Saturday, March 07, 2009

Put your own house in order first Gordon!

Gordon Brown has attacked the ban on same-sex marriage recently passed in California. (BBC News: Brown attacks US gay marriage ban & PinkNews: Exclusive: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown declares Prop 8 gay marriage ban "unacceptable") Perhaps he should first look at the situation in the UK, where he can do something about it.

Under the enactment "Proposition 8" the situation in California is that mixed-sex couples can get married and same-sex couples can get inferior civil partnerships. This is exactly the same unequal arrangement that exists in the UK. Worryingly people are now calling for civil partnerships to be extended to mixed-sex couples, with some unable to disguise their hope that it will lead to the extinction of marriage.

So here's a simple suggestion. Let's sweep away this two-tier, pseudo "separate-but-equal" arrangement, abolish civil partnerships and make the state marriage laws gender blind and available to all. Any couple should have the right to enter into this great institution, to partake in the responsibilities it involves and derive the benefits from it. Those who do not wish to enter into marriage should not be entitled to the benefits by any side provision.

It will be an equal system. And there are other benefits as well - it will be a simpler system than there is at the moment. It will protect marriage in the way the current arrangement does not by removing inferior alternatives and allowing more people to partake in it. And if the UK Prime Minister wants to condemn inequality in other parts of the world, he will not be a hypocrite.

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