Richard Willis's Blog

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It is Time for Equal Marriage Rights for All

SSMToday the House of Commons will vote on whether to allow same sex couples to enjoy equal rights to civil marriage as straight couples. There has been much wailing and protesting, mainly from church groups who have conducted a well organised letter writing campaign to Members of Parliament. Some will undoubtedly be concerned at this apparent outburst of anger among normally docile constituents but they should also be mindful of opinion polls which consistently show significant majority support for same sex marriage.

Many MPs have already publicly declared their voting intention with pro’s and anti’s in each of the three major parties. Only the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland seems to be united against the plans. The Conservative Party (as the name implies) has a higher percentage of anti’s than the other major parties but Prime Minister David Cameron is a strong supporter as is a significant majority of senior Conservative Cabinet members and Government members. The main body of Conservative anti’s is on the backbenches. More surprising is a significant minority of Labour anti’s and one or two Lib Dem MPs.

In my view the State should not maintain a position that two adults of the same sex who love eachother may not marry. Marriage has evolved over the centuries and in the twenty first century it is time to extend the right to civil marriage to gay couples. I perfectly understand that some religious groups want to have safeguards which ensure that they should not be forced to conduct same sex marriages in their places of worship if they object on doctrinal grounds. However, those religious organisations that wish to conduct same sex marriages should be permitted to do so.

This is a matter of conscience for MPs and therefore the Whips have been held heck as MPs decide how to vote according to their own consciences. The Parliamentary maths indicates that the measure will pass with a substantial majority even if Scottish and Welsh MPs abstain. If I had been elected in 2005 when I stood for Parliament I would vote in favour of equal marriage tomorrow. I have also spoken to my local MP Rob Wilson to urge him to support the measure. I hope that a majority of Conservative MPs will come down in favour and that those who cannot do so accept defeat with good grace. In a few years same sex marriage will be the accepted norm and no-one will understand the fears and scares being expressed by some in this debate.

David Cameron has this one spot on and his leadership will stand him in good stead at the next election!

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February 5, 2013 - Posted by | National

4 Comments »

  1. This policy is to me and my value system utterly WRONG on so many levels..

    There are already Civil Partnerships which give same-sex couples the same legal rights as regards property, inheritance etc as a (Heterosexual) Married Couple so there is simply no need for this move to change the fundamental basis of Marriage, It is a slap in the face to People of Faith not only Christians but the other Great Religions .

    This move has already cost Cameron many activists and votes and II feel will be one of the factors which will lead to his and his party’s defeat at the General Election and may well keep them out of office for a generation, a punishment justly deserved.

    Had we a Labour Government with a Hard Left Leader I would have expected this type of policy but for it to be at the hands of a so-called Conservative one, what was once the party of The Family and Traditional Values, beggars belief. I DO however salute those Conservative MPs, and those of others parties who this evening will vote against this measure and Cameron has no mandate for this policy.

    This is very sad day and rather than it “Standing him in good stead at the next election” I am sure that this amongst other polices will lead to his crashing to defeat and ending up like Heath, a single term PM, to be seen occasionally on TV chat shows as “Yesterday’s Man”.

    Comment by Steve Foley | February 5, 2013 | Reply

  2. Superb posts. regards

    Comment by treadmill | February 5, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks James!

      Comment by Richard Willis | February 5, 2013 | Reply

  3. If you think it’s wrong, don’t have one. Nothing will change for you. Nothing bad will happen at all – if you don’t believe me look at all the countries around the world which have equal marriage and where the sky has not fallen in. Catholic Spain, for example.

    Far from putting me off the party, David Cameron’s stance on this issue is one of the reasons I rejoined the party when he became leader and why I give up so much of my time and money in support of the party. Civil Partnerships were a welcome step in the right direction, but not true equality and I am fed up of being treated like a second class citizen in this respect.

    Comment by Emma Warman | February 5, 2013 | Reply


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