WHEN Parliament voted to back plans for same sex marriage, MPs and church leaders made their opposition clear.
It was nothing short of vandalism, they suggested, to ‘redefine’ the terms of an institution which had always applied – and which should continue to apply – only to two people of the opposite sex.
Opposition to the move, in Burton and South Derbyshire at least, appeared to be resolutely at odds with the prevailing mood – but not everyone, it turns out, agrees.
Simon, a gay teenager, says he feels ‘disgusted’ that Andrew Griffiths, Heather Wheeler and Andrew Bridgen, Tory MPs who represent Burton, South Derbyshire and North West Leicestershire respectively, voted to oppose gay marriage.
The atheist also says his educational studies of Christianity’s views of homosexuality leave him well placed not only to understand, but to challenge its arguments.
“To me, equal marriage isn’t about having the same laws as a civil partnership; it’s about being recognised as an equal human being,” Simon says.
“Children are brought up with the belief system that, as human beings, we are all equal.
“However, our MPs are trying to oppose this. They are trying to challenge the fundamental idea that children are raised to understand.”
In his opinion, such ‘narrow-minded hypocrisy’ warps children’s moral values and undermines attempts to tackle the bullying of gay pupils.
“Love is universal,” says Simon. “It has no boundaries; whether it’s two males, two females or a male and a female.
“I understand ‘marriage’ to be defined as a ‘civil union between a male and a female’ but cannot fathom that the MPs truly believe that, for loving someone, people they claim to be ‘equal’ should be denied the right to partake in the same ‘civil union’ as everyone else, whether they are from a religious background or not.
“Surely, if marriage is such a religious statement that such drastic segregation needs to be made, all non-religious couples should be denied this right?
“I see no decent reason or justification for this kind of discrimination against homosexual couples.
“Creating such a gap between communities will only create more space for hatred.”
Allowing gay couples to marry would also be a good starting point to change the way people regard homosexuals, he says, arguing that society as a whole should strive for progress.
Simon says he finds it difficult to understand why gay marriage is an issue.
“Why have I had to argue that equality is the correct path to take?” he says.
“Why is my love for someone else such an issue, especially to people it doesn’t actually concern?
“Why is my right to partake in a ceremony everyone else can being argued against?
“I am no great religious believer, nor am I naturally a political person, but when my right to something I believe to be so straightforward and unquestionable is taken away from me, I won’t take it lying down.
“I am a human being. I am of legal age and I have a deep love for my partner and plan on spending the rest of my life with them.
“All I am asking is that I receive the same treatment as every other couple.”
The right to marry, argues Simon, is of huge importance to the gay community.
“For the majority, equal marriage will have no effect,” he says.
“However, for the minority it does affect it would mean the world.
“There is no pick and choose with equality.”
*The Mail has not used Simon’s real name to protect his identity.