The debate over same-sex marriage
PUBLISHED: 11:47 06 December 2012
PA Wire/Press Association Images
With news that both of Dartford and Gravesham's MPs, Gareth Johnson and Adam Holloway, are likely to vote against gay marriage when the matter is raised in Parliament, The Reporter asked two people for their differing views on the issue.
A date is yet to be set for the vote but more than 100 Conservative MPs have indicated they will oppose it, either via writing to their constituents or by voicing their opinions publicly.
Prime Minister David Cameron is keen to conduct the vote as quickly as possible, with the possibility it could take place as early as January. While it is a free vote – meaning MPs can go against the Prime Minister’s position without facing disciplinary action – some commentators say it could cause the largest split seen within the Conservative Party in recent years.
Gordon Oliver, Rector of Meopham and Nurstead
Christians believe marriage is the freely entered into union before God and their community of one man with one woman for life. Until the Church changes its view we cannot celebrate marriages between gay people in church whatever the personal views of the local vicar. Government can redescribe the terms of marriage, but government doesn’t have the right to redefine marriage. I don’t believe gay marriage is a threat to marriage itself – if anything it reinforces the importance of marriage. I do believe God loves gay people and wants to bless them with gifts of lifelong faithfulness as much as anybody else. I do believe gay couples in civil partnerships should have the same rights as everybody else. I do believe civil partnerships should be available to everybody, not just gay people. The real threats to marriage come when the spouses stop loving each other and start using each other, cheat on each other, refuse to pay the costs of marriage by working hard to keep their vows strong and their relationship fresh, abuse one another instead of growing in trust together. To really work marriage needs to be an ‘eternal triangle’ with God at the top. The closer you get to God the closer you get to each other. This applies to marriage-type partnerships whatever your sexuality.
John Botting, entrepreneur, Rochester
As a gay man in a Civil Partnership I have no passionate feelings either way on gay marriage. My opinion is very simple. It’s just about equality, pure and simple. If the Church wish to alienate themselves even more from the British public that’s their call. I am an atheist so who am I to tell the Church what to do? However, with the State it’s different. The State should not discriminate. Gay marriage should be allowed. Gay people should be able to legally marry in a civic building or a church if it’s a church that is happy to perform the ceremonies. The anti gay marriage brigade say that we already have it in Civil Partnerships. Well that is partly true; however it does not go all the way to marriage. I am not married. I am in a Civil Partnership. Now I am happy in that Civil Partnership, but for many gay people it is not enough. And that is where it is wrong. Just because of the way someone is born it is completely wrong to say they cannot enjoy a married life with the person they love and wish to live with for the rest of their lives. From what I can see most people in this country don’t care about this issue and can’t understand what all the fuss is about. It’s a focal minority of predominately Christian and Muslim people who are against this equality. I don’t tell them how to live their lives; therefore don’t tell me how I lead mine.