In defence of gay marriage as an extension of a key conservative component to society

So, one of my favourite Tories Tim Montgomerie, spoke last night on his change of heart on Gay Marriage with Dominic Lawson… It’s interesting from a number of angles, not least that his motivation was to make social conservatism popular again, and to open what he sees as a key conservative institution (marriage) to people who might otherwise become alienated from other conservative institutions.

So, for those genuinely interested, I’m just putting it here. [Please do try to resist the urge to comment without first listening?]

As an addendum to that, here’s the Stanford Social Innovation Review which somewhat underwrites Montgomerie’s liberal conservative approach to the matter:

…we found that emphasizing only part of what was at stake—rights and benefits—wasn’t enough to reach the middle and gain majority support. What did resonate with many Americans were values-based arguments: love, commitment, and family. These are, after all, universal concepts that are simple, emotional, positive, and easily understood. We cracked the code on message, and then focused our work on message delivery.

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  • Turgon

    The latter comment (from Stanford Social Innovation Review) is very pertinent. The universal concepts of love, commitment and family can and should be applied to all.

    If equality is the issue it should be real equality not something based on the current popular notion of morality: something which can shift within a generation or less.

    The simplest and best way to enact this at a legislative level would be for the state to stay out of the bedrooms of the nation (provided sexual activity is between consenting adults) and recognise partnerships between any persons and any other persons who are able to give legitimate consent whether those partnerships be sexual or platonic.

    The faith communities should be allowed to marry those whom they (the faith communities) choose and refuse to marry those whom they choose. Those marriages, however, should not have legal weight: rather a separate civil partnership signing would be needed to formalise the legal advantages of such unions.

    That is probably not what Tim Montgomerie wants but is the logical (and I submit ethical) outworking of the whole equal marriage debate.

    Worth also noting that Montgomerie winds himself in knots regarding The Bible’s position on sexuality. Jesus is actually both consistent and more extreme than anyone else in teaching on sexual sins. However, He is also clear on forgiveness and further offers healing without first demanding repentance (see the High Priest’s servant whose ear He heals)- this largely invalidates Montgomeries very weak theory re the centurion’s servant.

    Furthermore the mortality put forward by our Lord and repeated by Paul etc is really for the church: those not in the church are at liberty to do as they please. It is the attempt to reconcile teaching for the church with the world’s views which creates many of the problems: hence, the advantage of keeping church and state properly separate on this issue.

  • Gerry Lynch

    I’m not sure I’d call Tim a liberal anything. He’s interestingly difficult to pin down on the Tory spectrum, but he’s always struck me as being a “faith, flag and fatherland” Tory but both a moderate and an überrealo within that world. Hence his view here that supporting gay marriage might make social conservatism more palatable. He’s also a definitely Evangelical Christian, and not especially a liberal one – OK, maybe he is compared to Turgon, but within the Church of England he certainly wouldn’t fit under the label “liberal Evangelical” and not under “Central tradition” either. Which again made his support for marriage equality all the more interesting.
    He lives locally to me here and I’d love to meet him for a pint some time.

  • Turgon

    Try to avoid man playing. You know very little of my religious and theological views. Incidentally Montgomerie supported homosexual, not equal marriage: there is, as we have debated frequently in the past; a significant difference.