Thursday, 28 February 2013

In which I discover that trying to get an answer from a politician can seem a bit like trying to get blood from a stone

As I mentioned here I was planning on writing to my Member of Parliament (again) on the subject of same-sex marriage.

I wrote:


Thank you for replying to my email. I've attached a copy of your reply to this email.

I was disappointed to hear that you voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill and also that you didn't actually answer the question that I asked in my email.

Please could you let me know if you will now support the Bill as it progresses through Parliament providing that "the Church and other religious organisations are not coerced to hold such ceremonies through the threat of litigation, and that those who wish to form same sex civil partnerships are treated equally under the law"?

Alternatively I would appreciate it if you could let me know if it is the case that you are fundamentally opposed to the concept of same sex marriages?

And the reply:

Thank you for your email regarding the changes proposed to marriage by the Government.

I certainly understand your concern over this issue and appreciate you taking the time to share your views.

As I mentioned in our previous correspondence, I will be taking a final view on this legislation once it has been scrutinised and amended in Committee and returns to the House of Commons. Legislation often changes during its course through parliament, and is sometimes withdrawn or significantly amended in the House of Lords.

For the avoidance of doubt, I am very much in favour of a long term commitment between same sex couples and I would like to see the same legislation underpinning every long term relationship so that there is no further inequality in the eyes of the law.

Thank you again for contacting me. You have my commitment that I give the legislation the scrutiny it requires.

Maybe it’s just me … but I can’t help but feel a real reticence to make any commitment at all to supporting the bill – only potential reasons for not doing so. And yet also, a reticence to say anything very strongly against it. Maybe it’s just the way politicians tend to be.

At the end of the day I’m left two thoughts:

  • If the bill were to return to the House of Commons unchanged, then my MP would vote against it – having voted against it already
  • My MP is either unwilling or unable to say what changes to the bill would result in him voting in favour of it

I’ll see what happens with it next and write back to him when things begin to move again.

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