A couple of days ago, there was a massive discussion in the UK House of Commons in regards to changes to the Equality Act and extending marriage to include Same Sex couples.
However watching the video on the BBC News website, it astounds me how many of the people elected to parliament are so closed minded and have their views set in the stone ages.
Initially as I listened to the Minister of Women and Equalities, Maria Miller, outline the changes to marriage and the ‘quadruple locks’ that were going to be put into place to protect religious institutions, I started to get angry. Mostly because the plans were more about protecting the churches and their views than about ensuring everyone has the same marriage right, regardless of their sexuality.
In fact, there was a stipulation put in that it would be ‘illegal for the Church of England and Church in Wales to offer same-sex marriage’. But any other religious organisations who wished to ‘opt in’ to offer same-sex ceremonies could do so.
I understand what they’re trying to achieve with this. They want to assure religious organisations who do not wish to carry out same-sex marriages cannot be forced to do so. Which is fine.. except what this is telling me is that regardless of how involved in your religious organisation you are, if you’re marrying someone of the same sex and that same organisation chooses to ‘opt out’, you won’t be able to get married in your church with your community around you.
Personally, if I ever get married, it sure as hell won’t be in a church or have any kind of religious connotations. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m by far the least religious person around, and don’t hold to any particular faith. I believe to each their own when it comes to religion.. as long as you don’t try to force it down my throat or convert me in any way.
I’ve know many deeply religious people who are very open minded and treat each other as people, not on a label based on sexuality. And who don’t oppose same-sex couples being allowed to married, regardless of what their individual faith says on the matter.
Then as I listened to the other ministers argue some minute points and archaic beliefs in regards to marriage, I started to understand why all those stipulations and religious safeguards had to be put into these changes. There are still some very closed-minded people around, if the opinions voiced in the House of Commons are truly reflective of their respective constituents, and these people still need to be pandered to in order for this to even get a chance to go ahead.
I still find it absolutely jaw-dropping as we quickly move towards 2013 that there are still people out there who are trying to maintain societal norms from about 50 some-odd years ago. These people need to realise that life and things like marriage evolve over time.. and like Ms Miller stated in her outline, marriage has evolved over the last 50 years, and it’s time for it to continue evolving with the current times.
Marriage is supposed to be about one thing one – LOVE. Let’s hope at some point the government will allow it to be about just that, and keep the churches out of it.