The Houses of Parliament, where the official opening of Marriage Week UK occurred yesterday evening, are a stone’s throw away from one of my favorite places in London, glorious Westminster Abbey. There, last April – as Rabbi Mirvis reminded us in his address – a marriage that captivated a significant swath of the world’s population took place. As a Catholic who believes very strongly in the value and sacramental nature of marriage, I’d like to interpret the public support for that wedding, of Will and Kate, as an indication that we, as a society, remain hopeful about the possibilities of marriage – or at least see it as a nice ideal towards which to strive!
However, as an institution, marriage – as the assortment of MP’s and religious and public figures who attended last night’s event would argue – is more than an ideal, it’s a social necessity. So it was appropriate that the Rabbi’s very eloquent talk was followed by a sobering presentation from Professor Scott Stanley, who made clear the devastating emotional effects that living with unmarried or separated parents can have on children; and a spirited address by Sir Paul Coleridge, who spoke of the importance of defending marriage in a society that often regards it as “outdated,” or simply unrealistic. The evening, then, was both a celebration, a sharing of insights, and a call to arms – in short, an event that my fellow interns and I were privileged to be able to attend. Thanks to Elizabeth and Hannah for making everything possible!
The three interns in Parliament at the Marriage Week Launch.