Gordon & Sarah can’t marry, they’re already married. What a tit.
Ooo, he’s a scamp, isn’t he?
My thanks are with Peter Tatchell is making that important point.
Thanks to Margaret Tatchell for demonstrating what pointless whinging gay rights activists are now reduced to. Civil Partnership is Marriage in all but name. Now stop wittering like some schoolkid and get a f–king life.
Even if civil partnerships were “marriage in all but name” (and there are still some disparities, most particularly in terms of international recognition) that would still not be good enough.
There is a word for the maintaining of “separate but equal” institutions, using different laws and provisions to attempt to provide the same thing to arbitrarily defined groups within society. That word is apartheid.
Names are important. They carry cultural weight and value. “Marriage” is a word redolent with implications of commitment, profundity, significance and importance. “Civil partnership” is a bureaucratic term utterly devoid of such culturally meaningful sentiment. It sounds like something that is no more significant to society than taking out a small business loan or getting a dog license. Why, if they are of equal cultural value, do we not have hordes of married straight people clamouring to call their marriages civil partnerships? Why should we put up with being assigned such a patronising, second-rate term for our unions?
Furthermore, if the government were serious about granting us equality, why not just give us full marriage using exactly the same laws and procedures as straight people? Why come up with an extra procedure that is, apparently, the same thing, but with a different name? Surely if the intention is that there be no difference it is utterly pointless to introduce an arbitrary difference? Unless of course there is some other agenda at work, something like, oh I don’t know, appeasing the conservative lobby and the vile religious parasites in the house of lords?
Would we stand for it if black people were not issued with birth certificates for their children, but instead had to get “civil issue” certificates and call those children “civil offspring”? Would there not be huge outcry if brown-haired people were issued with driving licenses but everyone else had to have “civil vehicle operation licenses”? Could there be any doubt as to the intended discrimination and disparity in a system where men voted for their government but women were only allowed their own separate-but-equal “civil administration selection” procedure, with their own pink ballot papers that were counted separately, and went toward electing special “womens’ mps” who all sat together in a different part of the house of commons?
So why, when the situation is exactly the same apart from it being the gays who are discriminated against, is there such unconscionable apathy? Because we have civil partnerships and should be grateful for what scraps we can get? Because we think, deep down, that our unions are not as special or important or worthwhile as straight marriage?
Peter Tatchell has hit the nail right on the head here, and deserves our gratitude for being moral enough to speak up about this travesty.
I think Tatcell should have perhaps handed Sarah a letter to give to Gorden Brown since he was that close to her! In the melee she may not remember what Tatchell said anyway!
I agree entirely with the comment from Vincent (above). He has put the case perfectly. We still have a long way to go before we break down this cultural aprtheid. (Incidentally, I have been with my partner for 47 years – longer than most ‘normal’ marriages last!)
Names are important. They carry cultural weight and value. “Marriage” is a word redolent with implications of commitment, profundity, significance and importance.’
You’ve hit the nail right on the head. The cultural weight and value that marriage stands for all over the world, no mater what language or level of ‘civilisation, is man/woman. That’s what makes it so difficult. I live in Holland. Gay marriage, though called the same name, is still seen differently, and these marriages are not recognised in most of the world. Therefore when my Gay friend was transferred to another country he was unable to take his partner with him as spouse, because that country held firmly that two men could not be married, but culturally or legally, never mind their certificate.. That’s just the reality.
RobN: “Black people in the USA prefer to be known as ‘African Americans’” is untrue; some Blacks in American perfer to be known as African American. You should try not to make such sweeping general comment about a group of people whom are all different.
The last time I checked black people in America were not legally required to call themselves anything – they can use black, coloured, negroid, African-American or whatever they like. The reason that a lot of these people might choose “African-American” is that they perceive the alternatives as somehow patronising, degrading or reinforcing of inequality. Now, were they required by law to refer to themselves as “blacks” and forbidden from their preferred form of nomenclature, then the situation might be comparable. As it is they are entirely unrelated – we are forbidden by law from calling our unions marriage, the government has stated unequivocally that it DOES NOT think the two are the same thing, that the gender of the participants IS valid grounds to discriminate.
I repeat – names are important. Words have cultural connotations, and language can change attitudes. If the language itself preserves, and preserves with overt legal sanction, a discriminatory usage as the official state policy, it perpetuates the discrimination therein. Why do people respond so negatively to verbal racial abuse, or verbal homophobic abuse, or indeed any other kind of purely verbal abuse, if language does not have power? Language is an incredibly powerful force in society, and an incredibly powerful tool for encouraging tolerance, acceptance and respect. We cannot afford to overlook it. Why did we reclaim the word queer? Why did we adopt the word gay in the first place? Why are we so concerned that some people these days are trying to use it as a term of abuse? Why do we not go around calling people niggers and pakis or spastics and cripples anymore?
By fighting for equal recognition on equal terms, with the same words used to show this, we are sending a powerful message to society at large, and particularly the younger generations, that we are equal and deserve to be treated as such. Because no amount of protective legislation or practical opportunity is going to avail us if homophobia still persists in our society. Using a colourless bureaucratic fudge phrase like “civil partnership” singles out gay relationships as something different, unusual, unorthodox and questionable. Using “marriage” normalises gay relationships, fits them in as part of the everyday fabric of society, and taps in to the vast reservoirs of respect and acknowledgement everyone instinctively opens to straight relationships. It does nothing less than stand up for our full personhood as individuals. So no, I can’t actually think of anything better to do with my time.
Or, to put it simply, if it is marriage, why call it something else, if it’s not marriage, why the hell should we put up with it?
Vincent, well said. RobN, what you say is ignorant and hurtful.
Married gay people deserve the right to have those marriages recognised in the eyes of the law. There is no justifiable argument against this.
I totally concur with Vincent – I live in a country where people like me are given equal rights and non-discrimination protections in chapter 2 of the Constitution (Act 108 of 1996) and we are further protected by the ‘Equality Act’ (Act 4 of 2000) – we gained legal same-sex marriage in December of 2006 when the country’s highest court – the Constitutional Court – ruled in favour of Fourie & Bonthuys in the case of The Minister of Home Affairs v Fourie & Bonthuys in December of 2005 and gave the legislature one year to rectify this injustice that preceded the decision of the court.
I grew up in a country where the appalling word and concept of ‘Apartheid’ was coined. The fascist bigots of those times invented the disparities that came with the supposed ‘separate yet equal’ doctrine. I was luckily very young (12) when we gained democracy and the most honourable and virtuous man – Nelson Mandela – became our president.
Those that were never affected by inequality and discrimination are always quick to shoot down any argument promoting full and comprehensive equality.
Vincent’s spot-on. It’s not the travesty it is in America – as I believe we do have equal rights – but it’s still a big issue that it’s treated seperately. Allowing us to marry also carries an important, albeit subtle, practical benefit. We have equal rights now, but what if there’s some sort of beneficial reform to marriage laws? Will the reform affect us, too? And you can bet that politicians can feel free to take rights away from us based on public opinion without it affecting marriages.
See, if marriage was all there was, we could rest easy. Any benefit would benefit us all, and any reactionary legislation would never see the light of day, as that too would affect both straights and gays.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The religious zealots will NEVER back down, they consider they “invented” marriage and retain the rights to it’s use; We need to level the playing field from the other side. Make Civil Unions compulsory to ALL partnerships. Marriages will then be considered ceremonial only, and have no legal standing. That way everybody will have the same rights, and the concept of marriage can die a death along with the antiquated churches that support it.
Interesting, universal approach, RobN. It might work if we equate marriage to slavery, or would that be exaggerating?
Well argued, Vincent, and welcome to these pages. Your reasoning and knowledge are a delight.
And well done, Peter. As usual!
Vincent, I totally concur and have constantly been on the receiving end of anti same-sex marriage haters who think that civil partnerships are marriage, yet the government makes it quite clear that they are not. What is so sad about these marriage foes is that they think the rest of the civilised world is going to follow suit and that civil partnerships are radical and that they will become universal norm. How delusional is that? Seven countries and several states in America have abandoned them, proof positive that they are not equal. There is NO portability with a civil partnership once you reside, work or travel outside the UK to any of those seven countries. In the EU for example, those countries other than Holland, Belgium, Spain, Norway and Sweden where gays can marry, there is a hodge podge of varying degrees of unions, partnerships for same sex couples, each having unidentical rights, some more, some less than others. The marriage haters think that’s equality. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with it but is a way to silence those of us who demand the same rights as the rest of the society with the same recognition. It also has NOTHING to do with semantics either, don’t fall for that one, they’re in denial about a lot of things. I bet if British straights could enter into a civil partnership, there would be few takers because they’re not universally recognised and signify nothing. Its the reason why our government refuses to recognise same-sex marriage performed elswhere but downgrades them to civil partnerships once a couple enters the UK. They don’t want to confront full marriage equality for their own gay citizens. Its absurd, ridiculous and highly offensive to those same sex couples who are actually married legally elswhere in the more progressive, advanced countries than our own.
Nerntham: Well they say marriage is an honourable institution. If you get married, you ought to be in one. ;o)
Vincent Poffley (and others), if you check the outcome of the consultation before civil partnerships were introduced, those who took part actually preferred a unique by equal institution not using the term ‘marriage’ to be set up.
I would rather chew my own tit off than support Labour, however grudgingly I would have to credit them on this occasion with actually listening to what people wanted and implementing it.
I would however make a few observations on this though:
1) It probably suited their purpose to do it anyway, as it would be easier to slip past the God-botherers if it wasn’t called a marriage.
2) Those consulted may have assumed that it was more likely to success that a full on assault of the tradition of marriage that some may have viewed it.
3) They may have considered civil partnerships a stepping stone to the end game of same sex marriage
Either way, civil partnerships were requested and provided.
My suspicion is that all three of the above conditions were highly significant in these consultations. That does not change things one bit though – civil partnerships are still a highly patronising, unfair, unjust form of apartheid and any gay person lobbying for them instead of full marriage rights is implicit in perpetuating discrimination. Those who said they would be happy with “just” civil partnerships were either short-sighted, cowards or genuinely did not consider gay relationships the equal of straight ones. Even staunchly catholic Spain granted full marriage rights straight away – it is stretching credibility too far to assume that we could not have done the same thing here.
Bear in mind that RobN voted BNP in the last election. He is a facist sympathiser.
Simon, is that true? How do you know? It doesn’t surprise me, of course.
I think you will find that a gay man can marry a woman, just as easily as a straight man
Bear in mind that Simon Murphy makes up this shit as he goes along, just like the doomed Labour Party he rims on a regular basis.
Just like the Labour Party, instead of coming up with an intelligent counter-argument, he just slags off the opposition, and if/when that fails, he lies.
Bear in mind nobody gives a sh*t
It appears there is rather a lot of poor behavior in British politics if the UK still has special marriage laws just especially for straight people – now well into the 21st C. already. So much for rule of law. Equality means equality not almost equality, to establish anything less than equal marriage is a victory for the heterosexists. It reinforces their superiority complex. Hey UK, stop aiming so low and get with the program.