Again, I have nothing to write about. So let’s talk about the thing that had my Facebook wall all a flutter yesterday – the vote in the House of Commons to legalise same sex marriage. It was approved with an overwhelming majority. 400 votes to 175, a majority of 225. And reading the comments on the news reports is definitely an interesting way to kill an afternoon.
To be honest, this probably isn’t something I should be writing about. I wasn’t even aware of this vote happening, and I don’t even pretend to know how this changes anything. To be honest, I already though same sex couples could get married in the UK. But turns out that’s just civil partnerships. I realised I didn’t actually know the difference, so went online to the findlaw.co.uk website and found this:
There is, essentially, very little difference legally between a marriage and a civil partnership except that the former is intended only for heterosexual couples and the latter for homosexual couples.
The difference exists principally due to protests from religious groups about recognising same-sex couples and heterosexual couples in the same way. In fact, religious institutions are not legally permitted to perform civil partnerships.
I guess I’m glad that same sex couples can now be married in a church that is willing to provide that service. If you’re religious, having that denied must be hard to deal with. But it did make my mind go to a pretty bad place – which a lot of people won’t agree with.
Of course, my opinions on marriage are pretty poor – far too many divorces and affairs for me to really take it seriously. But it’s supposed to be this important religious ceremony – and over the years through celebrities and a consumer market, more often than not it just become an overblown party that exists to bankrupt people in an attempt to outdo each other. The ‘love and commitment to each other’ part seems to have gotten lost in the modernisation…can you see where I’m going with this?
Now that marriage is available to homosexual couples, why shouldn’t civil partnerships be available to heterosexual couples? I’ve always thought the world would be better if marriage was made a lot more exclusive. Return marriage to the religious ceremony it’s supposed to be, while a civil partnership’s take the overblown and non-religious couples. By giving people the choice between a legal union and a marriage, it means you can also add requirements to marriage.
Sure, there will be people insisting that a civil partnership is not a marriage! They will want to be married, despite not being religious, solely because of that. Here’s the part where people will get mad. If both were made available to everyone, marriage could only be accessible to people of that religion – the ceremony, the reasons for divorce (yes, that’s never far from my mind) and all things in-between could be returned to what it was.
And why not? The church is screaming about the sanctity of marriage. People want equal rights for all. Why not remove marriage from the legal equation and let people have an alternative that does not have religious connotations? Marriage is religious. If you’re not religious, why should you need to be married when a civil partnership will give you a non-religious equivalent?
No doubt I’m oversimplifying the problem, and actually putting a law in place that denies someone something they once had will get the human rights board screaming, but to me, it just makes sense.