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On 21 May 2013, Parliament again voted on the government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. The vote was 366 to 161. Although saddening and damaging to the reputation of Parliament, this result was no surprise as the bill has the support of all three main parties in the House of Commons. It is good to note that substantial opposition to it has been maintained.
The number of MPs both supporting and opposing the bill dropped slightly, compared to the second reading vote in February (400 to 175).
Please check how your MP voted and thank those who opposed the bill. If your MP voted for bill (i.e. “X” on the listing), you might point out that the bill negates the main reason for having laws in support marriage – for the benefit and welfare of children. It was a vote of ‘no confidence’ by MPs in real marriage – the foundation for stable family life and the safe, happy upbringing of children.
Some MPs suggested that by copying other countries that have redefined marriage recently, they are on the cutting edge of progress. In fact these other countries are, like Britain, suffering the effects of weakening marriage. (Read SPUC’s "What Happens To Marriage And Families Where The Law Recognises “Same Sex Marriage”?" by Dr Patricia Morgan.)
Next stage of the campaign
The bill now goes to the House of Lords where it faces concerted opposition, and there is no guarantee that the government will be able to force it through, despite the government’s strength in the Lords.
Already, peers have expressed very strong reservations about the bill. We need to mount a strong campaign. The bill has no public mandate, and this means that peers cannot be asked to accept “the will of the electorate,” and let the government get its bill through. Please contact email@example.com to find out what you can do.
Key arguments against the Bill:
1) This Bill will damage marriage – leading to fewer people committing to the lifelong exclusive union that is best for building families and protecting children. (For evidence, see SPUC’s submission to the House of Commons bill committee.)
2) The government has no mandate to redefine marriage. Marriage is not a “state-owned” institution – it is part of everyone’s cultural heritage.
3) The government has no mandate to change the law relating to marriage. This was not in the manifesto. It is David Cameron’s pet project – and yet just 3 days before the 2010 general election he personally denied that he planned to do this.
4) The bill will cause discrimination against people who support authentic, man-woman marriage – such as Registrars, who will be forced to conduct “same-sex marriages” or resign.
5) By denying that having children is a key reason for marriage, the bill discourages young couples hoping to start a family from marrying (again, see SPUC’s evidence). The bill will jeopardise the lives, health and happiness of many, many children.
There are more details of these, and many other arguments for real marriage in the following documents:
SPUC Scotland’s briefing notes for lobbying and writing to your MSP, for those in Scotland.
SPUC’s position paper on same-sex marriage – explaining why SPUC campaigns for real marriage, and a background paper to be read in conjunction with the position paper and which provides some additional references and reflections.
Other useful SPUC documents:
This post on SPUC’s youth blog gives a succinct statement defending marriage, and links to other useful blogposts.
Many other groups are fighting to defend marriage too. We are working with Anglican Mainstream, Catholic Church leaders in England and Wales, Family and Youth Concern, and the umbrella groups Coalition for Marriage (C4M). You can support the national petition from C4M here.
Join us in fighting for our future and our children’s future.
For further information about the bill, please call SPUC 020 7091 7091, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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You do not need to be registered to vote to contact your Member of Parliament (MP), who represents everyone in his/her constituency. Find out which constituency you are in, who your MP is and how to contact your MP. It is not usually worthwhile to write to any other MP than your own. Please write messages in your own words, and keep them brief and courteous.
You can write to Peers (members of the House of Lords) at: House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW (or by email below, where further guidance regarding writing to Peers can also be found).
Please remember always to forward any replies you receive from parliamentarians to SPUC's political department
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