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Gay marriage should be supported. It encourages family stability, extends marriage and family values, and could spark a revival in marriage status. The main volume of opposition comes from churches whose official positions on homosexuality do not support the possibility of gay marriage and in some cases even non abstinence based homosexual relationships. The Church of England, which has bishops in the House of Lords, has a mixed history. The Church of England’s Moral Welfare Council’s report on homosexuality was one of the leading influences in the setting up of the Wolfenden commission in 1954, which recommended decriminalising homosexuality. However, the church has opposed many changes to the law which enable gay rights since the Wolfenden report. The Church does not allow civil partnerships to take place on their premises. With the official position of the Church being against gay marriage though, this is perhaps unsurprising.
Different churches’ views on sexual relations differ from one another. For instance, the Catholic Church considers homosexual acts, as opposed to homosexual desires, to be a sin. However, surely one is either homosexual or not; for me, the line ‘love the sinner but hate the sin’ is made redundant. The Church of England, whilst supporting civil partnerships that give homosexual couples equal rights as married heterosexual couples have, has stated that it does not want to conduct homosexual marriages. Alas, despite the Church of England proposing they supported civil partnerships how was it that the majority of their bishops in the House of Lords rejected the legislation? One cannot, however, brand all followers of these churches with the same brush; many devout and faithful followers of the Church of England and the Catholic Church do believe in gay marriage and positively affirm it. The legislation on gay marriage will simply give the religious the freedom to conduct gay marriages if they so wish with groups like the Quakers wanting gay marriage to come into law. This is surely the right thing to do. The churches shall not be forced to conduct gay marriages, offering the choice to those faiths who do wish to conduct gay marriages. This is a matter of religious freedom, the freedom to believe that gay relationships are worth the same as straight relationships, and this legislation shall positively affirm that message.
There is growing support among the public for same-sex marriages. According to the ICM Research poll, as reported in the Guardian, 62% of voters were in support of gay marriage, with only 31% opposed to it. Of course, popular opinion doesn’t determine a conclusive right or wrong position on gay marriage, but the legislation gains more credibility if the majority of the public accept it which from the poll above shows there is good cause to think they do.
For me, there is no good reason why the legislation on gay marriage should be rejected. Churches will be free to reject couples from marrying in their church if they wish, and homosexual couples will have the ability to get married within those faiths that support gay marriage if they wish. It is giving LGBTQ couples the official option to call themselves husbands and wives. Even more people will become happily married, which is the most wonderful thing that can come out of all this fractious debate. In the democratic society that we live in today, if homosexual couples wish to get married, then they should be able to do so.