So because it's relevant I started talking about marriage this week, both on twitter at my account @Bubbalou and on Facebook on various statuses and groups.
As with many things there were as many opinions as people. I had to examine my own beliefs and why I think the way I do. It's relevant to the equal marriage debate: the primary focus is rightly the equality issue but I wanted to focus on marriage, and not just because Tory MPs are embarrassing their party by coming out with nonsense like "[David Cameron will] have civil disobedience and an estrangement of faith communities"
Key themes that came from talking about this the last couple of days:
Commitment - one comment was to the effect of "staying together even after you don't want to anymore" is not a good idea. I don't really see it that way. When/if/as I have met a person I think I can spend the rest of my life with, I think I'm ready to make that commitment. I don't think that's necessary for everyone.
Some people may be as, or more, committed than I am without marriage. Some may be less within a marriage. I do however think that's important enough for me, to be a bit of a deal-breaker if my partner didn't feel the same way.
Children - I believe married life is what I want as a background to my children's lives. This took a lot of time to think about. Mostly I think it's because that's how I grew up. My parents divorced after I left home, and none-with-standing whether I think that is or was a good idea or not, I think it's wise to at least start with that aim in mind, staying together forever, if you are planning on having kids.
I understand how step-families can work, and was part of one for a short time, so again not wanting to judge. I also think with effort, commitment (there is that word again!) and communication, this can work, much like many other relationships.
I'd like to avoid splitting up if possible. There are many reasons, but one is given mostly how much hard work it seems to be to bring up kids, I'd like to have a partner to help me through that as much as anything - and I'd like that to be one who lives in the same house.
"Outdated" values - this was a fascinating point which came from a debate about whether I would, or others would, prefer a married candidate as a PPC (Prospective Parliamentary Candidate). Clearly as a liberal with meritocratic aims - I would choose on the basis of merit. However, I would expect most voters would prefer a married candidate and this (preference
from voters) was viewed as "outdated" by at least one person.
I don't think my preference for marriage is outdated - I think what is outdated is thinking that's the only way to live.
Feminism - some commented that as a feminist I might be against the institution of marriage as it had been one of the ways the patriarchy controlled women. I don't find this a compelling reason against marriage, and neither does Caitlin Moran, I'm thinking as she got married.
However on the flip side, this is interesting research here for men and here for women, is fascinating tho and blew my mind. Men can get paid up to 44% more for being married - the article I've linked to is interesting as it suggests that it may be that married men are simply more conscientious, ambitious, and cooperative - or as another friend put it, "conformist".
It takes two people to get married, and it's probably safe to conclude that not everyone who'd like to be married is, as they may not be with anyone at all, someone they don't want to marry or they may have compromised on this desire in order to be with a specific person or have children with them. I found this whole conversation fascinating, especially as a Lib Dem, mainly talking to Lib Dems for this exercise, that we are very in favour of equal marriage (as we should be!) but some of us may be ambivalent about the actual institution of marriage itself.
Which is much to our credit. It's good we can campaign for others something we don't necessarily want for ourselves. And good that most of the people I talked to were happy that I could choose marriage - one or two commented that they think it's for mugs and are against the concept as a whole, even for other people. That I can't really get on board with - if people want to get married, let them.
So yes, Louise Shaw is OUT for Equal Marriage, and marriage in general.