13 Jan 2010

Marriage Equality for the UK

gay-marriage-map-europeCurrently, eight countries and several jurisdictions in the world allow same-sex marriage. These are Belgium, Canada, The Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, a handful of US States and Mexico City.

As I wrote earlier, there is also a campaign to bring gay marriage finally to the UK, but mostly it’s focused in Scotland. www.equalmarriage.org.uk started a campaign in Scotland March 2009.

Currently ‘Civil Partnerships’ are said to provide all the rights of marriage but the name to gay and lesbian couples. However, the freedom to ‘marry’ in a church or another house of worship is also not granted as there is a ban in place on this, even if the religious institution wants to. The Quakers called to end this injustice in July last year. (See also: “Why Christians should support same-sex marriage”)

Secondly, it is the concept of a separate but (yet actually not fully) equal law. One set of laws for straight couples, one for gays & lesbians. Just like there used to be different set of laws for blacks and whites in South Africa or the US. Separate but equal is not equal and this is why we have to stand up for equal treatment now more than ever as the parliament discusses the Equality Bill.

For all UK residents, please write to your local MP about this injustice or copy & paste the following into an email from on findyourmp.parliament.uk :

Dear MP,

I note that Lord Alli has tabled an amendment to the Equality Bill on
allowing religious civil partnerships, and I write on this matter.

Although this would correct a major problem in the Civil Partnership
act, that it ignored religious same-sex couples, if this were to go
through, it still leaves a major problem with the system of
relationship registration in Britain.

There exists one relationship registration system for same-sex couples,
and another for opposite sex couples. These systems, though designed to
look alike, are different, and therefore I believe they are unequal and

Using another word may seem like an easy answer to equality, but it
deprives same-sex couples of the terminology of love, refuses them the
fullest blessing from the state of their relationship and denies them
the respect from society and the community that marriage automatically

Even if my partner and I were to go abroad to a nation that did
recognise same-sex marriages and marry there, as soon as we got back to
Britain it is relegated to a civil partnership.

I would like to see an amendment tabled that allowed same-sex couples
to have a civil marriage, or a religious marriage if that particular
religion allowed it (such as Quakers, Liberal Jews, or the Metropolitan
Community Church). Equal rights, I believe, must mean that straight and
gay are treated the same, ruled over the same laws, and judged by the
same standard.

Civil Partnerships were of course a significant step forward, but
rather than making a separate system more like the thing it is trying
to emulate through this amendment, same-sex couples in Britain should
simply be allowed the same marriage rights as all other couples in

Yours sincerely,

Your constituent.

Thanks to LGBTNetwork for this (http://www.lgbtnetwork.eu/?p=4009)

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