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Marriage is one of the most important institutions in our society, it concerns many of us that it is in decline. Yet while many move away from marriage, one group turns towards it.

Gay couples are now asking to be admitted, so here we have a section of society who are saying they want to declare commitment, they value stability in the sight of the public and perhaps of God. We, the defenders of marriage, should be gratefully opening the doors, yet the reaction of some has been to slam the doors shut ..

If marriage hadn’t been re-defined in 1836, there wouldn’t be any civil marriages; if it hadn’t been re-defined in 1949, under 16-year-olds would still be able to get married; if it hadn’t been re-defined in 1969; we wouldn’t have today’s divorce laws - and all of these changes were opposed.

Nick Herbert (Con) MP for Arundel and South Downs on the the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2013 2nd Reading

Filed under marriage gay marriage marriage equality UK politics

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As people live longer, the family commitments involved in marriage are much wider than bringing up children.

Most MPs will know the sadness but also the inspriration they have drawn from visiting a married couple where for example the wife is now struggling to cope, struggling to remember the world around her and struggling to recognise even the husband she has shared decades of her life with. Yet he carries on. Cooking for her, washing her, getting her up, putting her to bed, talking to her even as she becomes a stranger in front of him. That is marriage.

But I also visited a gay man who died some years ago, after a long illness in which he was cared for every day – at home, in hospital and eventually in a hospice - by his long term gay partner. I don’t see why that can’t be marriage too.

The idea that the biology of procreation should deny same sex couples the respect that comes with marriage, is to ignore the full richness, the happiness but also the tragedies of modern family life For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health That is marriage …

The truth is that gay and lesbian couples have been locked out of too much for too long. People locked up, or punished for loving someone of the same sex until the 1960s. Gay men told by the Home Secretary in the fifties they were a “plague” on this country. Lesbian women forced to hide their relationships Teenagers bullied at school with no protection. Teachers until the early nineties unable to tell the child of a same sex couple that their family was OK for fear it would break Section 28 So much has changed – and in a short time too …

When civil partnerships were introduced, most of the Bishops in the Lords voted against. Yet now Anglicans from such widely different traditions as the former Bishop of Oxford Richard Harries and the evangelical preacher Steve Chalke support blessings for same sex partnerships. Soldiers and sailors now wear their uniforms in Gay Pride parades.

We’ve come a long way. And with each step forward the sky hasn’t fallen in, family life hasn’t fallen apart, the predictions passionate opponents made at the time simply haven’t come true. And those opponents in the most part, have changed their minds and moved on. I hope the same will be true again. I hope the opponents today will look back in ten years and won’t be able to remember what the fuss was about.

Extract from Yvette Cooper (Lab), MP for Pontefract and Castleford and Shadow Home Secretary and Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, speech on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2013 2nd Reading

Filed under marriage equality gay marriage lgbt LGBTQ marriage uk UK politics Politics

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We have far more than 87,000 rapes in this country every year, but each of them is invariably portrayed as an isolated incident. We have dots so close they’re splatters melting into a stain, but hardly anyone connects them, or names that stain. In India they did. They said that this is a civil rights issue, it’s a human rights issue, it’s everyone’s problem, it’s not isolated, and it’s never going to be acceptable again. It has to change. It’s your job to change it, and mine, and ours.
Rebecca Solnit, A Rape a Minute, A Thousand Corpses a Year (via thenationmagazine)

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unlockdemocracy:

Confused where all the parties stand in the EU debate? We were too so we produced this table. Interesting to note that with Labour now committed to keeping the European Referendum Act, in fact all parties are committed to a referendum in the event of a major EU treaty being signed - the key difference is actually whether they’ll push for one or not.Hope you find this useful. If you have any questions we’ll try to clear them up in the comments below.(Note that as the parties go on to further clarify or tweak their responses, this table is subject to change).
UPDATE: As has been pointed out to us, the Conservatives have indicated they would review their position on whether to stay in or out of the EU if their renegotiation of the EU treaties proved to be unsuccessful.

unlockdemocracy:

Confused where all the parties stand in the EU debate? We were too so we produced this table. Interesting to note that with Labour now committed to keeping the European Referendum Act, in fact all parties are committed to a referendum in the event of a major EU treaty being signed - the key difference is actually whether they’ll push for one or not.

Hope you find this useful. If you have any questions we’ll try to clear them up in the comments below.

(Note that as the parties go on to further clarify or tweak their responses, this table is subject to change).

UPDATE: As has been pointed out to us, the Conservatives have indicated they would review their position on whether to stay in or out of the EU if their renegotiation of the EU treaties proved to be unsuccessful.

Filed under eu brexit referendum uk politics