20 February 2012
Coalition for Marriage
A group of faith-based and secular groups has launched the Coalition for Marriage (C4M).
Launched on 20 February, C4M opposes attempts by the government to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.
The coalition launched on the same day that a ComRes survey revealed 51 per cent of people agree that "no-one has the right to define marriage for the rest of us", given that same-sex couples can already secure all the legal rights of marriage by entering into civil partnerships.
The poll of 1,002 people conducted in England between 6-8 January found 86 per cent of people support the proposition that it is "possible to be tolerant of the rights of others and protective of traditional marriage at the same time".
Results of the survey backed up the findings of the 2008 British Social Attitudes Survey which found 63 per cent of the public oppose same-sex marriage when respondents were told about the existence of civil partnerships.
Ahead of plans to consult on the introduction of same-sex marriage being unveiled by equalities minister Lynne Featherstone next month, C4M brings together prominent church leaders and pro-family organisations.
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey joins politicians and members of the public who have joined the coalition, which will tell the Government to leave traditional marriage alone and warn that changes to this tried and tested institution are not supported by a majority of people in the UK, could be costly and will require rewriting 800 years of legislation.
Lord Carey said: "The British public hold marriage in great affection. Most of our young people aspire to be married.
"I believe the general public will oppose the present attempt fundamentally to alter marriage. This is not because we oppose protections and benefits to gay couples, but because we simply don't accept the mantra of the equalities industry that being equal means being the same.
"Civil partnerships were brought in to give same-sex couples the rights that they argued were badly needed. These rights were virtually identical to those of married couples. Yet at the time I remember listening to government reassurances in the House of Lords that civil partnerships would have no effect on marriage. Marriage, we were told, would remain distinct because it is a relationship between a man and a woman.
"Now the Government - egged on by pressure groups and image advisors, but not the general public - is pressing ahead with plans to rewrite the legal definition of marriage.
"This is in spite of the fact that, for thousands of years, it has meant one man committing himself to one woman in the hope of raising children in a stable and loving environment.
"Under the government's plans, marriage is set to become all about the human rights of adults. The traditional meaning of marriage, which David Cameron rejects, is about the mutual good of both adults and their children. The best interests of children will, I predict, get lost in a cacophony of noise about 'equality' and 'human rights'.
The campaign will also urge the government to hold a meaningful consultation on this issue, as none of the major parties included redefining marriage in their main manifestos. The coalition argues that bulldozing through this fundamental change with little, or no public or parliamentary debate, is profoundly undemocratic.
Colin Hart, campaign director of C4M, said this proposed upheaval is being driven by the forces of political correctness and a handful of single-issue pressure groups. He said: "Marriage has an important role to play in our society, it is part of our common heritage, and part of our history. It is bigger than any of us. The word 'marriage' appears 3,258 times in UK legislation. It is woven into the fabric of our national laws. That can't be just unpicked in a single stroke."
The coalition will be taking several initiatives, but as a first step they have launched a petition which states: "I support the legal definition of marriage which is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. I oppose any attempt to redefine it."
The Evangelical Alliance urges you to show your support for marriage by signing the petition. You can add your name online at c4m.org.uk. Petition sheets can also be downloaded from the website, which contains more information about the coalition.