Gareth Johnson visit
On Friday 25th January Gareth Johnson MP came to the Mick Jagger Centre to speak to the churches in Dartford about the governments proposals for the redefinition of marriage which would allow same sex couples to marry. The evening was well supported by representatives from several local churches and people had the opportunity to voice their concerns to Gareth Johnson.
Gareth made his position clear on this issue clear and the following is the gist of what he said at the meeting is also on his own web site and can be read here.
“Gay marriage is an issue that provokes strong feelings in many people. I have received a large amount of correspondence on the issue since the prospect of it being legalised was raised. This week the government set out its plans on the issue and has paved the way for a vote in the New Year. If the proposals are carried then gay marriage will become legal.
Marriage is an imperfect institution but one that has stood the test of time for thousands of years. I am a strong supporter of civil partnerships as it is right that gay couples should be able to have all the legal protections that straight couples have but I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman.
The great danger in this debate is that those who oppose gay marriage are accused somehow of being homophobic when that is not the case. We mustn’t allow this mechanism to shut down the debate in the way that some have tried to close the debate over immigration by using the race card. Not one of the major political parties included gay marriage in their manifestos so this lack of a mandate for the issue makes it even more important that there is a full debate.
The proposals, if agreed, would result in civil partnerships and marriage being available for gay people but marriage alone for straight people. Therefore this is not about creating equality, it will in fact create more disparity.
A large consultation has taken place over this issue with hundreds of thousands of responses. The consultation specifically ruled out gay marriages taking place in religious buildings yet now we are informed that this will happen. It’s not surprising that many fear churches will ultimately be forced to allow gay marriage.
For me this issue is not about holding back any section of the community it is about recognising that the definition of marriage should not change.”