Whilst I really wanted to write about my wedding dress (which was delivered on Thursday), there has been something far more important on my mind this week. It has taken me almost a week to write this post as, I’m nearly ashamed to say, I had to go and do some research on the topic to make sure I wasn’t talking utter rubbish.
I guess it’s just a sign that, whilst I take it for granted to be able to get married pretty much wherever I want, to the man I love and want to spend the rest of my life with; for some this has been, and continues to be, not the case.
Now you may wonder what the hell is going on. There is me talking about that double wedding of me and my brother to our respective partners. The fact is that whilst countries such as Spain, Canada, Argentina, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden and Belgium have already legalised marriages between same-sex couple, in some places (including Germany and the UK) this is not yet the case.
Back in March, the UK Government started a 12 week consultation on whether to allow same-sex marriages. On the back of the Government’s consultation, the Church of England has responded on Monday of this week, and created a bit of a storm.
It has warned that proposals by the Government to legalise gay marriages by 2015, would “alter the intrinsic nature of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as enshrined in human institutions throughout history”.
What all this means is that whilst “civil partnerships” were introduced in the UK back in 2005 to give same-sex couples the same legal rights as married couples, the law does not allow such unions to be referred to as marriages. This may seem like a small matter but believe me, it really is not.
Irrespective of the definition of marriage (‘the formal union of a man and a woman…’), and the definition of gay marriage (‘the legally recognised union between partners of the same sex…’), let’s just take this back to basics for a moment.
What all four of us are doing is making a commitment to our partners to spend the rest of our lives with each other, whatever the future may bring. My brother and his partner (who by the way have been a couple since 1996) will not have given this any less careful thought than my partner and I have. It means exactly the same to them as it does to us. All we want is to celebrate this decision with our friends and families and just be treated the same…
Whilst I’m allowed to say I’m getting married, my brother has to refer to the fact that he is “entering into a civil partnership”.
So, dear Church of England…
On the 18th August 2012 I will be getting married. My brother and his partner will also be getting married. All four of us will spend many happy years in our respective marriages. Whilst my brother will not have a piece of paper confirming his ‘marriage’ (yet), we will shout from the rooftops and tell anyone who will listen!
The Government’s consultation is now closed and I will be keeping a very close eye on the outcome.
On a final note, whilst I can even see how some church members could be offended by potentially (as they call it) having marriage redefined, my best advice would be that if you don’t agree with same-sex marriages, you simply do not enter into one. As Christians at Pride point out, some Christians are gay…get over it! Which brings me to the point that there is a World Pride march in London on the 7 July 2012.
If you happen to be in London, please go and show your support! (And if anyone is happening to travel on the day from Leeds please get in touch!)
(The dress didn’t fit by they way so I’m off back to the shops…)