail the complex legalities that any redefinition would involve. Clearly this would be an enormously complex piece of legislation that needs to take into account the protections of religious sites, and indeed - as you say - any further redefinitions of marriage. As you say, very many people have joined the debate - on both sides - given their strong feelings, and I can assure you that the government is taking representations such as yours very seriously indeed.
I remain undecided of my voting intentions, but you are very welcome - if you wish to discuss this further - to come to a surgery in the near future.
With best wishes,
Does anyone else wonder how long the fence will bear the strain?
His first point is a load of bunkum, I think. Marriage is not defined in law according to how it is conducted. It is defined in law, as are various ways in which it can legally be conducted. That is a significant difference.
He concedes that we are witnessing the re-definition of marriage.
Unfortunately, I was not able to get to his surgery, due to other commitments.
I'll post my reply shortly (cue Archers theme music).