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Introduction of gay marriage in Great Britain

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GuyBarry
1252614.  Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:21 am Reply with quote

franticllama wrote:
GuyBarry wrote:

Right, well I agree that the decision to allow gay marriage in the UK was the correct one. The question was - as I remember it - whether the decision to raise the issue of gay marriage in the UK was the correct one in the first place. I'm still not entirely convinced that it was, because it's created divisions that weren't there before the question was raised. But I wouldn't want to go back on the decision now.


Are you really saying you would have preferred that gay and straight people* should be treated differently?


No I'm not. When the gay marriage legislation was brought in, we moved from a situation where gay and straight people were treated broadly the same (one option for each) to one where they are treated differently (two options for gay people, one for straight people). So I think that the legislation increased inequality rather than reducing it. That may not have been the intention, but it's been an unfortunate and controversial side-effect.

Quote:
If gay marriage was never raised as an issue then the natural conclusion is that you were happy with things as they were. Where a gay partner is treated as less than a straight partner


But that wasn't the situation between 2004 and 2013, where gay and straight couples had essentially the same rights. (For the avoidance of any confusion, I would not support going back to the pre-2004 situation where there were no civil partnerships.)

 
GuyBarry
1288687.  Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:59 am Reply with quote

I'm a few days late with this, but I'm very pleased to see that the Supreme Court has ruled that denying civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-44627990

The government isn't obliged to change the law, but it's likely that they will now act. This inequality should really have been addressed when the gay marriage legislation was brought in.

 
Jenny
1288721.  Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:21 pm Reply with quote

Yes it should. It would have made more sense to make civil marriage available to gay couples, but then we would have had the pearl-clutches exclaiming about the despoilation of the word 'marriage', so I guess this is the best work-around to avoid that.

 
GuyBarry
1288743.  Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:20 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
It would have made more sense to make civil marriage available to gay couples


They did, in 2013. That's what the fuss was about. Marriage was extended to gay couples but civil partnerships weren't extended to straight couples.

Quote:
but then we would have had the pearl-clutches exclaiming about the despoilation of the word 'marriage', so I guess this is the best work-around to avoid that.


No, the word "marriage" hasn't been despoiled. Since 2013 there has been an unequal situation in England, Wales and Scotland whereby gay couples can choose between a marriage and a civil partnership, but straight couples can only have a marriage. This is utterly discriminatory and I'm amazed that it's taken so long to rectify it.

Peter Tatchell, the prominent gay rights campaigner, has been one of the strongest proponents of extending civil partnerships to straight couples. Good for him. I might consider having a civil partnership with a woman but I would never, ever, ever contemplate a marriage.

 
bobwilson
1289272.  Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:10 pm Reply with quote

Isn't this all a bit "rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic"?

What exactly is the function of "marriage" (the institution, not the ceremony)? As far as I can tell it has two fundamental forms

a) something that has religious/spiritual meaning - in which case "civil partnerships" are neither here not there
b) a state-regulated partnership - which I think is the real issue

In that latter case, it's only real function is to establish a set of ground rules for people who choose to set up in a partnership, but for emotional reasons don't want to go through the rigmarole of drawing up contracts (pre-nuptial agreements notwithstanding).

Basically, to simplify things for the courts when the partnership breaks down - and for the reason given above, there's no Articles of Association to which they can refer.

Marriage (which is essentially a religious institution) implies a civil partnership (ie "legal marriage"); but a civil partnership does not imply marriage (ie I agree with GuyBarry)

However, where I differ with him (and Mr Tatchell) is that I would say that a non-religious "marriage" is not a marriage - it is a civil partnership. It's just that the language wasn't available (or necessary) when the idea of a civil marriage was first introduced.

So, Guy, go ahead and have a civil marriage and you in reality won't be married, but in a civil partnership (colloquially and formerly known as "marriage").

 
suze
1289293.  Sat Jul 07, 2018 2:16 am Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
Peter Tatchell, the prominent gay rights campaigner, has been one of the strongest proponents of extending civil partnerships to straight couples. Good for him. I might consider having a civil partnership with a woman but I would never, ever, ever contemplate a marriage.


While I do understand that position, it makes it plain that you see civil partnership as some kind of "second division marriage", one step down from marriage proper.

And TBH, that's precisely how I see civil partnership as well - but when it was introduced, we were told that it absolutely wasn't that thing. Isn't there a bit of wanting things both ways going on?

(Not that this government is entirely unfamiliar with wanting things both ways. We have some other long-running threads on that theme!)

 
GuyBarry
1289296.  Sat Jul 07, 2018 3:07 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:

While I do understand that position, it makes it plain that you see civil partnership as some kind of "second division marriage", one step down from marriage proper.


On the contrary - if I thought civil partnership were some sort of second-class institution, why would I favour it over marriage?

Individual people have to make individual choices. Some people may prefer marriage over civil partnership; others may prefer civil partnership over marriage. Gay people are currently in the position where they can make the choice either way and straight people aren't. That is quite clearly discriminatory against straight people and I fully expect the law to be changed in accordance with the judgement.

 
suze
1289401.  Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:18 am Reply with quote

I certainly don't disagree with your last sentence, and I too hope that it comes to pass as you expect.

But I cannot see very many reasons to prefer one form over the other. The legal treatment of persons who are civil partners is by now almost identical to that of persons who are married. Adultery is not grounds for the dissolution of a civil partnership, while it is grounds for the dissolution of a marriage (ie a divorce), but I can see no other substantial difference.

No one ought to enter into a civil partnership or marriage intending to commit adultery in any case. I would certainly be rather suspicious if my partner (of either sex) expressed a preference for civil partnership, wondering whether perhaps this was his/her reason for preferring it.

So while I entirely agree that a thing which is available to same sex couples ought also to be available to opposite sex couples, is there any longer any real reason for both institutions to exist?

 
GuyBarry
1289477.  Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:31 am Reply with quote

Probably not. In my ideal scenario civil partnership would be the only institution recognized by the state, and the term "marriage" would have no legal force. Religious and other organizations would be free to carry out marriage ceremonies if they wanted to.

That's very unlikely to happen, though.

 
suze
1289504.  Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:27 am Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
That's very unlikely to happen, though.


It's not going to happen, no.

But does anyone know how marriage happened in avowedly atheist societies like the USSR? While the Russian Orthodox Church was never completely suppressed, belonging to it wasn't encouraged and was probably incompatible with achieving high rank.

So were marriages all civil events like the register office ceremonies of today, or did people still have religious weddings and the authorities pretended not to notice?

If it was the former, that is perhaps not a million miles from what Guy advocates.

 
tetsabb
1289526.  Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:34 pm Reply with quote

IIRC, in the old Советском Союзе, you had a civil ceremony and then immediately went to your local war memorial to lay a wreath. I imagine something similar in today's North Korea.

 
suze
1289563.  Mon Jul 09, 2018 4:29 pm Reply with quote

Thanks, tetsabb.

It looks as if you're pretty much on the money as regards North Korea. According to a piece in The Guardian (3 Aug 2015), you take flowers to the statue of the Eternal Leader Kim Il-sung when you get married.

 
Jenny
1289572.  Mon Jul 09, 2018 8:19 pm Reply with quote

In France, I believe, civil marriage is the only legal marriage. You have a civil ceremony, after which you are recognized as legally married, and then if you wish you can have a religious ceremony.

 
tetsabb
1289598.  Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:43 am Reply with quote

Same in Austria.

 
suze
1289641.  Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:32 am Reply with quote

In fact, I discover that really quite a lot of European countries require a civil ceremony, whether or not there is also a religious ceremony. It is the civil ceremony which makes a couple legally married, and in most cases it must happen before any religious wedding.

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, and Switzerland all work this way. Slightly to my surprise, so does Turkey.

No country in Europe requires weddings to be religious, although - and again slightly to my surprise - Israel does. In Israel, only the Christian (various Orthodox denominations, and also the RCs), Druze, Jewish, and Sunni Muslim religious authorities may conduct weddings, and cross-religious marriage is illegal. Israelis wishing to marry across faith lines usually do it by flying to Cyprus for a civil ceremony, which is then considered a valid marriage on return to Israel.

 

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