I am writing as a constituent to voice my appreciation for your opposition to the ill-considered proposals on marriage which the Government is putting before Parliament without any mandate. I would also like to express the hope that you will be present to vote on the Second Reading tomorrow.
I am deeply concerned about the divisiveness of the proposals and the impact on those upholding the traditional understanding of marriage if the changes become law. Marriage will go from resting on a bedrock of social consensus to being an instrument of social engineering, putting powerful weapons in the hands of those who see it as their mission to forge a new consensus by means not excluding legalised intimidation and coercion. Whatever the Prime Minister claims it is a profoundly unconservative way to govern.
I am wholly unconvinced by the assurances of safeguards for religious groups, both because the Government is promising what, as it must know, it does not have the power to deliver and because they are in any case much too narrowly drawn. We have already seen a marriage registrar and a marriage counsellor hounded out of their jobs for their refusal in conscience to accept civil partnerships as equivalent to marriage, and the attempted demotion of a housing association manager who expressed his views in a context completely separate from his job. It must surely be inevitable that there will be many more such cases once the law has ceased to recognize that there is anything special whatsoever about the lifelong relationship between a man and a woman.
As I trust you will agree, the exclusion from marriage that the Government ought to be tackling as a matter of urgency is that suffered by the one in two teenagers who do not live with both of their parents. Turning couples who by the nature of their relationship cannot have children into stakeholders in marriage is simply a step in the wrong direction.
I am sure you have heard from many constituents expressing similar views. Thank you again for listening.
With my best wishes,