It was World Pride Day in London yesterday and I’m stuck in Yorkshire. So I thought I’d do a few posts over the following days about LGBT stuff. This is the first one. It’s something I think I should’ve done a long time ago but I didn’t have the words to explain it all. I still don’t, really, but I’ll try.
Because, to me, it should be an absolute no-brainer that we expand marriage to same-gender couples. Hell, I’d say “to all consenting partnerships” – and yes, that does include polyamorous relationships. Really, there isn’t a reason why we shouldn’t.
Marriage isn’t a religious thing. It was never a religious thing. If it was, I, as an atheist, wouldn’t be able to get married! But I can, quite easily, by walking down to the nearest registry office. It’s always been about society recognising commitment and relations between partners, and by extension, the State giving official recognition to these relationships. And as it’s a function of the State, can we really justify the discriminatory practices of restricting marriage to opposite-gender couples? No, we can’t.
Especially in the UK, to which the Church of England owes its existence as not just another arm of Rome due to a disagreement with the Pope with marriage. It’s amusing seeing the Catholic Church, for one, trying to interject into the debate when they lost it in 1534, and it’s sad to see the Church of England trying to block efforts for both religious civil partnerships and civil marriage in the House of Lords. It’s amazing that we still have members of the Church in the legislature. Especially in a society where we’re free to practice whatever religion we can, it’s them using their clout to infringe on the religious rights of those sects like the Quakers who want to bless same-gender partnerships. Basically, don’t want a same-sex marriage? Then don’t get one.
I’m also glad to see that Lynne Featherstone is also using a transgender equality argument as justification for expanding marriage to all couples. One of the downsides of the Gender Recognition Act is, of course, if you’re in a marriage you have to dissolve it to get your gender legally recognised, and convert it to a civil partnership. It’s a tough choice to make, and it’s cruel to force someone to make it. Sarah Brown (she of transgender Cambridge city councillor fame) made an Out4Marriage video a couple of months ago, and she shows how much it hurt her to have to make that choice.
And of course, there’s always the personal touch. While I’m not much of the marrying type, some of my friends are, gay, bisexual and straight, and they are committed and as loving as possible. Their relationship becoming a marriage won’t desecrate the sanctity of the institution, not in a time when Kim Kardashian got $18m for a 72-day marriage, or in an age where a four-time divorcé can rant about how the gays are ruining his marriage. No, when I see my friends with their partners, I see more love than I see with most straight couples. Why shouldn’t we recognise that love?