I've been havering for a while about writing this post, because it seems sometimes that there's no-one left in the country willing to have a sensible and serious conversation on the subject of marriage. It's all too easy to point fingers yelling "hatemonger!" the instant a dissenting view is proffered; sitting snugly in one's cocoon of moral righteousness rather than leaning forward to hear the thoughts of the silent majority.
Well, I will be silent no longer. I have consulted my conscience, and I have consulted religious leaders of far greater wisdom and comprehension than you or I, and I have come to an inescapable conclusion: Marmite eaters should not be allowed to get married.
Already I hear the howls of the outraged as they skim those words, preparing to launch screed after badly-composed screed against me in my comments section, demanding I confess to secret yeastophobia, an unreasoning primordial hate clouding my higher brain functions. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have not the slightest problem with those that love Marmite. Some of my best friends love Marmite. I'm certainly not one of those people who objects to seeing Marmite being eaten, even in public, though I think I speak for many that it can creep us out to see it being done, and I don't think we should be judged too harshly for that. After thirty-three years of eating no Marmite, it's hardly a surprise that I react to its nearby consumption with, well, surprise.
Despite this, however, I do not believe that Marmite eating is compatible with the institution of marriage. Partially this is a matter of tradition. Human society, and in particular the mighty civilisations of the west, have gotten on perfectly well without recourse to Marmite for thousands of years. Alexander the Great conquered the known world with nothing smeared on his pitta bread but a light layer of honey. Wellington smashed Napoleon from the face of western Europe, and he managed quite well with his marmalade, thank you very much. For almost nineteen hundred years since the birth of Christ, not one single historical, technological nor sociological accomplishment of note was achieved by a man - or woman - with black yeast derivative smeared across their lips.
It is more than simply a question of tradition, however, for to nod to the practises of our forefathers cannot be enough in itself. It is the very central role marriage plays in society; a role so fundamental and foundational that one could hardly think of a worse candidate for headstrong sociological experimentation. Were I to be married, and whilst sitting with my wonderful spouse munching hot buttered toast learn that the couple next door were tucking into Marmite-violated muffins, how could I enjoy my own breakfast? Marriage is, at heart, about the sharing of one's experiences with one's partner, a promise to live one's life in the heart and soul of another. How can that experience not be lessened by the realisation that the very nature of those experiences has become weakened by alternatives incompatible with our shared activities?
And will not someone, at long last, think of the children? Marmite is still new to the world, still seen as different, as non-standard. In time, like all new ideas, the world will come to tolerate it, even accept it, but that time is not this time. How are children to explain to their friends that their parents voluntarily consume waste products not thought fit for the bottom of a Guinness Extra Cold cask? How will they mask their shame at Sports Day when their beloved father pulls out a black-oozing sandwich and starts munching it during the egg and spoon race? What damage could result when a child reaches puberty and their parents have to admit "We've never actually eaten jam, but we'll do our best to explain a Swiss roll to you"?
If marriage is not to be a place of experimentation, that same truth must hold double for the raising of a family. Particularly when doing so in what still remains, I believe, a strongly Christian country. When Jesus took five loaves and used them to feed the multitude, did he whip out a jar of Marmite and ask for a butter knife? No. No he did not.
At the end of the day, can any argument be more powerful?