Gay Marriage, A Step Forward

Gay Marriage, A Step Forward?I managed to listen to some of the Parliamentary debate regarding the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill from the House of Commons this afternoon. The arguments, both for and against, were generally quite eloquently put, but like oil and water, the two sides find it very difficult to come together in a peaceful understanding.

It is interesting to hear that some people arguing for the Bill accuse those arguing against the Bill of being bigots, homophobes and prejudiced. I think they should be careful, lest they become bigoted or prejudiced themselves. Whilst all parties will not agree, all parties have the right to express their views without being branded prejudiced bigots for so doing.

With regard to the argument itself, I can see no rational reason why two men or two women may not be joined in marriage. I understand, and have some sympathy for, the objections on the grounds of marriage being an institution for the procreation and education of children.

On those grounds, marriages without children, whether by intention or due to other reasons, could be deemed to be less valid on those with children. This, I believe, is a ridiculous way to ‘measure’ relationships. We all know that there are as many happy marriages with no children, as are there unhappy marriages with children.

As a Buddhist, I believe in inclusion, be that of race, colour or creed, religious belief, sexual orientation or indeed every other facet of human life. Naturally, I do not agree with all the beliefs of others, but I do strive to understand their viewpoint and would fight for their right to hold and express those beliefs.

If the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill is passed, the UK will not suddenly fall into a state of Sodom and Gomorra, nor, should the Bill fail, will we find ourselves in a country of new-found homophobia. However, much of the world is watching the process carefully, wondering whether the country which shouts so loudly about the equality it upholds, will be brave enough to let equality be the greater prize in the fight of progress against traditional views.

I hope that the Bill is passed, that it puts another nail in the coffin of Prejudices of All Natures. I think all people should be deemed, and treated, as equal. The Bill needs to be debated at length and fully in all aspects and I have fears the it will not have been given the time required. A rushed Bill is a poor Bill, and surely we already have enough of those.

Whilst the members of the House of Commons are elected to represent the views of the electorate, I also fear that personal views will take the upper hand. I also wonder how many of the members will have the courage to vote against the most vocal elements of their constituents. I hope that common sense will prevail, that courage comes to the fore, and that the Bill is given a second reading with a resounding majority.

Late breaking news, the Commons voted for the Bill by 400 to 175, a majority of 225 votes.

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