Saturday, 10 March 2012

Marriage, civil partnerships & freedom

The prospect of gay marriage has again appeared on the horizon and the furore that accompanies it, isn't far behind.
As with almost all debates, the extremes of both sides are the most vocal whereas a majority of the rest are centralized so much closer on either side of the pivot point.

It occurs to me that much of the trouble comes down to differing definitions of the word, some see it as a term of commitment and love, some see it as a child rearing partnership and some see it as a religious ceremony and many more definitions besides.

This difference in opinion should not cause too much undue distress however just like a lot of things, the state gets involved and has to have 'an official position' which is bound to just piss SOME people off.
This is where we need to think outside the box.

The state needs to drop ANY recognition of marriage.
Much of what is useful in the term can be taken exclusively into the realms of civil partnership. This can be transformed from a ceremony to just a legal document signing, a contract of partnership.
This will be open to anyone who wants to take part. By that, I literally mean any adult able to give consent, and any number. If people want to have more than one partner, as long as that is agreed with all participants why not?

The state, will recognise these partnerships much in the same way that it does marriage & present civil partnerships and the partners will be entitled to all rights & bound by the responsibilities.
This will really be true equality since everyone will be entitled to everything equally.
Then it comes to the other bit, marriage has been divided into two subsets, religious and civil. The civil part would become defunct and the religious part [so your particular faith and/or god(s) recognise it] can carry on being as exclusive or non exclusive as they want.

Anyone can call themselves married and anyone can claim someone else isn't married (just as they do now) but because the term will be completely meaningless and subjective, there will not be a state sanctioned 'right' definition or answer.
If you WANT to have a ceremony, have one. If you want to get married in a pub between rounds of drink, you can. Will everyone recognise it, no, but you can't force anyone to anyway.
The fact is, that marriage cannot be owned by any one institution and therefore officially allowing and officially dis-allowing is only going to infringe on people's right to define it themselves.

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