Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Is Redefining the Meaning of Marriage Popular amongst Tories?

I am opposed to redefining the meaning of the word 'marriage'. I'm disappointed that the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Chancellor are supporting the change with such enthusiasm. When my whip discussed this matter with me soon after I was elected an MP, I advised that I wouldn't vote for it. I will vote against it, even if its a 'whipped' vote (which it probably won't be). This is the second time I have stated this opinion publicly. And its only because BBC News Channel's Chris Eakin put me 'on the spot' in last night's paper review (which was the first time). The Chancellor, for some reason, went big on it for today's papers and I couldn't avoid the issue. The reason I've not chosen to speak on the matter is that I will be accused of being homophobic - which is just not true. If this proposal was going to confer some new right upon gay people I would probably support it. But it doesn't. It just redefines a word which has great meaning for hundreds of thousands of good people across Britain - for no real purpose, other than to convey some ill-defined 'message'. Anyway, I had to say this on national TV last night, so I'm repeating it in a considered way. And hope that I don't have to discuss it again.

But this post is not about the rights and wrongs of redefinition of the meaning of marriage. In the end that will be decided on a majority vote, (which I fully expect to approve the change). Sadly, I will just have to accept it. What this post is about is whether this proposal will benefit the Conservative Party at the polls. The leaders of my party think it will boost our popularity. I don't. So today's spat about comments from ComRes's CEO, Andrew Hawkins about a letter sent by the Prime Minister to my old boss, Cheryl Gillan is particularly interesting. Its also an unusually direct criticism of the PM, accusing him of misleading voters. He says that the letter to Cheryl Gillan used statistics to show that refining the meaning of marriage would make the Conservative Party more popular. However, Andrew Hawkins insists that his polling shows that the Conservative Party loses more votes than it gains, and former Conservative voters are especially less likely to return. Andrew Hawkins also refers to a general detrimental impact on the Party's fortunes. He describes the PM's claims that all polls show more votes support the change in the law than oppose to be simply not the case. I am looking forward to reading reports in tomorrow's papers, challenging these statements. Whatever, I need to have a chat with my old boss about this next week!

Must add that I'm certainly not suggesting that the Government I support should back off doing something because its not popular. Clearly David Cameron, Nick Clegg and George Osborne think redefining the meaning of marriage is absolutely the right thing to do. Perhaps where they all live and in the circles they inhabit there are many who agree. Its just that I don't. And I would be genuinely surprised if a majority of Conservatives where I live do either.


Anonymous said...

"of good people across Britain" So no good gay people in Britain then? say's it all really, thanks :(

Anonymous said...

You will probably not publish this comment bur...Being gay is not just about sex, and it's true the change to the law allowing partnerships has resolved the issues of 'rights'. There is something that has not been addressed, and it's about identity and acceptance. Marriage is afforded to heterosexuals only, and when you say it's just a 'name' you miss the point. It's about people being equal and recognised by the state as such. As you know the debate in Scotland is also taking place and the opponents of gay marriage do so on perfectly understandable arguments of religion. Your argument, however, against appears not to be based on religion, but on a secular argument that to afford marriage to homosexuals as recognised by the state is merely a name change. Technically, you are right. But the point is that 'name change' removes a different description on a section of the community. Would you support the state officially having a different 'name' for other sections of our community? Perhaps you could have 'naturalised citizen' as a state description for immigrants, they already have the same 'rights'. I fail to see why the state should have a separate category as a description of those who are married in all but name. Obviously, as your topic headline suggests, you concern yourself with the view of fellow Conservatives. You are a Tory, Glyn, but as an MP you represent ALL the community in Montgomeryshire and that includes some of you constituents who do not want the state to impose a different 'name' on those who want their lives to be recognised as equal status as any other section of the community you represent in parliament. I follow your blog, and may disagree with some if your views, only to be expected. But I find your views on this topic gives me a deeper insight into you as a person. I'm saddened and disappointed.

Anonymous said...

I'm from another constituency, so it probably isn't important to you, but I do strongly object to the following sentence in your blog:
"...It just redefines a word which has great meaning for hundreds of thousands of good people across Britain..."
Almost implying that no matter how much they contribute to this country through their time and taxes, some British citizens are, due to their being homosexual, not at all considered to be "good people".

NBTafelberg said...

I understand what you are saying but surely Henry the 8th redefined the meaning of Marriage when he got a divorce, Christian marriage as we know it came from the council of trent in the 1500's.

You can't say that Marriage is a God given thing as God never gave us a marriage service, or instructions for marriage, he was more interested in festivals with tents!

Incidentally the Council of Trent also said that you could only have sex once a week. So I hope, as a supporter of "Traditional Marriage" you are keeping to that.

I'd be interested on your thoughts.

Glyn Davies said...

To imply from my post that gay people are not 'good people' is extremely silly, and seeking to argue a point through (probably deliberately) seeking to misrepresent my comments. Gays are as likely to be 'good' or 'bad' as every other section of the community. When I say to someone "you are good" I am noy saying everyone else isn't.

Anonymous said...

Who cares, his party will be beaten by Labour in 2015, and you conservatives returned to its rightful place, which is the loser.

Zygoville said...

But, Mr Davies, this DOES confer a new right on gay people - the right to be treated the same as everyone else, the right to use the same language as straight people. I wonder why it is more important to retain what you feel is the inviolable meaning of a word, over the inclusion of all? I hope you change your mind, I really do, because by taking this stance, you're alienating your gay constituents, excluding people rather than including them, for the sake of dogma. Best wishes, James.

Anonymous said...

You say that you don't support gay marriage "And I would be genuinely surprised if a majority of Conservatives where I live do either". However, you are the MP for all of your constituents and who knows you may be surprised that rather quite a lot of conservatives support gay marriage if you actually bothered to ask them.

You do appear to have completely closed mind on the issue and I note that you fail to respond to any of the sailient points in the above comments. You also ignore all the other reasons that David Cameron raised in his letter to Cheryl Gillian why he thought that the Tory party should support gay marriage and simply focused on a view represented by Andrew Hawkins only.

I feel that whatever good and valid reasons that people put forward for gay marriage you have a completelty closed mind and will ignore them. You don't appear to have made any valid reason to oppose equal civil marriage for gay couples.

Mike Parker said...

This is disappointing Glyn.

I shan't echo the points others have made, and very eloquently, but I would ask that you give them the courtesy of a response to their points, rather than just throw back one slightly petulant "but I didn't say that!"

The sentence in your piece that really leapt out at me was this: "And hope that I don't have to discuss it again. " There's more than a hint of distaste in that, not just for the topic of equal marriage, but for the subject of gay rights as a whole. Unexpected.