A classy explanation of why Marriage Equality is good

From the Telegraph comes this classy explanation why marriage equality for gay couples is good, and once again proves that there isn’t a single logical or unemotional reason to oppose it:

The correction of an injustice or an inequity is not always a response to majoritarian opinion: far from it. Indeed, the point of such measures is often precisely to protect minorities, or to ensure that they enjoy equal liberties and opportunities to the majority.

If gay marriage is a just cause, then it is just whether or not most voters think it so. True statesmanship does not wait upon referendal permission. A government enacts civilising measures because they are the right thing to do, not because they are mentioned frequently in focus groups.

Too often, this argument is framed as a contest between a wicked “metropolitan elite”, imposing its faddish and licentious concerns upon the nation, and right-thinking “Middle Britain”, more worried about jobs, crime and pensions. This is an absurd dichotomy. If there is such a thing as the “metropolitan elite”, its members surely fret about the economy, being mugged, and their retirement years as much as anyone else. And if “Middle Britain” exists, it certainly includes gay couples who would like to marry, with amiable neighbours who would celebrate with them if they did.

More to the point, the case for gay marriage is essentially conservative. I am grateful to Ian Ker’s magisterial new biography of G K Chesterton for the following observation by its subject: “All conservatism goes upon the assumption that if you leave a thing alone, you’ll leave a thing as it is. But you do not. If you leave a thing to itself, you are leaving it to wild and violent changes.” The example cited by GKC was the Vale of the White Horse in Berkshire, symbol of ancient England, and constantly in need of repainting.

Chesterton was scarcely a moderniser. But his point applies well to the institution of marriage. In an age of impatience, lives based on tactics not strategy, and instant gratification, matrimony is in dire need of renewal and restoration. Last week, Cardinal O’Brien argued that procreation was the essence of marriage. I beg to differ, and to suggest that the ideal at the core of this dilapidated institution is lifelong commitment and, crucially, a public vow by two people to forge such a shared life.

If marriage is indeed the cornerstone of a stable society, as conservatives plausibly argue, then its extension to same-sex couples will be a stabilising force. Gay couples who marry will not only be exercising a new right; they will be recruited to, and reinforcing, an ancient institution.

This is Cameron’s insight, and it is one of the governing themes of his world-view (helped, it must be said, by the great personal happiness of his own marriage). His desire to introduce a tax allowance for married couples, to take another example, does not reflect a crass belief that a modest weekly sum will act as a bribe. Instead, he sees the tax and benefit system as a huge structure of messages, nudges and winks that bristles with moral judgments and moral messages.

David Cameron is right and the heads of the out-dated Catholic and Anglican Churches are wrong:

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has called the proposals “cultural vandalism”. Yet precisely the opposite is true. The extension of marriage to include gay couples will entrench the idea of the married estate as a social good as well as a private condition. Marriage encourages reliance upon a spouse rather than the state: a wedding is the ritual in which the individual recognises publicly that he or she is not alone, and that, choosing a spouse, promises love to, and accepts lifelong responsibility for, that person.


Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

33%