Thursday, June 14, 2012

 

Equal Marriage Consultation – Supporting Equality Before the Law and Personal and Religious Freedom

The Coalition Government’s consultation on making marriage more equal closes today. If you’ve not supplied your own response, don’t leave it to the massive vested interests of the bigots, their money and their lawyers to enforce discrimination on everyone else. Back equality before the law and personal and religious freedom instead.

You can respond to the consultation here until later today (either 5pm or midnight according to different sources, so better make it 5); here are the consultation paper and the impact assessment; if the Home Office website crashes, email your answers to equalcivilmarriage@geo.gsi.gov.uk before the deadline. Here are mine.

Question 1: Do you agree or disagree with enabling all couples, regardless of their gender to have a civil marriage ceremony?

Agree

Question 2: Please explain the reasons for your answer. Please respond within 1,225 characters (approx 200 words).

In 21st Century Britain there’s simply no justification for the law discriminating against people – it should treat everyone the same. It’s wrong for the state to decide that some citizens are second class and must be forced to use separate facilities (no-one who talks about “separate but equal” in order to exclude people ever wants to be on the “separate” side). We wouldn’t countenance banning mixed-race marriages today; same-sex marriages are exactly the same case.

Marriage – and civil partnerships – should be based on the principle of equality before the law. That makes the law simpler as well as fairer, and stops such awful ‘anomalies’ as forcing transsexual people to divorce in order to be pushed into the right ‘category’, or UK law not recognising people married in other countries.

It should be up to any couple (same-sex, mixed-sex, same-race or mixed-race) to decide how to celebrate and protect their relationship, and the law simply to recognise that. Both marriage and civil partnerships should be open to all, on the same basis, and there should be simple legal procedures to convert either into the other.

Put simply, it’s no-one else’s business but a couple’s to decide if they get married.

Question 3: If you identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual would you wish to have a civil marriage ceremony?

Yes

Question 4: If you represent a group of individuals who identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual would those you represent wish to have a civil marriage ceremony?

This question doesn’t apply to me

Question 5: The Government does not propose to open up religious marriage to same-sex couples. Do you agree or disagree?

Disagree – religious marriage should be opened up to same-sex couples

Question 6: Do you agree or disagree with keeping the option of civil partnerships once civil marriage is available to same-sex couples?

Agree

Question 7: If you identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual and were considering making a legal commitment to your partner would you prefer to have a civil partnership or a civil marriage?

Civil marriage

Question 8: The Government is not considering opening up civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples. Do you agree or disagree with this proposal?

Disagree – civil partnerships should be opened up to opposite-sex couples

Question 9: If you are in a civil partnership would you wish to take advantage of this policy and convert your civil partnership into a marriage?

This question doesn’t apply to me

Question 10. We would not propose introducing a time limit on the ability to convert a civil partnership into a marriage.

Agree – there shouldn't be a time limit
(This question and answer was contradictorily worded in the paper, but has been clarified on the site).

Question 11: Do you agree or disagree that there should be the choice to have a civil ceremony on conversion of a civil partnership into a marriage?

Yes, there should be an option

Question 12: If you are a married transsexual person, would you want to take advantage of this policy and remain in your marriage while obtaining a full Gender Recognition Certificate?

This question doesn’t apply to me

Question 13: If you are the spouse of a transsexual person, would you want to take advantage of this policy and remain in your marriage whilst your spouse obtained a full Gender Recognition Certificate?

This question doesn’t apply to me

Question 14: Do you have any comments on the assumptions or issues outlined in this chapter on consequential impacts? Please respond within 1,225 characters (approx 200 words).

Rules for pensions should be equalised between marriages and civil partnerships, men and women.

In particular, the law should recognise a continuing relationship for pensions and other benefits any civil partnership that converts to a marriage (or vice versa – both should be made simple), and provide recompense for the financial harm added to the emotional harm in forcing trans people to divorce because of the current discriminatory marriage laws.

Question 15: Are you aware of any costs or benefits that exist to either the public or private sector, or individuals that we have not accounted for? Please respond within 1,225 characters (approx 200 words).

Your own quoted research suggests that more LGBT people would wish to marry than currently take up civil partnerships; many civil-partnered couples would wish to change their status to a marriage; if civil partnership, too, was made gender-neutral, many mixed-sex couples who do not wish to marry might still want the legal security of a formal partnership. All of this implies a significant gain to the Exchequer and to the many industries which make money out of marriage ceremonies, particularly in the first few years after a change in the law.

I do not agree with setting a time limit on conversion from civil partnership to marriage (or vice versa) – how can the law set a clock on people’s changing feelings? – but there should be a major discount on registration fees for people currently in civil partnerships converting to marriage within, say, the first year, as they were previously denied the right to marry and paid for the only option legally available.

Question 16: Do you have any other comments on the proposals within this consultation? Please respond within 1,225 characters (approx 200 words).

The proposals do not go far enough, and are unnecessarily complicated – likely to lead to further changes in the law in future. Why not take the opportunity now to simply enact equality before the law?

Let every couple choose for themselves whether to enter a civil marriage or a civil partnership, without the state laying down extra gender-limited rules.

Further, the state should be neutral on religious marriage. Many large religious bodies wish to enshrine discrimination. Well, that’s their business for their own churches, but not for everyone’s. All churches should be given religious freedom to marry people or not on their own doctrines. The proposals would stop religious freedom for denominations (such as Quakers or Reform Judaism) who wish to recognise equal marriage, and allow bigger religious special interests to bully them. It’s religious discrimination by the law. That can’t be right.

Labels: , , , , ,


Comments:
So, if you reduce it everyone can have a partnership or a marriage whats the difference? Surely just having a universal marriage system would make sense - then people can start working how to dela with the Poly issue :)
 
I'd agree with you in theory, but I know quite a few people who don't like the idea of marriage - but want a simple legal procedure to protect their relationship rather than having to jump through every lawyer's hoop separately. I suspect it would never be as popular as marriage, but good to have the option open for people uncomfortable with the baggage.
 
Nice of them to announce it. I looked on your blog and saw the link and I think I was either the last person to contribute or the first to miss the deadline.
 
Hope you managed to slip in, Tat!

I think the Church of England did a fine job in both publicising the consultation and winding everyone up to say the opposite in the last few days.
 
There have been so many stories about men in purple frocks griping about same-sex marriages that I just shrugged, noted that this week's tantrum risked putting 'antidisestablishmentarianism' back on the political agenda, then went back to worrying about Theresa May's attempts to sabotage my own marriage.
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?