Oh Widdecombe, you are clutching at straws…
Firstly, you’re wrong to say that a referendum on the subject of marriage equality would result in “your side” winning, based on the ComRes poll for the Coalition for Marriage. In the first instance, you said that 86 per cent of people agreed with the idea that ‘it [is] perfectly possible to promote gay rights without redefining marriage’ when actually what the poll asked was ‘is it possible to be tolerant of the rights of others and protective of traditional marriage at the same time’ – you will note that there is no mention of gay rights. In fact it’s such a wishywashy, non-specific question, that probably even I would say yes. Within this, there is also a massive caveat in the issue of what constitutes “traditional marriage” – is it the idea of marriage where dear Daddy hands over his daughter in order to create a political bond between families a la Catherine of Aragon and Prince Arthur? And King Henry VIII. Which ended in divorce. As did another of his marriages. And then he also killed off two of his other spouses. And was a serious adulterer. Is that the kind marriage we’re talking about? Or should we go more traditional like Solomon with his 700 wives and 300 concubines? You cannot ask questions about “traditional marriage” without firstly defining what this is, and secondly, seriously, do not misquote your own poll. It make you look stupid, and undermines your argument.
Moreover, your second question is remarkably leading – ‘since gay and lesbian couples already have the same rights as married couples available to them under civil partnership, they should not be able to redefine marriage for everyone else’. Civil partnerships do not offer precisely the same rights as marriage; adultery is not a grounds for dissolution for instance. By lying to the respondents, you are skewing the results. In addition to this, is this “redefinition” of marriage actually going to affect “everyone else“‘s marriages within the UK? Is Barry and Steve from down the road exchanging wedding vows really going to lessen Janet and John’s wedding vows? Will the formers’ love being officially sanctioned in an equal manner to the latters’ lessen it in any way? If so, then I would recommend that Janet and John seriously take a look at what is wrong with their marriage if it is that easily ruined by outside factors, that in reality have absolutely nothing to with them.
Finally, a referendum where the majority votes on the rights of a minority? Fo’ realz Ann? I’m pretty sure that that isn’t a permissible idea considering the question of marriage equality is not a constitutional one. However, if you’re really desperate to have one, let’s have one Ann. Except one where the question is “should gay and lesbian couples be allowed to have the same access to marriage and all its conferred rights as heterosexual couples?’. Without any leading factors or padding, just the bare, basic bones of the question, I think it might go the right way. Just like it did here and here and here.