The Home Office's
12-week consultation on equal civil marriage closes THIS WEEK, on
Thursday 14 June.
The survey is open to all and takes just 15 minutes to
complete online. To have your say, visit the Home Office website,
or click HERE.
You can find a full explanation of the proposed law changes on
Under current law, a marriage in England and Wales can only be
between a man and a woman through a civil ceremony, while same-sex
couples can enter into a civil partnership.
The government proposes to enable same-sex couples the right
to marry through a civil ceremony, as well as straight
The change in law would not force religious organisations to
conduct same-sex marriages if they didn't want to.
Supporters of same-sex marriage might be especially keen to
participate in the survey in question given the increasing momentum
of late of the campaign against same-sex marriage. A petition
spearheaded by the Coalition for Marriage is said to have attracted
more than half a million signatures against the cause.
Meanwhile, Conservative MP and former Defence Secretary Liam
Fox is just one of the high profile individuals to speak out with a
less than favourable view on gay marriage this week, indicative of
a growing mood among certain quarters of the Coalition
"This is a contentious issue but I have to say that I am much
more in favour of social mobility than social engineering," he told
Sky News. "I think that the vast majority of the public have a
completely different set of priorities from what I would call the
metropolitan elite and I think they will be looking for economic
and social issues to be dealt with first."
Former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey has also
contributed his views.
Writing for the Telegraph
, he called the government's
proposal a 'redefinition' and a question of 'ministerial
consequence' that will bring about 'serious unintended consequences
for this country'.
"This consultation was hastily undertaken without the backing
of manifesto commitments by any of the main parties," he writes.
"The Government's fundamental interest in marriage should be
confined to preserving an institution in which the raising of the
next generation of citizens is stable and secure.
"Its interest in other kinds of relationship, though it may
regard them as of equal esteem, has no pressing importance. To
allow the state to interfere in this way in the institution of the
family is to establish a very dangerous precedent."
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell - coordinator of the
Equal Love campaign, which lobbies for the legalisation of both
same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships - was
quick to respond to the various opposing church
"The government's proposals concern only civil marriages in
register offices," he commented in a statement. "They will have no
impact on faith organisations or places of worship. Senior
churchmen are protesting against a law change that will not affect
them. They have no right to demand that gay couples should be
banned from civil marriage ceremonies."
He also points out that 65% of the public are in favour of
same-sex marriage, according to
a recent Populus poll
. The recently released results of a
YouGov poll for Stonewall also indicate that 80% of British adults
under 50 support the proposal. On this, Chief Executive of
Stonewall Ben Summerskill commented: "Recently we've heard senior
clerics distressingly compare marriage for gay people to polygamy,
bestiality and child abuse.
"This polling holes below the waterline the suggestion that
they speak for the majority of Britain's faith communities and
vindicates years of campaigning by Stonewall to change public
On the flip side, a ComRes poll released last week suggests -
as the headline to a related Daily Mail story puts it
'most homosexuals [are] indifferent to David Cameron's drive for
gay marriage: only a quarter would wed if law changes.' Apparently,
only 27% out of 541 lesbian, gay and bisexual recipients said
they'd marry given the offer.
"I would urge the Scottish government not to make promises
they cannot fulfil or offer protection it is not in their power to