despite what ex-pat rob thinks, i do support californians trying to challenge proposition 8, and i hope these lawsuits and protests succeed. I think the resulting mess, ie telling people who were legally married that they no longer are, or saying that gay married couples from a week ago are legal but from today are not, will hopefully encourage President Obama to enter this debate and try and come up with a federal solution to end this state by state, legal then illegal nonsense. But i think if he tries to call his solution “marriage” he will generate an avalanche of opposition. And he’s already sated that he is against Gay ” marriage” though his politics point to him being very much in favour of equal rights under the term civil partnership. This was Tony Blairs position. He stated that in his opinion marriage was between a man and a woman, but equal rights were for everyone. It’ll be interesting to see which way the US now goes. Will American Gays turn down full fedral equal rights to fight the semantic fight for the word “marriage” If they do, then i am willing to support them but i think they will have a very very long and bitter fight on their hands…
Andy, FYI, all 18,000 plus marriages already performed in California will remain LEGAL. This was not a retroactive proposition. It can still be reversed on appeal or legislated via democratically controlled state senate and assembly. Most democratic politicans are in favour of marriage, not civil unions. Domestic partnerships (or civil partnerships) have been the law in Californa before civil partnerships were law in the UK. They have proved not to be equal in countless discrimination lawsuits involving employment, housing and the children of such unions. Marriage is the only vehicle that will put a stop to it once and for all. Further, most politicians running for high office in the U.S. would never come out publicly declaring their support of marriage equality, it would be political suicide. Once elected, they often evolve. Obama has already stated, unlike his conservative counterparts in the republican party, that he would NOT oppose any state’s right to expand marriage to same-sex couples and he publicly endorsed the defeat of proposition 8. Nor does he approve, along with most democrats, of a federal ban on same-sex marriage either, again, unlike the conservative opposition.
Again the American approach to this has been unsophisticated and has ultimately failed as they so often do with they sledgehammer approach to an issue.
I agree with you Andy that civil partnerships would have provided a compromise that all parties could have accepted. Laws could have been changed to ensure that full equality of rights existed between the two institutions to ensure that the ‘equality’ issue would have been successfully dealt with for the gay community and the church could have clung on to the ‘sanctity’ of marriage.
As with this country civil partnerships could have help to promote the stability of gay relationships amongst the wider straight community and dispel the notion that we’re a bunch of moral-less whores. Every mention of civil partnerships would endorse the notion that gay people can enter into wholesome, meaningful and committed relationships, rather than allow for them to be hidden under the generic ‘marriage’ term.
Alas though, many of those campaigning have been brainwashed by a vocal few into thinking that having equality means having the same thing, rather than having something of equal value, worth and function.
Maybe the few that do actually realise that there are other countries across the shores from America, other than Mexico and Canada, can maybe look at some of the civil partnerships best practice elsewhere.
I feel sorry for the many people who merely wanted their love for each other cemented by legal recognition, who have lost everything now by bullies pushing their own agenda.
robert, what you always fail to acknowledge is that civil partnerships on a british model do not “fail” on any of the “countless” levels you mention that civil unions in california did. British civil partnerships are identical to marriage. I am as i said totally willing to support an american movement for gay “marriage” if that’s what the majority of american gays want, but wish you would acknowledge that civil partnerships British style, are just as good as gay marriage and infact BETTER because they were politically uncontraversial and were supported by both the main political parties, so passed into law 3 years ago. Also you say the 18,000 marriages that took place in california are still legal but ONLY in california, they mean nothing as soon as they couples enter another state of the same country! For people like me, or PlainJane who answered one of your posts earlier and who have american partners, they offer us nothing at all, whereas British civil partnerships offer our american spouses EVERYTHING, full residency,full working visas and a fast track to citizenship. No US gay marriage can offer anything at all to a NON-American partner, unless they are enacted at a federal level and while you are still insisting on the word “marriage” that will never happen which is why me and plainjane and our american partners live in the uk with equal rights to married heterosexuals in every way. I don’t want to sound anti-american, because I’m not..i “marrried” one after all, but one of the main reasons for Civil Partnership legislation in the UK was to allow non-EU partners of British gays and lesbians a way to remain in the country legally, Is it a sign of America’s insularity that you seem to miss that point entirely when you praise these state by state gay marriage initiatives which can have no immigration rammifications. My government respects my love for an american man enough to give him full citizenship based on our relationship. Every part of our application starting at the british consulate in chicago, to our ceremony at my local town hall in London, to our dealings with the home office re his residency visa and citizenship application have been identical to a straight couples. No american state can possiblbly offer us the same thing. Hardly surprising that i think British Civil Partnerships are better.
To add to Andy’s comments about British Civil Partnerships, the fact is that in any case those with CP’s are generally now referred to as married (and ‘getting divorced’) rather than ‘civilly partnered’, (which is obviously ridiculously cumbersome). This has been a gradual but inevitable process starting in the press and then trickling down to the general population (actually, it might have been the other way round!): at first the right wing press took spiteful pleasure in emphasising CP’s were not marriage; then then they just spoke of ‘marriage’ in inverted commas…nowadays gay couples are just referred to as being married without comment. Once the language has been established, he thinking follows and this makes it makes the legislation, if it’s really needed, much easier to nod through later on. As Prop 8 has demonstrated, if you give simple-minded bigots a clear and simple target to aim at they’ll shoot it down. I wholly agree that it’s shameful not to have complete equality for everyone, but one has to be realistic about how to achieve that the most efficiently.
Actually, having read the previous posts, I think Mark’s is the view I’d align myself with. Pragmatically if the evangelical right in the States can see you coming, the word “marriage” is a lightning rod that immediately makes them dig their heels in and deny you the basics. Maybe a two tier approach will get the results we crave sooner rather than wading into the culture wars guns blazing. After all, the main difference between marriage and ‘civil partnership’ is simply vernacular, with a hint of religion, and for the majority of us, the religion bit isn’t so important. Stepping stones to equality may be a better way to get it.
That said, having re-read the previous posts I take on board Robert’s point about employment discrimination in the States… I take it that “civil partnership” doesn’t quite carry the same weight across the pond. Maybe that’s something to campaign for?