I don’t know what just happened but the words ‘illegal’ and ‘banned’ have once again united themselves with homosexuality, thanks to this government’s expediency in changing marriage laws. It feels as though we’ve moved one step forward towards equality and ten steps back as gays and lesbians still can’t call themselves equal under the law.
You have the right to get married… Just not where the heterosexuals do it
Yes, even in 2012 as the world came to town to watch our spectacular, all-inclusive Olympic extravaganza and marvelled at our strident moves towards fairness and equality – homosexuals are still ‘locked’ out of the legal system.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller outlined a proposal of “quadruple locks” to keep homosexuals still very much distinct from our heterosexual brothers and sisters, and within these locks we also lose some of our equality rights as well. Does this sound like a step forward to you? Does this sound like something you want done in your name?
When Prime Minister David Cameron announced that “gay” marriage would become legal in this government’s term, the gay community had never felt so welcomed by a Tory premier, but it came with caveats. These four get-out clauses were outlined yesterday and in her statement Mrs Miller promised a “quadruple lock” to protect religious freedoms involving:
1) No religious organisation or individual minister can be compelled to marry same-sex couples or to permit this to happen on their premises
2) Making it unlawful for religious organisations or their ministers to marry same-sex couples unless their organisation’s governing body has expressly opted in to provisions for doing so
3) Amending the 2010 Equality Act to ensure no discrimination claim can be brought against religious organisations or individual ministers for refusing to marry a same-sex couple
4) The legislation explicitly stating that it will be illegal for the Church of England and the Church in Wales to marry same-sex couples and that Canon Law, which bans same-sex weddings, will continue to apply
In essence, anti-gay sentiment can still rear its ugly head from the pews and altars of un-’opted in’ churches, bigots can still hide behind their bibles and an amendment to the Equalities Act 2010 which leaves us with less rights than before – and of course we’re still illegal in the Church Of England – an organisation which has been developed and presided over for centuries, with some remarkably ‘godless’ acts including divorce, to suit. Lest we forget.
So you can now have your gay sex with your same sex partner in the houses of Christian B&Bs but you definitely can’t tell a congregation of loved ones, that you love, cherish and adore your same-sex partner in the eyes of your God or a un-‘opted in’ priest.
For me the question of marriage equality has never been about whether a man and a man or a woman and a woman should get married in a Church – it was about the naming rights for the partnership between two people. I don’t want to get civilly partnered, nor do I want to be dissolved should the need arise. Firstly, anything with the word ‘civilly’ in it sounds dreadfully 70’s and like a council initiative; secondly, the other is best left for the Solpadeine plunked in ice cool water for the day after our marriage.
In a perfect world couples regardless of the orientation of sexuality should have a partnership that suits them. Civil or Marriage. Heterosexual or Homosexual.
This current fudging of the law has once again brought religion in to marriage and put the words illegal and gay in the same sentence. Marriage – has always been a contract. Contracts are legal. Legal is politics and people. Again the gay community find themselves in the bright and unfaltering light of religious judgement and I for one am fed up of it. I want subdued backlit lighting, from John Lewis and the right to call my relationship to my partner a marriage. Isn’t it time we separated Marriage and religion for everyone?
Apparently, we’re still not good enough for God(s), and his/her various places of worship. Just who is getting God’s messages on this issue? We’re not still using that dusty old book introduced in the current vernacular in 1538 to base our judgements on equality for every man, woman and beast on it, are we? If so we’d better start untangling our entire legal system.
And incase you’re wondering on what grounds you can separate from your newly wedded husband – adultery isn’t one of them. The government says it has no plans to change the definition of adultery or non-consummation of your marriage. That’s right, the sex or the affairs we may have as homosexuals aren’t even equal in the eyes of the law. By process of elimination does this mean that gay marriages will be recognised by law anyway if we can’t consummate, even if we bugger in front of Christian B&B owners? This means that neither can be cited as grounds for divorce.
We’re still very much on the periphery. Always the bridesmaid – never the husband in the eyes of the congregation.
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.