Dear Mr Cameron, how can you be so sure?

Dear Mr Cameron,

(I hope it’s still OK to call you Mister Cameron: one can never be sure these days with all this talk of equality and the redefinition of words whose meanings we thought we knew).

Well, you won your vote in Parliament yesterday. Strange one, though, given that most of your own MPs voted against your idea. Is that what you call leadership by consensus?

I have a question about something you said ahead of the vote. You mentioned that introducing gay marriage is about equality ‘but it is also about making our society stronger.’

That’s an interesting phrase. It makes for a great soundbite (weren’t you a PR man in a previous job?) and I dare say there are not many people who would want to vote against something that makes a society stronger. Although I don’t think you spelled it out at the time, I think I understand your drift: you believe that marriage provides for two people to commit to each other, so if more people can get married, society will be stronger. Or something like that.

But I wonder if you could you tell us how exactly you know that redefining marriage so that more people can call themselves married will achieve this? Have you had access to some empirical research that demonstrates this? If so, will the government be publishing its findings? 

It’s funny that you can be so sure about this when someone like Sarah Teather who I believe is considered to be one of the most left-leaning of the Liberal Democrats said that changing the definition of marriage could make family life more unstable. Presumably you don’t agree with her. That’s where a lot of people would find it helpful to know what your confidence is based on. Interestingly, some people are suggesting that there is evidence to show that in some countries where same-sex marriage has been introduced (including Spain and the Netherlands) marriage has continued its previous decline. So it doesn’t sound as though the change is necessarily the fix-it that you reckon it will be.

I don’t imagine you read my blog and even if you did, you’d probably not have time to reply given all the pressing issues on your plate (what with the economy and the European Union and the threat of violence toppling governments around the world). But if you do have that research that proves your point, please let us all know.

Yours etc,

Alan Wilson

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