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Monday, June 25, 2012

Equal in (almost) everything but name

Equal in everything but name (almost).

Following Julie Price's wonderful, and very respectful open letter to The Curnow's, we felt it would be neglectful of us not to at least attempt to create a petition showing how many people oppose their view.

If there are 500,000 or more people who signed their petition to keep marriage between people of the opposite sex only, surely there are more (of the millions of people living in the UK) whom have no fear whatsoever in allowing LGBT couples the same freedom to marry as everyone else in the UK.

The main problem is rousing support however is that we appear to have won the majority of the battle.

Legally it appears there is no difference between marriage and civil partnerships - there are no protections afforded those who are 'married' which are not also afforded to those who are 'civally partnered'. 

Feel free to correct me if I have missed something, I am not a fountain of knowledge, however much research I do - and of course legislation is continually changing, albeit at a seemingly slow pace.

So what is the difference between marriage and a civil partnership, aside from the obviously unromantic noun of the latter?

Religion appears to be the main difference and the biggest point of contention. Although apparently civil partners of male peers or knights do not receive a courtesy title to which the spouse of a peer or knight would be entitled. D
avid Furnish is missing out. That's obviously not fair either.

Back to religion though. That's a tricky one when there is supposed to be separation of state and church. Marriage is a legal contract and a sociological rather than theological construct, surely? 

Every argument I have read against allowing marriage to be equal for all seems to be based on God having been very clear about what constituted a marriage. Well, God was very clear about a lot of things, many of which are not upheld today in law. So we can argue about that for eternity, and probably we will.

Religion does not own the word 'marriage', but if it did then all 'marriages' not held in a religious setting would need to be termed 'civil partnerships'. How deliciously ironic would that be? We'd certainly start seeing more people interested in this debate.

But enough piffle, about the 'why' and on to how we get our lovely liberal voices heard.

Essentially what we believe it comes down to is this:

If a same-sex couple want to marry in a church of their religion, and that church is happy to welcome them (some of them do after all), then they should be able to do so. And that union, and any other - regardless of where they take place, should be given the title 'marriage' if those making the commitment wish it to be the case.

That's what EQUAL MARRIAGE should mean. Everyone should be entitled to the same historically evolving construct if they so wish. Equal in name, not just law. Because actually, that word 'marriage' does mean something to a lot of people, religious or not.

The Home Office consultation on redefining marriage closed on 14 June 2012. 

So hey, what do we do next? Is there any point in a petition, or gathering signatures at all? Well of course there is. If for no other reason than to know how many people truly support equality and disagree with what The Coalition for Marriage are saying.

You can start by signing the Coalition for Equal Marriage's alternate petition here. And we'll keep you updated with any other ideas we have...


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