10 December 2012
Let the people decide about changing marriage
David Cameron's public u-turn over church protections in relation to ‘gay marriage’ comes ahead of Tuesday's government response to the sham consultation.
In a complete reversal of previous clear statements that the proposed gay ceremonies would only take place in civil settings, the prime minister has said that he now wants to extend gay marriage ceremonies to the small number of liberal religious groups that say they would hold them. It is broadly acknowledged that the government’s assurances about legal protections for religious groups are in fact illusory. Consequently, the u-turn makes it far more likely that mainstream religions will be subject to manifold legal challenges if they dissent from a new social orthodoxy. Indeed, no protections at all have been offered for individual Christians and the wider public.
Importantly, the political game being played with marriage shows how disenfranchised people are from government in the UK. Despite a significant amount of public opinion against the redefining of marriage, despite the government not having any mandate for making the change, and despite growing unrest in the Conservative Party and the very real prospect of them losing many key seats at the next general election – despite all of this, the prime minister seems determined to press on with his neo-liberal agenda.
It is widely predicted that the response by the public to the consultation was overwhelmingly opposed to government proposals to redefine marriage. It is also expected that the government will spin the results in an attempt to avoid embarrassment.
Evangelical Alliance director of advocacy Dr David Landrum said: "From the very outset, this proposal has been characterised far more by politics than by principles. In his personal quest to ingratiate himself with metropolitan liberal elites and to emulate Tony Blair, the prime minister is losing the trust of many people across the country.
“Changing the definition of marriage is probably one the most significant decisions that a society can make. Although the sky won’t fall in if the law changes, there will most certainly be a new legal culture imposed that over time will have profound and incalculable consequences for family life and social relations in the UK. In light of the momentous nature of what is being proposed for our social constitution, it is not unreasonable to demand a national referendum. The people deserve to have their say on this issue.”
Over the weekend the Evangelical Alliance took part in 16 radio interviews responding to the government’s plans, including Radio 4, 5live, Premier Radio and over a dozen local BBC stations. Listen to Dr David Landrum speak on Radio 4’s Sunday programme (34 minutes in). A variety of resources are available on our website to help you find out more about the government’s plans and the impact they will have.