So finally today, after years of debate and of ‘civil partnerships’ being allowed for gays and lesbians, the British parliament are voting on a bill that would legalise gay marriage in England and Wales. It has also been called ‘equal marriage’ by some.
I would just call it marriage. Gay or not, it’s the same thing to me.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill would enable same-sex couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies, where a religious institution had formally consented, in England and Wales.
It would also allow couples who had previously entered into civil partnerships to convert their relationship into a marriage.
“Same-sex marriage is an important step forward and will make our society stronger” Prime Minister David Cameron has said. “Today is an important day. I am a strong believer in marriage. It helps people commit to each other and I think it is right that gay people should be able to get married too,” he said.
The fact that the Prime Minister himself is so strongly behind this bill (which I believe he initially introduced.. correct me if I’m wrong), says a lot for the progress being made in this county when to comes to equal rights.
I personally would just call them ‘rights’ since we all pay the same taxes, so should have all the same ‘rights’ regardless of whom we love.
The government believes that the wording of the bill will ensure that the Church of England and the Church in Wales will not face any legal challenges to their strong stated opposition to holding same-sex marriages.
All religious organisations will be able to opt in to holding ceremonies – but the Church of England and the Church in Wales would first need to agree to change canon law.
I personally think it’s interesting that these religious organisations think that gay people are going to somehow ‘force’ a church to perform their marriage. In fact, I personally find it somewhat delusional that the government had to put those exclusions in the bill in order to satisfy the religious-right that this change to marriage won’t intrude on their religious rights.
But regardless of how it is happening, or even if I kinda think the wording of the bill is slightly pandering to religious groups, it is still a momentous step towards everyone having the same rights, and every citizen being treated the same. Period.
Will this be the end of the fight for gay rights (if it is passed, which the political pundits seem to predict it will.. fingers crossed)? Or is this just another step towards finally allowing the labels a lot of us live under to die out, and allow universal acceptance of all?
What do you guys think?