Friday, March 16, 2012

Government's consultation on same-sex marriage 'a sham'

The UK Government's official consultation on redefining marriage in order to allow same-sex couples to marry was launched this week.

The consultation will be open for 13 weeks until June 14. You can find details here.

The Government has now included in the consultation a question asking people if they agree or disagree with rewriting the definition of marriage - but the Government still makes clear that its response "will be based on a careful consideration of the points made in consultation, not the number of responses received" and that it is a matter of how not whether the change will take place.

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone gave a "cast-iron guarantee" to the Independent that civil same-sex marriage will become law by the next General Election. "There is no rolling back whatsoever," she said. "The essential question is not whether we are going to introduce same-sex civil marriage, but how."

(If the change is introduced, same-sex couples will be able to choose between a civil partnership and marriage; a man and a woman will be able to choose marriage only. So much for equality.)

Said Colin Hart, campaign director for the Coalition for Marriage, which wants to see the definition of marriage unchanged: "I always thought that a consultation was about listening to people and asking them their views, before making a decision.

"Not only are they redefining the meaning of marriage, they're redefining the meaning of consultation.

"This consultation is a sham. It is being pushed through despite the public never having a say on this change.

"None of the main political parties proposed redefining marriage in their manifestos and the impact assessment misses out many of the possible problems that could occur if this institution is redefined, for example how this change will affect our schools.

"The institution of marriage is not a plaything of the state, it belongs to society and therefore cannot be redefined by a few politicians obsessed with appearing 'trendy' and 'progressive.'"

The Coalition for Marriage's petition asking for the definition of marriage to remain unchanged, launched three weeks ago, has so far attracted 231,000 signatures.