Coalition for Marriage.
This is the judgement of Peter Tatchell in Pink News on the Coalition's campaign:
Coalition members are entitled to believe that same-sex marriages are wrong, but they are not entitled to demand that their opposition to such marriages should be imposed on the rest of society and enforced by law.
Supporters of traditional marriage should learn that by heart. It is the central contention of the campaign for same-sex marriage. Morality, along with religion, should be confined to a private sphere where they won't impede anyone else's pursuit of happiness.
It is term time, and I'm in Philosophy tutor mode, so I might as well say I don't think that the Coalition does a very good job of dealing with Tatchell's argument. Here's what they say, in red, with my comments in bold.
Throughout history and in virtually all human societies marriage has always been the union of a man and a woman.Wrong! Marriage 'in virtually all human societies' has taken a variety of forms, notably to include polygamy and concubinage. But NEVER same-sex marriage because that simply doesn't make sense: if anthropologists found such a thing in a remote tribe, they would hesitate to describe it as 'marriage'. The Coalition is wrong to place polygamy further down the 'unthinkability' scale than same-sex marriage.
Marriage reflects the complementary natures of men and women. Although death and divorce may prevent it, the evidence shows that children do best with a married mother and a father. True: but why don't they make the point that this what marriage is for? The raising of children is the purpose of marriage, it is the reason why marriage is designed as it is, even if not all marriages are fertile.
If marriage is redefined, those who believe in traditional marriage will be sidelined. People's careers could be harmed, couples seeking to adopt or foster could be excluded, and schools would inevitably have to teach the new definition to children. Wrong! This has already happened, as a result of what the Coalition already accepts: Civil Parternships.
If marriage is redefined once, what is to stop it being redefined to allow polygamy? This could be a good argument (why not marriage between men and apes?), but they need to explain why marriage should be defined in the way it is defined. What exactly is wrong with polygamy? If they are appealing to the 'yuk' reaction, they are doing Tatchell's work for him in conforming to the homophobic stereotype.
Civil partnerships already provide all the legal benefits of marriage so there's no need to redefine marriage. This is the concession which concedes the whole debate. If the law of the land has an interest in giving a special legal status to same-sex unions, why shouldn't it lump them together with 'marriage'?
It's not discriminatory to support traditional marriage. Wrong! It is discriminatory, undeniably so: marriage is open only to heterosexual couples. The Coalition's job is to argue that this discrimination is justified.
Same-sex couples may choose to have a civil partnership but no one has the right to redefine marriage for the rest of us. This is just puzzling. You've been married for a few years, and when you tied the knot the legal category you joined was 'the union of one man and one woman'. Later they extend the category to be 'the union of two persons'. How have you been harmed? The Coalition needs to do better than this.
Part of the problem I think is that this is a Coalition of Catholics with Evangelical Protestants. It excludes Muslims because the Christians don't like polygamy. And the presence of Evangelicals makes it difficult to talk about Natural Law.
James Preece does a pretty good job of explaining why same-sex marriage is wrong. This is how I'd try to fit it into a nutshell.
Traditional marriage, the lifelong committment of a man and a woman ordered to procreation, is the indispensible condition for the family, and grows directly out of human nature. It is not the product of human convention or law; it is historically and logically prior to the state. Since it is the fundamental institution of human society, the state has an interest in recognising and protecting it, particularly as it provides the natural, normal, and by far the best environment for the raising of children. The proposal to extend the legal category of 'marriage' it to same-sex couples is a proposal to cease to recognise the natural institution as such; those getting married will be accorded the same status as those engaged in something completely different. This is motivated by a social-engineering project in favour of sexual libertinism which is directly hostile to stable family life, and it is a move away from the state's engagement with human realities, towards a dystopian fantasy.
But hey, while I'm a critical old curmugeon I still think you should get over to the Coalition website and sign the petition!