[Given this news: “Civil partnerships: First mixed-sex unions take place“, thought I would re-publish this post, originally posted 18/10/2017]
This article illustrates wonderfully the inequality that “equal marriage” has created, and the tautological nonsense that has ensued.
When marriage was divorced from the biological reality of a reproductive sexual union of a male and a female, and instead became based on legal entitlements (civil partnerships) and – even worse – romantic sentimentality (same sex marriage) then it was obvious to anyone who cared to think about it that chaos would ensue. Of course, no-one wanted to think about it too deeply, because that was the path of homophobia and bigotry!
If two people of the same sex are entitled to have a civil partnership – giving them just about all the legal entitlements of a married couple, but without it needing to be a sexual union – then why can’t any other two (or more) adults? There really isn’t any logical reason. As the author of the article attached has realised, civil partnerships have simply created inequality and injustice for far more people than they have ever removed it for.
And if two people of the same sex can have a “marriage” – though again, without any legal concept of consummation or adultery (so not equal to a conventional marriage at all) – then why not three or more? And why not siblings or family members – after all, there’s no chance of genetic offspring. The restriction is purely because of tradition, taboo and/or prejudice. In fact polygamy has a far longer, universal pedigree and a sounder biological premise than same-sex marriage.
So I have every sympathy with the author of this article and her “siblings couple bill”. But of course, this will not be enough because what about filial couples – like my sister and mother who also shared a lifelong, loving, financially interdependent, cohabiting, co-ownership relationship? So while I have every sympathy, the suggestion doesn’t have my support. You see, in order to make every relationship truly “equal” requires you to make every relationship equally special (and also to make the concepts of consummation and adultery redundant – or re-defined – as Peter Tatchell concedes). And once every relationship is special, then none of them are special – the original, explicitly stated aim of the Gay Liberation movement. Time to start filling in the holes, not digging them deeper.
To undo the tautological knots we have tied ourselves up in we need to go back to the age old understanding of tying the knot. It is expressed nowhere more beautifully than here – in the words of the marriage service in the Book of Common Prayer.