Monday, December 13, 2010

Equal Love

I'm glad that there's now a proper campaign in Britain for same-sex marriage: Equal Love.

Living in Massachusetts in 2004 when same-sex marriage came in there I've been impatient to see people fighting for it in the UK.

I'm not sure however, about the part of the campaign to allow civil partnerships to be open to different-sex couples. It is logical I suppose. But I've always viewed civil parnterships as an insufficent step towards marriage, and if marriage is available to everyone, then why would anyone want a civil partnership?

Also, where does this leave our campaign for allowing civil partnerships to be conducted in places of worship? Surely this will now become irrelevant, if we can perform same-sex marriages? Or do we still want to perform civil partnerships? If so what exactly is "civil" about them if they are, religious? Surely if they're allowed for all couples the defining characteristic of civil partnerships will be that they would be non-religious?

Also, what will be the process of a civil partnership converting to a marriage? Or vice versa?

You see the reason I was never in favour of civil partnerships wasn't just because they're not good enough, not equality. It's also because they make things unneccesarily complicated. I've always thought it was more logical, simple and fair to open civil marriage to all couples, allowing religious groups to define for themselves who they want to marry.

Anyway despite all these complications it's good to see the campagin for same sex marriage finally get underway in the UK. It's about time!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's keep some hold on the meaning of words ! Marriage for the covenanted union of a man and a woman,whether in church or elsewhere ;civil partnership for other forms of relationship - why shouldn't a man who has cared for his mentally disabled sister for many years ( a situation known to me personally )be able to have his commitment honoured and respected under the law/by a religious body every bit as much as two gays ?

4:32 pm  
Anonymous ian said...

Interesting how the above comment is Anonymous! I guess its encouraging that folks who want to keep marriage for straight folks need to post anonymously.

I think having a two tier law is problematic, yes. Either make marriage universal or make civil partnership the de-facto.

My personal preference would be to see government get out of the marriage business all together. Make civil partnership a legal contract between two people conferring a particular set of legal rights and responsibilities. Then marriage is purely a social or religious thing. I know some evangelical Christians who think that anyway, that government marriage is nothing of the sort, that the only marriage is marriage in church (even if, as was, the church they attend can't conduct legal marriages).

Civil partnerships, as a legal contract, should then be open to a much larger range of people. Including family members (as the famous case of the aged spinster sisters made clear). Different denominations of church would be free to be as bigoted as they like with the definition of marriage, under the firm understanding that whatever they thought about it, it made not a jot of difference.

5:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ian chides me for posting anonymously but on inspecting his w/site,I find nothing that reveals his identity either ;what's the problem ?

6:25 pm  
Blogger Stephen Lingwood said...

On the "traditional definition" of marriage, please see this article:

10:17 am  

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