Don't change marriage
The Alliance joins key Christian organisations in the Coalition for Marriage to protect the institution amid government plans to redefine its meaning.
The Alliance is pressing the government to drop controversial plans to redefine marriage. Following announcements last autumn the government are now preparing a public consultation on David Cameron’s proposal to fundamentally redefine marriage by opening it up to gay and lesbian couples.
The government intends to consult on whether or how to introduce same-sex marriage (we do not yet know which), and has suggested that there is a distinction between civil marriage which they plan on changing, and religious marriage which they say they won’t. The Alliance, along with virtually every other Christian group, rejects such a distinction as unrealistic, seeing the proposals as an assault on the institution of marriage.
In response, the Evangelical Alliance has joined with other key organisations to form the Coalition for Marriage. Together we will be promoting a continued vision for marriage that has consistently served society well. Marriage is between a man and a woman, and shouldn’t be a political tool at the behest of a few, or be subject to the principles of consumerism. It is a distinctive and vital building block for society as a whole.
The consultation, expected in March, will propose that same-sex couples should be allowed to get married. Almost certainly there will also be proposals that churches should be able to host same-sex ‘weddings’. Following the consultation it is likely that the plans will begin their passage through the various stages of parliamentary approval, a complex process that could take years. As such, the campaign will need to be a marathon rather than a sprint.
It is important to note that the proposals are not about rights or correction of injustices for same-sex couples. There are already provisions within the law for civil partnerships. The government’s proposals represent the outworking of a rights-based consumer vision of society that is determined to get whatever it wants without consideration of the consequences for generations ahead: it is meddling with marriage for political reasons.
The changes proposed amount to a meddling with marriage for political reasons.
The Coalition for Marriage strongly opposes the redefinition of marriage on the basis that, while same-sex couples may choose to have a civil partnership, no one has the right to redefine marriage for the rest of us. Public opinion supports this view and we call on Christians and people everywhere to stimulate a public debate and mobilise popular opposition to prevent this unwelcome proposal becoming reality.
Don Horrocks, head of public affairs for the Evangelical Alliance, said: “We must be prepared for the long haul on this landmark issue. Many people are already speaking of the futility of opposition, but we are confident that with strong popular support we can win the campaign to protect marriage. Marriage is much more than a legal commitment but it is being steadily reduced and weakened by proposals such as this. If these proposals go through the consequences for society will be huge. The Church has always been at the forefront of promoting the positive benefits of marriage between one man and one woman and together with society as a whole Christians everywhere should be ready to stand up for marriage.”
We accept that life doesn’t always work out the way we hope it should, but that doesn’t mean we should not aspire to ideals, and over 80 per cent of men and women aspire to marriage. Evidence shows that children do best when they are brought up in a stable family environment by the married mother and father who conceived them. Of course, there are situations where marriages break down, where death and divorce prevent fulfilment of this ideal, but it’s not something we should give up on.
We urgently need your support. For more information on how you can get involved and how you and your church can help protect and promote marriage, visit our website.