One of the hottest social issues at the moment is whether the state should allow same-sex partners to marry. Now, some have pointed out that homosexual couples now have the option to have a Civil Partnership so what is all the fuss about the term ‘marriage’? Well, as many now know, there are a couple of differences, though, thankfully, some have been ‘redressed’ (for example, the Inheritance tax ‘break’ for married heterosexuals now applies to couples of the same-sex if they have been in a civil partnership. The main difference, though, is in the details. You cannot legally call your civil partner a spouse on documents. You will still have to make sure you put in your will that you want your partner to receive your ‘estate’ in the event of your death, whereas in a heterosexual marriage this is done automatically. And a big one, is that churches are divided on whether they could permit civil partnerships as marriages, as this would go against the grain of their beliefs. Notice not all churches have this complaint, and not all churches are protesting for the same reasons.
But it would be a myth to suggest the only opposition to legal gay marriage is from religious institutions. In fact there are many people around who hold to no faith, who still think society as we know it would come crumbling down around our very ears should two women or two men decided they love each other so much they want to make a social and personal commitment to one another. People who do hold to such beliefs should stop and really think ‘Has prohibiting same-sex marriage stopped people being gay?’ The answer, obviously, is NO. because gay sexuality has been around as far as we can look back in time, just as heterosexuality. The same as when it was illegal in this country to be homosexual (which was decriminalised not legalised – a big difference), were there suddenly more gay people when the law changed? There may have seemed to be more openly gay people in society, but that’s because they no longer had to hide.
It appears that there is a massive consensus in the UK to allow people of whatever gender to marry each other if they wish to. If you don’t like gay marriage, then don’t have one. The point being that in a liberal democracy (and being a Classic Liberal in my personal politics) then an adult should be free to do as they please, as long as they bring no unprovoked harm to another. So what about churches and Christians who do not wish to perform a marriage ceremony in their buildings because they are bound by their scriptures or superiors, etc? Well, the view stated above applies to ALL, so churches and other religious institutions should never be forced to go against what they believe and practice. So what is the answer here?
In my view, we should be starting a process to separate church and state. that way, the state cannot force itself onto religious institutions and conversely religion cannot then do the same to democratically elected governments. there are e-petitions you can sign on this issue (as well as any other issue you wish to help prompt a debate in Parliament about) so sign them if you believe the same, contact your MP, convince people, be British and write a letter to someone, ANYONE! Think about the consequences – there would be freedom of religion, without the constrictions of years of antiquity allowing church superiors to dominate certain political debates. religious people would still have their say, and it would be up to those who run the church buildings whether they wish to perform a gay marriage or not. They would be allowed to use their own discretion. But the law defining marriage could then be changed to include same-sex as well as different sex, couples, and a homosexual couple could then legitimately refer to their married partner as their spouse.
Despite Christian’s protests at this suggestion of separation of Church and State, they would do well to look back at history at times when their religion has attained political power. It makes far from pleasant reading, from Constantine instituting it as an official Roman Empire Religion and corrupting with his Sun Worship, Henry VIII changing it to what he liked and destroying monasteries, the whole Dark Ages, the Inquisition, Galileo persecuted, scandals at the Roman Catholic Church involving superiors, I could go on. Christianity is a religion that has flourished when it has been ‘organic’, bottom-up and great when not seeking political power. It’s not just Christianity. Institutionalised Islam has kept a great many from freedom of choice and we see ‘The Opiate Of The Masses’ demonstrated with Bin Laden and Co. You can’t ban religion, and nor should any government attempt to. But also you shouldn’t be for banning freedom of thought, freedom to make your own decisions, freedom of expression or, indeed with this topic, freedom to love.