Let’s discuss railways and gay marriage

Dear Mr Edward Julian Egerton Leigh, MP for Gainsborough and Horncastle,

I consider myself to be an educated and cultured man of the world and, as such, I often peruse the pages of the esteemed Gainsborough Standard searching for enlightenment and intelligent discourse.  During my perusal of the online edition today, I happened upon an article written by you to your constituents that left me feeling more enlightened than usual.  Pithily entitled Let’s discuss railways and gay marriage, your article addresses two of the key “issues and matters that concern [your constituents] most”; namely railways and gay people getting married (the clue was in the title, I guess).

You begin your short article by outlining the difficulties that you, and others travelling from London to your “little part of Lincolnshire”, face when the rail tracks run out at Newark.  It would appear that the situation is a grave one and I’m sure your constituents feel very reassured by the fact that you have been lobbying the government to invest more money in the East Coast Main Line, and I truly hope that you manage to get the vital Cleethorpes via Market Rasen service reinstated.

Leaving the railways behind, you go on to address the issue that, above all others, has caused the greatest concern “ever” to those Gainsborough residents who write to you, namely the issue of gay people being allowed to marry.  You suggest that all of “those in Gainsborough who write to [you]” are opposed to your party’s plans to redefine civil marriage to include same-sex couples.  You do not mention how many people in Gainsborough do write to you, and someone less cultured and refined than you might possibly, in the absence of that information, begin to wonder exactly how numerous those letter writers actually are (all 81,596 constituents?) and what exactly those who choose not to write to you think about the issue of gay people being allowed to marry, remembering that it’s often only those who are vehemently opposed to something who bother to put pen to paper to complain about it.  But let’s not bother with those trifling thoughts and stick to the bigger picture, eh?

Speaking of the bigger picture, it doesn’t get much bigger than the categorical statement you make that you are one of “the foremost opponents” of the plan to open up marriage to same-sex couples.  How refreshing to see a politician delight so proudly in their desire to deny others rights that they themselves enjoy.  There just aren’t enough politicians around today who make it their aim to make Britain less equal and less fair.  I should have known, of course, that we could always rely on conservative Conservatives, like yourself, to promote the cause of unfairness and inequality in the name of Christianity.  A bit like you did when the Civil Partnership Act was going through parliament in 2004 and you voted against it, and, once it had passed, proposed an amendment to it to extend the property rights afforded to civil partners to siblings who had lived together for more than 12 years, which, to some people less cultured and refined than yourself, might have looked a little bit like you were trying to weaken the bill or perhaps even make it fail (Is this what is known as a wrecking amendment?  Forgive me, my political knowledge is not as good as it could be!).

You go on in your article to explain that it would be “foolish” to “muck about” with the institution of marriage because it has “stood the test of time for centuries”.  It would indeed be awful to see an age-old institution mucked about with and modified because liberal-minded people are bleating on about fairness and equality.

If we’re not careful, marriage could go the way of slavery, which stood the test of time for hundreds of years, until, all of a sudden, liberal-minded people decided that it wasn’t fair!

Not fair?!  There was slavery in the Bible, neither God nor Jesus ever condemned it and St. Paul actively encouraged slaves to be happy and content in their enslavement, ergo it must be OK.  Ask the liberals to find Bible verses supporting equal marriage…they won’t be able to as there aren’t any, ergo it must be not OK.  (They will find lots of Old Testament verses describing polygamous marriage and numerous Old and New Testament verses instructing women to be inferior and subservient to their husbands, which might make them believe, following our logic from before, that they’re both OK.  But, as we know, they’re not OK.  When will they learn that it’s our Bible so we’ll pick and choose what to believe and what’s OK and what is not?).

You conclude your article by stating that the government’s proposals to allow same-sex couples to marry would have the effect of “reaching into all marriages which have so far been recognised by the state and changing them into something similar but altogether different”, which, you seem to suggest, is unacceptable.  This appears to be, although you don’t go into detail (bigger picture, bigger picture), the anti-equal marriage argument that allowing gay couples to marry weakens the words “marriage”, “husband” and “wife” by making it impossible for people to know if a person tells you that they are married whether they are gay or not.  And which could lead to the shocking situation in which someone might think you yourself were gay if you said you were married but didn’t specify “to a WOMAN”.  It is truly more awful than words can express to contemplate a future society in which people might have to use the extra words “to my wife” or “to my husband” in a conversation about their marriage in order that people might understand who their partner is.  I simply cannot imagine how people would cope.  Luckily, they have people like you fighting for them.

Well, I’d better leave this here – the rest of the Gainsborough Standard won’t read itself!  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my letter.  That is, if you’ve found time to read it along with all of the letters you have to read from Gainsborough residents who wish to see gay people denied their rights.

Keep fighting for the cause!

R

P.S. Despite voting against Civil Partnerships and trying to wreck the Act with an amendment, in your article you cite Civil Partnerships as offering “all of the legal benefits and privileges of marriage” (except for the marriage bit, of course) almost as though you now see Civil Partnerships as a good thing.  In time, you may find that, just as your view of Civil Partnerships seems to have evolved, your view of equal marriage may change, and you may wake up one morning and decide that fighting to deny some of your fellow Britons their rights is neither noble nor good and that you actually want to do some good in the world and stand up for equality.  If that happens, pick up your Bible and smack yourself around the head with it.  You can’t have dangerous thoughts like that going around!  Imagine if  all conservative Conservatives started thinking like that, the world might actually start to change!  And there’s nothing less conservative than that.