Equality still has a long way to go. Civil Partnerships seem to be giving a false sense of equality, but in reality they are not. If any of you really think the opposite, then explain why such partnerships are not portable once you leave the UK? Recently Canada, a member of the British Commonwealth ditched Civil Unions in favor of full marriage equality, as did South Africa, yet another commonwealth member. If those two countries were able to get it right, we should have been able to have done the same, but instead opted for second-class citizenship and unequal status, another reinforcement of our obsession with class structure. True, Blair did a lot of things in our favour, but lets face it, if he truly believed in equality, he would have supported our right to legally marry. He caved in to religious bigotry and hypocrisy.
There’s a lot of negativity going on about Blair and his contribution to gay rights. True, civil partnerships are not equal to marriages; true, in the early days, Labour held back pro-gay legislation. In fairness though, Blair’s ideology centred around the middle ground, the ‘Third Way’, the compromise. If Labour been gung-ho and done too much too soon, like somehow magically enforcing gay weddings on a par with heterosexual ones, they would have been forced from power by a largely conservative electorate. You might call that cowardice. I call it realism and being sensible- the fact remains that you can’t bring about change so quickly because you’ll be ousted, but you can’t make any change at all if you’re not in office! Labour did what they could, whilst still retaining the small-c vote that got them where they are. It ain’t perfect, but it’s something.Ten years after ‘Things can only get better’, they still can improve, but at least we’re not at rock bottom any more.
Is this the same Blair who’s goverment wanted to force in a law allowing the Sectoning (incarsiration in psychiatric wards) of menny groups including Queers on the say so of one doctor?So not only did he want to make anything but Hetrosexuality a disorder but he also wanted to lock us up.All praise the PM!
“The greatest nation on earth”. Why not of the universe?
I’m still waiting for someone to actually explain why civil unions are second class. Marriage is a religious institition designed hundreds and hundreds of years ago for men and women, and supported by the Bible. I’m not a Christian, so I don’t want a marriage. I don’t want to marry a woman, so I don’t want a marriage. I don’t NEED or want a marriage. Civil unions are a modern creation designed exactly for what I need. I’d really appreciate someone clarifying this whole “second rate” stuff. Seems like a militant, uninformed, half baked idea to me.
Marriage may or may not be supported by biblical references, but it does not state that marriage MUST be between a man and woman. You have to understand the context and time in which it was written like many other references in that often conflicted book much of which was not written by God or Jesus Christ but by men. For example, adultery and divorce are forbidden as is the eating of shellfish, shaving your beard; husbands are permitted to kill their wives and children; husbands must stay away from their wives during menstruation and oddly, polygamy is allowed, the list is endless. Yet socalled believers in scripture, the same ones who reference one scant verse in Leviticus to justify discrimination and condemnation of homosexuals conveniently choose to ignore them for obvious reasons. They have no moral authority or superiority to say who can and cannot marry based on all I’ve said.Yes, maybe we’re not at the bottom anymore because of Blair’s support of some semblance of equality for us and yes, maybe he would have been ousted from office if he’d pushed for full marriage recognition. We saw the venom coming forth from the religious right groups when the delivery and goods and services laws were being debated. Such laws were already protecting heterosexuals who were and are “free” to marry. What these new laws have done is create a separate set of laws for a separate group of people. That is NOT equality. I only hope that any of you who register for Civil Partnership don’t find themselves working overseas where I am (in the USA). If I had been in a Civil Partnership and my job had brought me here to New York, it would have NO recognition whatsoever or anywhere else for that matter and I could never expect any protection or access to the rights and privileges bestowed on heterosexuals via marriage. That is one of the reasons why full marriage equality is vital and necessary. Its the gold standard, nothing less. Why do you think that here in New York State, Governor Eliot Spitzer recently ordered that any gay couple legally married outside the state, yes “married”, must have those marriages recognised by the state? In his wisdom, he recognised that marriage is a civil right, not a religious right and that everyone should be treated equally and fairly without exception and without creating a two tier class system, one for heterosexuals and another for homosexuals with different sets of laws. If Tony Blair had truly been interested in full equality, he would have also offered Civil Partnerships to heterosexuals who didn’t want to marry. In a true democracy, ALL people are treated equally regardless of religious conviction and bigotry. Marriage is NOT solely a religious institution. Have none of you heard of Civil Marriage?So again, if any of you find yourselves having to work abroad and are partnered, just remember your partnership means nothing to the laws of the land in which you will reside. You will have absolutely no rights, protections or privileges that only marriage can grant and neither will you children, for those who are parents, either biological or adopted.Robert, NYC, USA
Ray, I sincerely hope things will only get better for the Gay community in the UK. Many seem to think they have all their equality, but lets not forget we don’t, yet at least. Being truly free to legally marry would be a huge hurdle for us to get over but would virtually gives us full equality. I’m from London originally and I’ll concede that the UK has done far more than the US on equality issues thanks to Blair, in fact light years ahead, but I was reading an article in one of the local papers here regarding recent legislation that passed Civil Union laws in the state of New Jersey. The New Jersey legislature last year recommended that all Gay and Lesbian citizens of that state should be accorded all the rights, protections and privileges that only marriage confers without exception, but left it to the state to make up its mind whether to call it marriage or Civil Unions. They opted for Civil Unions. But now….a state goverment watch-committee has been monitoring the way this equality legislation is functioning and they’re finding out that many companies in New Jersey do not recognize Civil Unions as marriage, so they can discriminate against Gay couples in terms of pension plans, private health insurance, family leave to take care of a loved one who is sick, infirm, and child care which does not cover Civil Unioned gay couples who happen to have biological or adopted children, in othere words, their children are also discriminated against because their parents are not legally married, some of the many things that heterosexual married couples are automatically entitled to. Such Civil Unions are not recognized in other states either if a couple relocates because of a job change. All of that is in violation of the state constitution to guarantee equal rights for all. Full marriage recognition would take care of all of that with a lot less bureacracy than exists now for Civil Unioned couples. Not soon enough.Robert, NYC.