Thursday, 21 June 2012

What does ‘equal marriage’ really mean?

Ever since David Cameron said ‘I support gay marriage because I'm a Conservative’, (formerly?) conservative publications have been rushing to agree with him. An editorial in The Times back in March described the resistance to any redefinition of marriage, by orthodox Christians, as ‘a demeaning, unconscionable and ultimately futile defence of injustice’. Meanwhile, writing in The Spectator (The Spectator!), Douglas Murray had this to say:

Then there is the slippery-slope argument. Tory MP Edward Leigh worries that if gays are allowed to marry, ‘There is no logical reason why the new alternative institution should be limited to two people. Why not three?’ he asks. ‘Or 33?’ All of which tells us more about his imagination than his logic.

People who lack Edward Leigh’s ‘imagination’ should have a look at the website of the campaign for ‘Full Marriage Equality’, which is

Advocating for the right of consenting adults to share and enjoy love, sex, residence, and marriage without limits on the gender, number, or relation of participants. [emphasis added]

claiming that

Full marriage equality is a basic human right.


The global definition of marriage should be as follows: "The uniting of consenting individuals in a witnessed ceremony."

The campaign website has a helpful section dealing with ‘discredited, invalid arguments’ against affording polyamorous or ‘consanguineous’ (incestuous) relationships the legal status of a marriage.  If you think that it would be OK to make marriage gender-neutral, but not to go as far as this group is asking, then you can try your arguments over there.  (You can also try out your arguments for not redefining marriage at all).  Quoth the campaign:

7. “What’s next?” “Where do we draw the line?” Freedom for consenting adults. Who has a problem with that?

So clearly, it is Murray’s logic that is at fault, not Leigh’s.

The Facebook group supporting this campaign has 204 members as of the time of this post.  That’s not a lot, but it isn’t zero either.