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Straight couple don’t want ‘patriarchal’ marriage

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  1. Good luck , although I hate the patriarchal argument around the historic nature of marriage,,,..I find the idea of marriage linked with baggage a bit naff in 2010!

    I wish they would try using the argument of a different sex CP from Holland whether they be Dutch or British coming/returning to live and work in the UK?

    What would their sitution be? Would the UK give them no rights, would they have to dissolve their CP in Holland first and then be forced into a marriage in the UK in order to get rights… This is a real problem , a little more important than the patriarchal one..

  2. I agree, John. It’s insulting to all people who are married to suggest that they live in some kind of 19th century version of it where the ‘little woman’ has to stay in the kitchen and obey her husband’s every whim blah blah, when the reality is that this is the 21st century and marriage has moved on a million miles from that. A marriage is what you make it.

    I too wish they’d have used a better argument. This one just seems silly because, although they’re entitled to their opinion, it has no basis in truth today.

  3. I can’t quite remember the reasons given by the other people but most of the people that I know who don’t want to get married are those who have already been married before and have subsequently gone thru a divorce and couldn’t face another marriage…I guess CPs have a different name but the rights and obligations are more or less the same?

    …. a CP dissolution can be just as bad….

    I think the best argument is just that it’s simply discriminatory and we shouldn’t have different laws for straights and gays…there isn’t any valid reason anymore to segrate us … the pushing forward by Lynne Featherstone and others of hymn singing , exchanging rings and holding candles and relgious texts , effectively making CPs a reglious union shows that …..

    I just wish Stonewall, Lynne Featherstone and others would start saying how they wish to move forward on the marriage equality agenda and NOT how they can move foward to the next stage of CPs ie relgious CPs…

    If we are at the stage of pusing for relgious CPs (and I don’t ever remember being consulted as a member of the gay community whether this was a priority!) then surely we are at the stage of asking for marriage (civil and relgious!)

  4. Jock S. Trap 7 Dec 2010, 7:59am

    Would be good to start the 2011 with this Legal challenge. There’s no reason why it couldn’t go the equal for all way but we should prepare ourselves for the Christian extremists to start their campaign soon after if/when this succeeds.

    It’s great that the likes of the Quakers, Liberal Jews etc support, wishing to perform but you just know that the religious extremists will put a stop to all those who want the Freedoms.

  5. OK. I’m confused. I thought all this had been sorted out and people were getting married and making civil commitments right left and centre.

    Must admit I never thought of marriage as I saw the lie of happy ever after at the beginning and believe only a true friendship and loving caring relationship will last no matter in or out of marriage of whatever outside observances are kept or performed. But I thought all this had been sorted. Hence registrars getting in trouble for refusing to marry same sex couples.

    Marriage and personal relationships were seen at one time as a personal and civil thing. State and church being out of it – it was a private matter but bounded by expectations and bonds. What happened?

    Why can’t people make their own personal commitments without any of this. I hate state and church being involved in any of my personal stuff so would not go there in the first place, although oppose the laws that discriminate.

    Ah well. Good luck.

  6. June: “Why can’t people make their own personal commitments without any of this. I hate state and church being involved in any of my personal stuff…”

    Because it is the state and the Church that make the laws. Personal commitments are all well and good, but they should also be legally binding, so that everyone else recognises that fact.

  7. I don’t think the patriarchal argument is so absurd. Currently marriage creates husband/wife couplings exclusively, two DISTINCT roles that are linked with a very clear patriarchal history and are based on the assumption that a marriage brings one man and one woman together: two opposites that come together, complete each other, blah blah.

    Until marriage becomes gender neutral, it will not have truly accepted the complete equality of its parties.

  8. Val, what are these distinct roles? They’re not compulsory, are they? People can choose to take whatever role they want in a marriage in the 21st century. All my married straight friends have marriages of equals – what else would they have?

    The patriarchal argument is laughable in this day and age. It’s a pity this couple didn’t just emphasise the inequality of not allowing gay people to marry. We should ALL be able to choose to marry or not.

  9. FeministSmithie 7 Dec 2010, 1:34pm

    I agree, Val.
    Iris, as Val stated, as long as the parties allowed to marry are defined by sex, those roles will remain.
    Of course a (straight) couple can choose to make marriage what they want, assuming that they both want the same thing, and recognizing that their desires are informed by cultural norms.

    Those of you who think that marriage is no longer patriarchal should look at the proportion of women who still change their last name to their husband’s at marriage (or give their children the father’s name): that’s a symbol of ownership, and relegation of the woman’s identity. That’s patriarchy.

  10. John, a different sex CP from Holland or anywhere else for that matter wouldn’t be recognised in the UK. They would probably be told they would have to marry as you said in order to get any rights. That’s the dilemma both straight and gay couples are in right now. I too reject that old chestnut in regard to the patriarchal argument around marriage. Marriage today is a 50/50 contract. It has evolved with time and it will continue to do so as we’re now seeing in ten countries that allow us to marry. There’s no going back, it will continue. All of us in the UK have to get on Summerskill’s case as well as Clegg’s, Milibands and last not least Cameron’s. We get nothing unless we do something about it, make a lot of noise, 24/7, 365.

    You can also forget about religious CPs, not going to happen. Maybe the Quakers, Unitarians might consider it since both support marriage equality, but mainstream C of E and Roman cults, absolutely NOT. Quite frankly, who really cares if they do or don’t? Religious cults don’t own civil marriage or civil partnerships. Featherstone et al are wasting precious time and avoiding the inevitable.

  11. Hi FeministSmithie. I agree that in the UK marriage currently has the meaning of ‘one man and one woman’. I think marriage should be gender-neutral.

    What I don’t accept though (although I do accept that you and Val are entitled to your opinion :) ) is that this necessity of ‘one man, one woman’ leads to any role being forced upon either the man or the woman. Yes, we currently require two distinct sexes to make a marriage, but we do NOT require two ‘different’ people. By that I mean that each person has their own character prior to marriage and that stays the same after marriage and they are not compelled to fit some kind of you-can-only-be-like-this mould.

    Yes, most (I think?) women do take their husband’s name, but not all, and I believe it’s gradually becoming less common amongst younger couples. As long as the woman makes a choice, then that’s fine. After all, it’s not automatic, is it? You have to apply for a new passport if you choose to change your surname; you have to notify the tax office etc etc. No-one assumes that you’ve changed your name just because you marry. Surely it’s all about choice?

    You mention cultural norms informing a married couples wishes. Obviously, that’s true to a certain extent but I wonder what exact norms you’re referring to, apart from the possible name-change? See, all I can think of is the old ‘norm’ that the wife stays at home and does the cooking and cleaning etc, but I don’t know any marriage where that happens amongst people my age. Marriage has no baggage for me, and I’d like the opportunity to get married if I want to, just like I would have had if I’d been straight.

  12. Actually, widow’s and widower’s pensions are calculated differently and there are a few other legal differences between men and women in English marriage.

    It is not a 50/50 contract.

  13. Robert – relgious CPs, yes I think this is harder to achieve than civil marriages so I don’t understand why this takes priority over it – but what I understood was that lynne featherstone and lgbt orgs were pushing for this – is this the change they are referring to when they keep saying they want to see how to progress the CP agenda? If it is then I too think it is a waste of time and resources and they shoudl really be seeking marriage instead!

  14. Personally, I think Stonewall are pushing for religious CPs to further fix the place of CPs in society. They are determined that that’s all gay people should have and furthering CPs in this way is one strategy to ensure they become accepted as the norm for gay people. I think they’re labouring under the idea that we’re ‘oh so radical’ that we need to be ‘special’ when all most gay people want is to be equal. Stonewall seems to be still in the 1970s on this matter.

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