Quick but important question. If here in Australia homosexual couples were allowed to be “married” rather than have a civil partnership, what additional rights would they receive that are not already conferred on them by that civil partnership?
I ask since the question is repeatedly framed around the term “rights” but for the life of me I can’t see what additional benefit is gained other than the label of “married” itself.
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The “label” is precisely what is wanted. The word “marriage” refers to a legitimate sexual relationship which society approves of (yes, it is more than that, but that is a big part of it.) The agenda is effectively to receive formal social approval of a homosexual relationship. See my paper at http://works.bepress.com/neil_foster/40/ for more details.
My sentiments…There are those within the LGBTQ community that want the same reality as opposite gender marriages. There are also those within the LGBTQ community who wouldn’t ever care to get married. Long story…I was once gay identified…and yes, thought of getting married to my then gay partner, but we decided against it. Heterosexual marriages didn’t look so successful in our eyes. But many people within the LGBTQ community it was about a solidifying of their relationship other than just a civil partnership.
Now that I am married (to a woman), I see a much larger and bigger picture regarding this issue.
A few years ago I recall someone saying that gay civil partnerships were necessary because then people could inherit after death and be the next of kin on medical notes. We have that freedom anyway, a single person gay or otherwise can name who they like on a will and hospitals have to respect the patients’ rights about who can be contacted about their condition and so on. I think that the push for marriage is more to do with normalising homosexual behaviour than obtaining rights.
It is worth noting that the European Court of Human Rights has recently ruled that there is no right to same sex marriage. Here is the press release on the UCHR site
I am married. I would not consider my marriage to be about a civil relationship. I consider it to be a commitment of a spiritual and emotional relationship, that commits to love, not just sign papers with my darling. There is joy and comfort in our forever promise. I am guessing this is what the homosexual community is seeking the right to claim and be supported in publicly. I believe that God’s creation is a little complicated by alternative sexuality … something I do not understand. God’s love is something that I do understand. I pray that we may all know this love through Christ, despite our limitations
Thanks for commenting Sarah. Yes, I do agree that that is part of what is being asked for and I’m sympathetic to that part of the argument. But a solution to that request does exist in the instrument of civil partnerships.
But sadly the campaign is about more than that. It’s about a need for those relationships to be seen to be equivalent in every way to a heterosexual marriage despite the fact that they are not. As I’ve written here before, when we say that something is not equivalent it is always presumed that is must also infer a value judgement.
sorry, I’m not sure I explained that very well.
What’s being argued for in “gay marriage” is that a permanent faithful stable homosexual relationship cannot and should not be distinguished in any way from a permanent faithful stable heterosexual relationship. As you have pointed out, this comes largely from a desire by those involved (and championed by others) that their own relationships be valued and the assumption that if such “equality” is not recognised then their relationships (which are personally meaningful and rewarding) are not being valued in the same way and are therefore somehow diminished.
What I’ve argued in this post is that the argument of “rights” used to support this position doesn’t hold. Of course, there are other arguments being made as well – most of all the right to “equality”. But when one pursues that line of thinking there is also an inconsistency – the two relationships (independent of any statement about their moral value) are not actually equivalent in a number of ways. It is interesting, for example, to watch recent discussions in the British House of Lords over questions of consumation and adultery to demonstrate one aspect of this non-equivalence.
So yes, I think you’re very right to point us towards the deep desires that lie at the heart of many proponents of the “gay marriage” case and they should be taken seriously and (even though some of my friends will disagree with me) protected by law (as they already, of course are). But to call them “marriage” is to so dilute the meaning of the word that, actually, no-one wins. More than that, it is to do our society a disservice by failing to allow for variety and difference and be happy with it.
That’s obviously not an exhaustive answer but I hope it helps.