I have been asked a few times lately what my point of view is on same sex marriage, by both straight and gay friends As part of the conversations I had, I realised that many people have what I think of as a ‘skewed’ idea of what marriage is all about.
Now why do I say that? Well it is not that I mean they have ideas about how a marriage might or might not work. The key thing that almost everyone seems to think is that ‘marriage’ is a religious act. Now even my ‘non-religious’ friends (some who did not get married in a church themselves) believe that the act of marriage is a religious thing!
Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought a ‘marriage’ was in fact a ‘legal’ act, not a religious one. Yes, a lot of people choose to get married within a religious setting, such as in a church, but ultimately they sign a legal document that then legalises their wedding… in fact without this you are not really married in the eyes of the law.
Also a key point is that heterosexual couples are allowed to ‘get married’ in non-religious places, such as a garden, on a beach or even in a pub – where is the religion in that!? And yet they can still call it a ‘marriage’.
It is not good enough to say “but marriage is a religious act” as an argument, because that is not the entire truth, and besides non-religious heterosexuals being allowed to get married in a church simply makes a mockery of that argument.
I do agree however, that if the church does not want to allow same-sex marriages in their churches, then so be it, but they do not ‘own’ the copyright of marriage. I fundamentally believe that same-sex- partners should be allowed to get ‘married’ (be it in a garden, on a beach or in a pub) and call it just that. Marriage.
A ‘civil-partnership’ is not the same. If we call it something different, then it means something different. People know what the act of marriage means, what being married bestows on a relationship and the statement a couple make to their friends and family when they ‘get married’. We all know the importance of this. And no it is not the same when a couple make a civil declaration, it does not have the same gravitas and it certainly is not seen as ‘equal’ to a marriage by most people.
Until I can say “this is my husband” rather than “this is my civil partner” there will always be a disparate treatment and acceptance of same-sex partnerships.
And if R is reading this…. no I am not wanting to get married.