Comments on the news today from religious organisations about opening up marriage to same sex couples shouldn’t be surprising, but they are still saddening. As if the Church of England being created so that a king could get divorced didn’t irrevocably change society. As if men and women marrying and then divorcing within weeks, pretending to go to church in order to marry in one, or being forced to marry hasn’t already done a fair bit to damage the ‘glorious institution’ of marriage. Why should someone’s orientation or gender have anything to do with whether or not they can legally commit to the person they love? And why does it have to be one rule for ‘us’ and one rule for ‘them’? If you haven’t done it yet, you should fill in the Home Office’s equal civil marriage consultation survey. The government proposes to do the following:
- enable same-sex couples to get married through civil ceremonies
- retain the option of civil partnerships for same-sex couples, including the ability to have a civil partnership registration on religious premises (on a voluntary basis and retaining the ban on any religious elements forming part of the registration)
- allow transsexual people to change their legal gender without having to legally end their existing marriage or civil partnership
- allow couples currently in a civil partnership the option of ‘converting’ their existing civil partnership into a civil marriage
- make no changes to how religious marriages are solemnised
It is also worth highlighting that the website states “this consultation is about how we best remove the ban on same-sex couples having a civil marriage, not on whether this should or should not happen.” They just want to know how best to do it, so it’s worth filling in to put your point across. There are also questions about whether opposite sex couples should be allowed to have a civil partnership (which I would personally prefer to getting married), so it’s worth filling in the survey if you have strong opinions on that too. Don’t let those who are anti-equality shout the loudest!
Image taken by @ladyuhuru at last year’s ‘Kiss in’ protest against homophobia.