Same-sex marriage bill is divisive, says Calder Valley MP

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This week in his Talking Politics column for the Halifax Courier, Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker makes clear his views on the hot topic of the same-sex marriage bill. Here is an excerpt from his piece.

Throughout all the debate and controversy surrounding the same-sex marriage proposals, recognition of the purpose and values of marriage has been assumed rather than discussed. No real debate has taken place on the nature of marriage itself.

Craig Whittaker MP

Craig Whittaker MP

Traditional marriage is under threat and has been for so many years. The steady erosion of marriage over the last few decades is a grave social and economic ill. Surely with around 50 per cent of children in our society being born out of wedlock, shouldn’t the state be looking at ways to strengthen the institution of marriage for the sake of children rather than erode the true purpose of marriage even further?

Traditional marriage is based on many things but the main basic purpose of marriage is about children and the nurturing of children as set out in current laws.

Of course that doesn’t mean to say that children brought up in other models don’t prosper, of course they do. I am not so naive that I don’t recognise that the institution of marriage has many variations and many within traditional marriage cannot have children for a variety of reasons.

No matter how wonderful we are or how hard we try as parents, however, there is no substitute for the traditional family unit. I know this from being a single dad for many years and I can tell you that I tried my absolute best, as most parents do from whatever diverse family unit they are involved with, but I know that as hard as I tried, I was never a substitute for a mother in their lives.

Currently if a same-sex couple have a civil partnership they will generally find their local vicar open to give them a blessing in church if they so want. An unintended consequence of this bill is that this will no longer be available because the Church doesn’t recognise same-sex marriage and this Bill precludes them from doing so.

Rather than erode the traditional meaning of marriage for the majority, there is a simple solution to this Bill, which as it currently stands is incredibly divisive rather than being inclusive.

Why doesn’t the Government have a serious look at opening up civil partnerships to heterosexual couples or civil marriage to same-sex couples and simply change the name to something like ‘Civil Marriage or State Marriage’ or whatever we chose to call it?

That way those who want marriage so they can be called married, get their way.

That way those who want to maintain traditional marriage for its true intended purpose can keep it.

Those who do not want a traditional option of marriage can have marriage under a civil partnership or civil marriage where they currently cannot. And those who believe the Church should decide on who they want to marry can allow them to do so – let the churches themselves decide not the state and in a fashion where they do not fear reprisals for doing so.

Read Craig Whittaker’s column in full in this week’s Halifax Courier.