LAURA CARTLEDGE: The gay marriage bill gives reason to celebrate, so what is the issue?

C101413-1 JPOS Chi Sept9 Staff   Photo Louise Adams''Laura Cartledge.
C101413-1 JPOS Chi Sept9 Staff Photo Louise Adams''Laura Cartledge.

SOMEONE hold my shoes as I am about to step into the most mine-filled minefield there is.

Also known as the gay marriage bill.

To be completely honest, I have tried not to write about this.

Trust me, I like a quiet life, mostly fuelled by cake baking and crochet. But I also have a passion for standing up for what I feel is right.

I should have known reading an interview with Lord Dannatt, former head of the army, with the headline ‘Gay marriage Bill goes against what I’ve fought for as a soldier’ would lead to trouble. However here we are.

He commented that ‘respect and tolerance is being severely challenged’ by the bill, but from where I am standing he must have the piece of paper back to front.

What makes it more staggering is that, in 2008, he gave the opening address at the annual LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) conference.

He was the first chief of staff, of any of the three armed services, to do this and said: “My theme in that address focused on one of the Army’s six core values – respect for others.”

Excuse me while I bang my head on the desk.

The issue of gay marriage is a complicated one, but gay marriage itself really isn’t.

How is finding someone you love, who loves you back, not worth celebrating?

Yes religious beliefs play a massive part in people’s views of ‘marriage’, but no church will be forced to hold a ceremony if they don’t want to.

And, as campaigners will point out, it was conventional man and wife marriage which created the need for divorce, after all.

As for the argument that it is down to biology, and that the union is to produce children, I think that is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

Plenty of couples can’t, or choose not to, have children.

And you can’t tell me we are going to start forcing people to take fertility tests before they go down the aisle?