Britons, including many gays, would like to think that almost everything that defines equality for same-sex couples and gays has been achieved in the United Kingdom. Civil Partnerships are legal since 2004 and in law, have little difference to traditonal marriage. But the concept in itself is discriminatory. Why have a seperate, but equal law for gay and lesbian partners? Isn't it like racial segregation that was common in many countries just decades ago? Seperate schooling or bus seats? It is. "When I grow up, I wanna... 'civil partner' a prince?"
While heterosexual couples can refer to each other as husband and wife, me and others would have to refer to our loved ones as "my partner". People might think we are in a business relationship. Yet more often, it simply leads to awkwardness or confusion, since many still don't know what civil partners are. Until they are not "married" persons, it will never feel just the same.
The biggest single inequality yet is, that civil partnerships can NOT be formed religiously, like marriages can. Even if religious institution want to, they are legally not allowed to bless same-sex couples wishing to... (well, at least) be 'civil partnered'. A Scottish bishop recently pointed out that he would be breaking the law, if a civil partnership ceremony would be celebrated in his church.
The following projects are currently underway to fight for marriage equality on the Isles:
- United Kingdom
A simple online petition recenlty launched is to be handed to the Prime Minister to call for marriage equality in the UK. A simple signature and email confirmation will do. You have to be a resident address in Britain (you don't have to be a British citizens!) http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Gay-Marriage/
Another private project can be viewed here: www.equalmarriagerights.org
launched with help of student groups try to lobby the Scottish Parliament to lift the ban on both, same-sex marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships. If you live in Scottland, please support and share the campaign on www.equalmarriage.org.uk
- Republic of Ireland
Ireland's government is drafting a civil partnership law, simular to the one in the UK, but with lesser rights. An unexpected support from straight friends and family members is trying to persuade the government, that this is not enough! http://www.marriagequality.ie/
In polls, 81% of the public said different sexualities should be treated equaly.