Firstly, let me start by saying I don’t think I have anything original to say on this subject. I just want to show my support.
Now that the Marriage (same-sex couples) Bill has been backed at a second reading, they’ll doubtless be thousands of similar blogs across the UK publishing their joy – and their relief. And thank goodness for that! It’s really important that people – no matter their sexuality – get behind the bill because it says so much about the country we live in, our friends, our rights and our future.
As many have commented, one day the generations that follow ours will wonder what all the fuss was about – they might stumble across blogs far superior to this and experience it as an alienating kind of history. And to be perfectly honest, the generations that have issues will have probably gone to the grave by then, their bigoted views dying with them.
There’s a (frankly) disturbing video of Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale claiming that he was ensured that the Civil Partnership Bill wouldn’t lead to equal marriage. He now wants to scrap civil partnership in favour of ‘civil union’, entirely missing the point.
MP David Burrowes was quoted in the same BBC article; “marriage is a great way of celebrating the difference between a man and a woman”. Now, if I ever were to marry, it wouldn’t be because I wanted to celebrate lacking a penis. I’m a massive fan of Don’t Tell the Bride, and I swear there’s never been a vow which involves a description of differing anatomies or hormones. Therefore, this quote concerns me even more than Gale’s as it appears to affirm Burrowes’ belief in breadwinner/housewife stereotypes.
More refreshing is MP David Lammy’s more emotive response in support of the bill; David Lammy, Labour;
“There are still those who say this is all unnecessary. Why do we need gay marriage when we already have civil partnership, they say. They are the same – separate but equal – they claim. Let me speak frankly – separate but equal is a fraud. Separate but equal is the language that tried to push Rosa Parks to the back of the bus…. Separate is not equal so let us be rid of it.”
Marriage is not exclusively a religious institution. It is a sacrament in many religions, therefore being part of their institutional structure, but these religions do not have ownership – and nor should they have control – of the definition. It’s the legal, social (and hopefully in most cases, emotional) union of two people.
Next Tuesday at 11pm on Radio 4, equal marriage supporter (and one half of a happy civil partnership) Susan Calman will be explaining why she calls her ‘civil partner’ her wife and how she can’t wait to have the term legally recognised. I did a video interview with her ahead of the broadcast, which you can watch here.