Kate and William, you choose!

It's all in a name

Here come the brides!  Gay protesters outside Buckingham Palace have delivered an early wedding card to William and Kate, asking for their support to allow gay people to marry.  Their card said, “You can get married, gay people can’t. We are banned by law.”

Well, that’s strictly true, but those gay folk could equally have said to Kate and William, “We can have a civil partnership, straight people can’t.  You are banned by law”.  It’s a choice how you see it.

They could say, as the human rights lawyer Robert Wintemute, taking the dispute to European Court of Human Rights says, the UK is using the law “to mark same sex couples as socially and legally inferior, and different sex couples as socially and legally superior”.   Where exactly does it say that gay people are inferior?  I’ve missed that bit.

So they could truthfully say, “Gay people can have a civil partnership, a different name but with identical rights and responsibilities.  It’s only a difference in name.”  It’s a choice how you see it.

Wintemute outrageously chooses to see this difference in only a name as comparable to the segregation on beaches and at drinking fountains that black people used to suffer under apartheid South Africa.  This was a genuine segregation that was an outward mark of awful differences in treatment under law denying rights to black people.  What one extra right, apart from the acquisition of that simple title of marriage, would the change in law give to us gay people if we could all call our civil partnerships marriage?

At Gay Life Coach, we choose to see civil partnership as an amazing right that has given us all that married people have.  The difference is all in name, but actually, we’re all the same.  Is it really worth all this effort and energy to get a legal change in a name that will make absolutely no difference to the rights and responsibilities we already have?

The real marriage gift to Kate and William from gay people could be to promise to show them the way to constancy, happiness and fun in their marriage by living out these qualities in the civil partnerships that we have the privilege to enjoy.

One Response to Kate and William, you choose!

  1. George says:

    I’m afraid I have to disagree with you on this, specifically the point about whether we should just be happy with civil partnerships.

    CPs should never have been created, They exist only because the right wing politicians could not stomach the prospect of two men or two women being “married” and the nominally left wing government was too scared to put their foot down. Thus the very existence of CPs says that gay marriage is unacceptable. The fact that the government was stupid enough to make CPs discriminatory as well doesn’t prove anything other than that two wrongs don’t make a right.

    It may only be a semantic distinction in some people’s eyes but when looked at as a culmination of a long process of acceptance, it’s profoundly discriminatory.

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