Marriage doesn’t belong to Lynne Featherstone

Feb 26, 2012

In yesterday’s Daily Telegraph Lynne Featherstone, the government’s Equality Minister and Lib Dem MP, wrote an article about her plans to redefine marriage. In it she says marriage isn’t owned by the church. Well, it isn’t owned by Lynne Featherstone either, yet she seems determined to rewrite the definition of marriage over the heads of the people.

In her article, she says that marriage belongs to the people. But why, then, has she never asked the people if they want marriage to be redefined? Why did her party, the Lib Dems, never put it in their manifesto? In fact, it wasn’t in the manifestos of any of the major parties. Nobody voted for this. There is no mandate for such a monumental change to a key institution like marriage.

If Lynne Featherstone thinks marriage belongs to the people, why has the forthcoming consultation been touted around as if it’s a done deal? For months the government has been saying it will be a ‘how’, not ‘if’, consultation. They’ve been referring to it as a “nuts and bolts” exercise. They’ve been acting as though marriage belongs to them, to be redefined however and whenever they like.

The British people – in their thousands – have signed our petition to say don’t meddle with marriage. A majority of the public (51%) don’t want marriage redefined, given that all the rights of marriage are already available to same-sex couples through civil partnerships. If Lynne Featherstone really believes marriage belongs to the people, why isn’t she listening to them?