Equal marriage: the debate
Since being elected David Cameron has made much of his desire to allow equal marriages for same-sex couples. These plans have proved to be very divisive within the Conservative party and have caused much controversy, confusion and heated debate.
A public consultation running for 13 weeks till June 2012, received around 220,000 responses; an unprecedented number for a Government consultation. 53% of respondents were in favour of the proposal to allow same-sex couples to get married, 46% were against, and 1% responded either ‘don’t know’ or ‘not sure’. Additionally, government have also received a number of petitions, totalling more than 500,000 signatures, all opposed to the reform.
Alongside this an umbrella group backed by academics, lawyers and religious leaders calling themselves Coalition for Marriage (C4M) was established in support traditional marriage and opposing any plans to redefine it. The Coalition’s petition is still open and has received over 621,000 signatures.
So it is clear that the current picture demonstrates both broad opposition and support for redefining marriage.
The debate has been broader than previous debates on gay rights. Supporters of same-sex marriage feel that allowing equal marriage would be an important move in terms of ensuring equal rights; the institution of marriage promotes commitment and stability and therefore should not be denied to gay people, with some suggesting that marriage could be extremely beneficial to the gay community.
Those against feel that such a change would fundamentally alter the nature of marriage and destablise the institution as a whole, thus risking a decline in marriage in the heterosexual community. They also argue that the changes could undermine religious freedom.
OnePlusOne exists to strengthen all relationships and as such seek to promote a better understanding of the evidence on this topic. You can read several articles of this site outlining the facts and recent proposed legislation.
We would also urge our supporters to read Policy Exchange’s report ‘What’s in a Name? Is there a case for equal marriage?’
This presents an evidence based analysis of the arguments around marriage equality and considers whether there is a compelling case to reform the law.
The report sets out a reasoned analysis of the equal marriage concept and its practical implications and evaluates the arguments on both sides of the divide. It also explores the experience of other countries where marriage equality is already a reality.
For more information on civil partnerships and the legal rights of same-sex couples visit our Married or Not section here.