Why gay marriage should not be open to consultation

Once in a while, an issue comes along that is so fundamental to humans’ rights that consultation should not be deemed necessary.

The abolition of slavery. Women having the vote. Non-white people having the vote. Interracial marriage.

And now, gay marriage.

The only people who were against any of the above were those people whose rights would not be affected by the change. White people opposed the abolition of slavery and the introduction of the non-white vote. Men opposed women’s having the vote. Those with no intention of marrying someone of a different race opposed interracial marriage. And straight people oppose gay marriage. (Not the entirety of each of the groups, I hasten to add.)

Consulting the nation on whether gay people should be allowed the same rights as straight people will yield a mixed response. Gay people will, by and large, support the notion. And there will be division among straight people. Some will support it; others will be against it; and many, I expect, will be indifferent, perhaps itself a sign of support.

In my view, the changes should be introduced without consulting the British people. This issue is so fundamental to human rights that its outcome should not be allowed to be influenced by the British public, whose opinions on such issues have proved to be dangerous in the past.


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