Monday, 1 April 2013

Have those opposing the same-sex marriage bill actually read it?

I've not tried to hide my deep disappointment with the Government's same-sex marriage bill. Having read it, it is quite clearly not the marriage equality I, among others, had been hoping for. Don't get me wrong, this would be a great leap forward. But it'd certainly leave me unsatisfied.

You'd think that once the bill was published our opponents would have breathed a sigh of relief. This bill would, if passed, see the creation of a new concept that we can call "gay marriage" (the same approach the South Africans have taken). It would not "redefine" marriage. It'll be a separate institution.

But alas. As Lord Carey made clear in his article over the weekend, some who oppose marriage equality haven't even realised this bill is significantly different to that proposed in the Coalition's consultation document (Lord Carey still thinks the Government is trying to create a separation of "religious" and "civil" marriage, which is what was proposed originally, but that is no longer the case). Instead of grasping this compromise and laughing all the way to the wedding chapel, they are hell bent on defeating the bill in the House of Lords.

It would please me to see the Government's bill passed. But it might actually please me more to see it defeated. Why? I hear you cry...

1) Defeating the bill in the House of Lords will definitely give the pro-equality side a great cause to rally around. We'd become the "injured party" (something the anti-equality side have been desperate to show themselves as) and a new "narrative" could be weaved. And it might cause just an itsy bit more resentment towards the House of Lords which would please this reform supporter greatly.

2) It would give us a chance, regrettably delayed I know, in the next Parliament for a better marriage equality bill to be created and fix all those annoying problems a great many of us have with the current bill.

As I see it the anti-equality folk are now in a lose/lose situation. But they have a chance to put this issue to bed and come out of it with a small victory. Because the next version of this bill would be far less careful to avoid rocking the boat.

I'm not hoping that the bill gets defeated in the Lords. I'm hoping it gets amended. But if it does get defeated I'm pretty confident that it'll only be to our benefit, and not the other sides.

Remember to get lobbying those Lords!!

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