Are you sure a conservative can still oppose gay marriage, @His_Grace?

[Commenting on coalition plans to introduce full gay marriage] But gay civil partnership cannot be marriage, because Parliament decrees in the State Church ‘that so many as are coupled together otherwise than God’s Word doth allow are not joined together by God; neither is their Matrimony lawful‘.

First of all, no parliament can bind a future parliament. If they want to make gay marriage legal, religious or whatever, they can make it so. It wouldn’t be the first hypocritical contortion the church has engaged in during the last 2000 years.

I must admit, a conservative disposition is a useful thing, it helps you avoid rushing to something stupid. So being sceptical about changing an institution as old as marriage is understandable, even if I disagree.

But conservatism is a flexible position, not one based on absolutes.

Changing the institution of marriage might have bad effects, but there have been none from the introduction of civil partnerships six years ago, a half-way house towards full gay marriage. This implies that previous scepticism about gay partnerships, and therefore marriage, was undue.

If conservatism is about scepticism then its scepticism should now have flipped.

Rather than being sceptical about the damage being done by expanding marriage, conservatives should now be sceptical about the damage being done by treating some citizens as less equal that others. If the costs of introducing gay marriage are low, as has been at least partially proven, then equality before the law should now trump diminished conservative worries about gay marriage.