Why we need gay marriage rights, not just civil unions (includes obligatory manicure ;)))

HRC

After seeing a lot of blog posts of the issue of gay rights, I decided I should do one as well, with an obligatory manicure. I used Butter London Pillar Box red and added strips of OPI Voodoo Pink on the ring finger. It was a bloody nightmare, Pillar box Red is a wonderful formula for a red creme over the whole nail but a bastard to do a tape manicure on. It took 3 tries to get this right and then I realised I probably needed a strip of red up the top but had not motivation at that point!

Anyway, it seems that a lot of people are leaning towards this idea that there is a simple solution to the issues of gay marriages which is letting churches run religious weddings however they want, and civil unions taking on the role of government/civil weddings.

I don’t think it’s entirely satisfactory though. Imagine if when women where agitating for the vote we were told ‘Look, it’s not that you can’t vote, it’s just people will be very sensitive it we say females can vote. So instead you can have an opinion. We’ll count all the opinions and it totally means the same thing we just won’t call it ‘voting rights.” Words do have meaning and weight, and marriage is one of those. It means something different to many people to say husband/wife/married rather than partner/defacto.

Equally, most couple don’t get married in a church.In Australia only 30% of couples get married in a church these days, it’s about 40% in the UK although as far as I can tell the US has a much higher rate of church based wedding. (I can’t talk to the culture in the US, so my thoughts are really more specific to the Australian context).Marriage is acknowledged as a largely civil institution these days in Australia and it’s wrong to hand ownership of it back to the churches.

Finally, I think that we have to consider how comfortable we are with letting churches make statements that would be discriminatory in other circumstances. What about if the church didn’t allow inter-racial marriages? Would it be something we brushed off as ‘well, it’s what they believe’ or would there be moves to change it? It’s easy to accept it as OK because people choose to join churches but it affects all the related parties, the kids growing up in families having to attend those church services and so on. I think it still comes down to a comfort level people have around whether homosexuality is a choice vs fundamental characteristic.

Seperate but ‘equal’ is not a great solution to civil rights, it’s segregation.

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