Dear Changing Attitude friend or supporter,
The Equal Marriage Bill receives its second reading in the House of Commons next Tuesday, 5th February. The debate begins about 14.00 and the vote will take place at about 19.00.
An email to your MP encouraging them to speak and vote in favour of the bill will help to demonstrate support for Equal Marriage from Christians. They will be receiving plenty of anti-same-sex marriage emails so it’s important for us to show the breadth of Anglican opinion.
We offer the following points you might like to make in your email. Choose those which are important to you and rephrase them in your own way:
• You are a member of the Church of England or another Christian body;
• The name of the organisation you belong to. If appropriate say that it is affiliated to the LGB&T Anglican Coalition;
• You support same-sex marriage and welcome the government equal marriage bill;
• This is a matter of equality. In 2013 it is unacceptable that people should be discriminated against on the grounds of sexual orientation. Lesbian and gay couples have just as much right as straight couples to have their relationships recognized socially and legally as marriages;
• Social approval of same-sex partnerships and civil partnerships has transformed the status of lesbian and gay couples in the UK, including those who are Christians and members of the Church of England;
• Many lesbian and gay couples in the Church of England, lay and ordained, support equal marriage, have already contracted civil partnerships and wish to convert to marriage or are waiting to marry when the bill is passed;
• From your own parish and/or pastoral experience you believe the majority of members of the Church of England support equal marriage;
• The Church of England’s official submission to the consultation on equal marriage does not reflect your own views, nor the views of many others within the Church of England who are in favour of equal marriage in church;
• The Church of England and the Church in Wales should be as free to opt in to the provisions of this legislation as any other religious body;
• All LGB&T people, Anglicans included, are members of families and many wish to create their own families through adoption or surrogate parenting. Equal marriage is about family values;
• Additional legal exemptions might inhibit the Church of England from opting in, which would compromise our own religious freedom, and the religious freedom of others in the Church of England who are in favour of equal marriage;
• Transgender Anglicans welcome the change which means married transgender people who apply for full gender recognition will no longer have to dissolve their marriages;
• No religious body or individual should be compelled to act against conscience;
• While a minority of LGB&T people think that the term ‘marriage’ has negative cultural overtones of patriarchy and female submission, it is also the case that many who would not want themselves to enter the institution of marriage would not wish to deny others the opportunity to do so;
• If you have had any personal experiences which are relevant, these can be really powerful, and make your email much more personal;
• If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland, ask your MP to vote in favour because some of their constituents may wish to get married in England and Wales.
You can find the email address of your MP here: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
Your email, however brief, will make a real difference. It’s enough to say you support equal marriage and ask your MP to vote yes.
As always, we really appreciate your support.
Revd Colin Coward,
Director of Changing Attitude