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Richard Drax column: Same sex marriage so emotive
2:58pm Friday 24th May 2013 in News
A nation, we pride ourselves on tolerance.
But during a controversial and emotive debate in the House over gay marriage this week, there was scant evidence of it being shown to the millions who believe that ‘marriage’ can only be between a man and a woman.
Instead, in what is arguably one of the most intolerant pieces of legislation in years, we have trampled on conscience and faith with abandon. There are no protections for teachers who refuse to promote same sex marriage or for registrars who conscientiously object to conducting gay marriages, or even for those, who, like me, happen to disagree.
And if this does become law, gay couples will be able to choose marriage or civil union, while heterosexual couples can only marry. The Government has no answer to these disparities.
There is no doubt that homosexuality was treated with prejudice in the past.
But times have changed and for the better – and many of us genuinely believed that the introduction of civil partnerships had helped to redress the balance. But now, under the guise of equality for all, more is being demanded, placing at risk religious liberty and freedom of expression.
There’s been no clamour for this legislation, so when this suddenly became Government policy, there was, understandably, surprise and anger. It was not in any party manifesto. It’s been opposed by representatives of all religious faiths.
During consultation, the votes against outnumbered the votes for by 10 to one. Yet, it’s been bulldozed through, as it has elsewhere. In France, despite violent protests, gay marriage is now law.
During the debate, Conservative colleagues talked of the ‘chilling effect’ legislation like this creates. That cold wind, silencing dissent, already blows across our country and it worries me.
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