Same-sex marriage in Scotland
July 25, 2012 4:15 AM   Subscribe

The Scottish Government has announced that it intends to legalise same-sex marriage, and will produce a draft bill for public consultation within the year.

Following a recent poll by Stonewall Scotland and a survey [pdf] by the Scottish Government, both showing support from a majority of the Scottish population, the SNP government has announced it will bring forward a bill (which will be passed or blocked by a free vote in parliament) that will form the basis of legislation legalising same-sex marriage, with the Deputy First Minister suggesting that same-sex couples "want to strengthen the institution of marriage by being a part of it".

It was originally expected that the government would make an announcement on the 10th of this month, but this was delayed following a cabinet meeting, possibly due to potential clashes with the UK Equalities Act.
posted by Dim Siawns (69 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fuckin' YALDI.
posted by dudekiller at 4:23 AM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


They may face some opposition to this from religious quarters. But well done Scotland for doing this.

Equalities act? Don't make me laugh. In a class and priviledge-based society like the UK, some will always be more equal than others.
posted by marienbad at 4:26 AM on July 25, 2012


Good on them. It is storm in a teacup stuff once it becomes fact, much like civil partnerships.

I suppose after Katie Price and other so called celebrities who pad the tattle rags with daily updates on the state of their marriage, it has been increasingly hard for anyone in the UK to claim that the sanctity of marriage is being threatened.

/hurrumph
posted by MuffinMan at 4:26 AM on July 25, 2012


It's about time.

Hate to brag, but we've had it for so long we've had our first gay divorces a decade ago.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:27 AM on July 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Marriage is an institution of society, not religion.

It's high time the law recognised societies wishes and not those of ignorant bigots who wish to commandeer marriage for themselves.
posted by Shave at 4:32 AM on July 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yassss! On yersels!
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 4:35 AM on July 25, 2012


If it's no Scottish gay marriage, it's crap!
posted by Decani at 4:42 AM on July 25, 2012 [19 favorites]


They intend to make it legal for two people in love to marry each other?

It will take them a year to make a draft law!?

How can it take a year to write a law saying that a marriage between 2 adults is recognized?
posted by 2manyusernames at 5:00 AM on July 25, 2012


The whole of the UK is on course to equalize wedding laws at some point in the near future, so the Scottish government is jumping the gun for some--well-deserved--publicity and praise. It wonders me whether this will make the issue moot elsewhere in the UK, as surely any lawfully conducted weddings have to be acknowledged everywhere? Gretna Green rises again!
posted by Jehan at 5:05 AM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


No true Scotsman would oppose this law.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:07 AM on July 25, 2012 [30 favorites]


They intend to make it legal for two people in love to marry each other?

It will take them a year to make a draft law!?

How can it take a year to write a law saying that a marriage between 2 adults is recognized?
Because that's how long it takes to make properly drafted and consulted legislation, rather than knee-jerk laws. I don't know how it happens in the US, but it would be ignorant to suppose that other lawmaking systems work the same. But you know, thanks for playing.
posted by Jehan at 5:08 AM on July 25, 2012 [10 favorites]


Always amused me that one of the Scottish bastions of religious-based opposition to gay marriage (hell, gay anything) are the islands of the He-brides.
posted by Devonian at 5:13 AM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


The whole of the UK is on course to equalize wedding laws at some point in the near future, so the Scottish government is jumping the gun for some--well-deserved--publicity and praise.

True, but I also think it reflects the fact Scotland is generally a more progressive-minded country than England.
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 5:20 AM on July 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


True, but I also think it reflects the fact Scotland is generally a more progressive-minded country than England.
Governmentally, yes, but in overall I'm not so sure. Polling on same-sex marriage doesn't show Scotland widely ahead or really much different. Other areas might be different.
posted by Jehan at 5:33 AM on July 25, 2012


One way it could work in the states: putting the term "marriage" back into hands of the churches while also recognizing civil unions on the same federal level that marriage is currently granted. This allows churches to still deny same sex marriage to their hearts content, (but obviously not all churches) yet it also prevents religious organizations from interfering with civil unions and whatever benefits go with it. Married couples, and those in a civil union would then be treated on equal footing in the eyes of the government. It wouldn't matter if you were married in a church that is accepting of same sex couples, or just got a civil union certificate from the local courthouse. From there it's just a matter of the churches making their own decisions, and working out their own differences, controversies...no further acts of congress would be needed from then on out.
posted by samsara at 5:38 AM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Scotland is generally a more progressive-minded country than England

Always been keen on cross-dressing at any rate.
posted by Segundus at 5:41 AM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Scottish government have announced.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:47 AM on July 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I find this whole thing quite confusing. The whole of the UK already offers civil partnerships for gay couples, in exactly the same ceremonies that they offer for straight couples. The BBC says:
Civil partnerships in Scotland offer the same legal treatment as marriage in areas such as inheritance, pensions provision, life assurance, child maintenance, next of kin and immigration rights, but are still seen as distinct from marriage.

A man and a woman can opt for a religious or civil marriage ceremony, whereas a same-sex partnership is an exclusively civil procedure.
"Marriage" is only available through churches. There are all sorts of religious requirements handed down from the Synod or its various committees, but as far as the state is concerned, they're free to do pretty much as they please during the ceremony as long as the couple sign the register (which counts as a legal document, and gets passed on to the government) with a registrar (in practice, the priest) and a witness present.

But, also according to the BBC:
But it has been strongly opposed by the Catholic Church and Church of Scotland. ... and the Holyrood government has insisted no part of the religious community would be forced to hold same-sex weddings in churches.
So: Gay couples can already have exactly the same non-religious ceremonies that straight couples can have; the Churches say that they're not willing to perform religious ceremonies for gay couples; and the government have promised not to force them.

So, er, what is this going to achieve? Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favour of having symbolic equality on top of practical equality. But is this actually going to make anyone's life better?
posted by metaBugs at 5:48 AM on July 25, 2012


One way it could work in the states:...
I missed the bit where this was a thread about the US.
posted by Jehan at 5:51 AM on July 25, 2012 [10 favorites]


GREAT SCOTS
posted by argonauta at 5:51 AM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, er, what is this going to achieve?

There is a useful looking document here that details some of the differences that are still present between civil partnerships and marriage.
posted by BigYesh 2 at 5:55 AM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good. One more place on the path to equality. The more this gets normalized, the harder it will be to keep pretending that the world will end, we will all have polygamous marriages with our dogs, and so on.
posted by Forktine at 5:59 AM on July 25, 2012


One way it could work in the states: putting the term "marriage" back into hands of the churches while also recognizing civil unions on the same federal level that marriage is currently granted.

As New Jersey learned years ago, civil unions, regardless of how recognized they are by the government, are not equal to marriage. [pdf link]
posted by hippybear at 5:59 AM on July 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


There is one stipulation, though, a concession to the religious right: They must wear underpants under their kilts during the ceremony.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:01 AM on July 25, 2012


"Marriage" is only available through churches.

No - marriage is available to a man and a woman (who are not related or otherwise proscribed) who can be registered by an authorized celebrant (usually a priest, but e.g. the Humanist Society of Scotland have some) or a registrar. Those marriages are identical in Scottish law.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:02 AM on July 25, 2012


Jehan: I missed the bit where this was a thread about the US.

Er, you're the one who brought it up a few comments before:

Jehan: I don't know how it happens in the US, but it would be ignorant to suppose that other lawmaking systems work the same. But you know, thanks for playing.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 6:23 AM on July 25, 2012


Ya dancer!

metaBugs: "I find this whole thing quite confusing... "

You've misread the BBC report you're quoting. Civil marriage is a purely governmental function and it is possible to have a civil marriage with no religious involvement whatsover (I myself am in a civil marriage, which was held in a Registrar's office, as I'm not religious). If you're in a same-sex couple, you can sign up to the same thing, but it's not called marriage, it's a civil partnership. Which is a laudable (as in it was a first step) but very flawed separate-but-equal state of affairs.

The opinions of the religious matter not a whit in civil marriages, nor should they, as it's nothing to do with them. The Catholics can go on mumbling all they like about how two consenting adults shouldn't be allowed to commit to each other because, um, tradition. This is not about tradition. It is about love and equality. The Catholics and the Wee Frees can come up with/stick to all the definitions of marriage they want, but in a free, secular state where a growing number of people do not have a religion at all, they should not think that theirs is the only one allowed.

Very proud to be Scottish today.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:29 AM on July 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


ZenMasterThis: "There is one stipulation, though, a concession to the religious right: They must wear underpants under their kilts during the ceremony."

Rule Number 1 - Never go commando in a hired kilt. And most folks hire kilts for their big day, they're expensive. So it's a good general rule anyway.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:30 AM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Er, you're the one who brought it up a few comments before:
Yes, to protest somebody ignorantly complaining about how long lawmaking takes in Scotland. The point is stop comparing stuff to the US, or talking about the US, unless you have something useful or interesting to add. If you think it's okay to talk about the US is every damn thread, make a Metatalk thread to that effect.
posted by Jehan at 6:35 AM on July 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


From Devonian's link: "...polygamy, polyandry, polyamory, pedophilia". Heh.
posted by Leon at 6:35 AM on July 25, 2012


To address the US very quickly - as has been pointed out, "marriage" and "civil unions" may look the same, and have very similar legal functions, but they are not the same, and unless you actually mandate that the two terms describe an identical legal state - in which case you have fallen foul of legal redundancy - the existent of the two concetps will always lead to a risk of adjustment towards inequality.

Also importantly, the federal government recognizing marriages and civil unions as equal wouldn't change the rights of the states, who actually set the terms of who can certify a marriage (or civil union) and to whom. So, I don't see how you'd do it, without having a parallel process for federal marriage, with federal wedding dispensers - which would cause some problems...

I'm all for separating all unions into a secular legal process, after which you can have whatever kind of religious or non-religious party you want, but that involves having the same term and the same terms for everyone who wants that union.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:35 AM on July 25, 2012


(Whereas, as Happy Dave says, at present the British approach is a separate-but-equal compromise - certainly a lot better than it was, but still not _done_..._
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:37 AM on July 25, 2012


I missed the bit where this was a thread about the US.

My apologies Jehan. I was approaching that more from the viewpoint that we're all humans living on the same pale blue dot, experiencing the same debates. I mentioned it to draw a relative comparison on the larger topic of government recognition of same sex marriages, where the challenges seem to have a lot in common compared to where I live. (just like comparisons are also being drawn between Scotland and the rest of the UK above as well...and we do this quite often when talking about one state's laws vs the rest of our country without heavily considering the boundaries). I guess what I could have also mentioned is, it's a tiring issue here in the states (where I am). I'm excited to see that Scotland has overcome some major hurdles and is moving forward. I hope that we can one day follow...but for now, good on Scotland!
posted by samsara at 6:42 AM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Marriage" is only available through churches.

This is just plain wrong. Are you confusing civil ceremonies with civil partnerships or something? Additionally, civil partnership does not confer the same rights are marriage, notably in terms of adoption.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:47 AM on July 25, 2012


Ironically, in the Netherlands, gay church marriages were performed much earlier than state sanctioned gay marriages, though these didn't have legal recognition as such.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:49 AM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sadly, the ancient and highly controversial tradition of "prima nocte" remains in effect.
posted by BobbyVan at 6:51 AM on July 25, 2012


Next thing, Scotsmen will be marrying in skirts.

Oh, wait...
posted by Skeptic at 7:27 AM on July 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Man, the Scottish Nationalists sure are the nicest nationalists out there.
posted by schmod at 7:28 AM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes, to protest somebody ignorantly complaining about how long lawmaking takes in Scotland. The point is stop comparing stuff to the US

Although, oddly, that person made no mention of the US (where drafting a bill takes just as long as it does in the UK and in Scotland). You, Jehan, were the first person to mention the US in this thread. You have become the thing you hate!!
posted by yoink at 7:30 AM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just found out via my Mom's family researching that I'm actually way, way more Scottish then I thought, i thought I was pretty damn scotsy to begin with so my pasty hairy heritage swells and pulsates with pride at the news.
posted by The Whelk at 7:37 AM on July 25, 2012


Scotland: Catholic Church calls marriage an ‘unhelpful’ response to gay feelings.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien has been outspoken in his disagreement with the government, calling the idea a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”. [...] “We strongly suspect that time will show the Church to have been completely correct in explaining that same-sex sexual relationships are detrimental to any love expressed within profound friendships."

Some faith they have in marriage!
posted by Drexen at 7:40 AM on July 25, 2012


Wait, so the Government of Scotland surveyed its people, a majority of whom said they would like same sex marriage legalized, so the government is responding to the people and legalizing gay marriage?

Something about the simplicity of this arrangement hurts my brain.

Yay Scotland! Home of my ancestors! Boo Campbells!
posted by lazaruslong at 7:46 AM on July 25, 2012


Man, the Scottish Nationalists sure are the nicest nationalists out there.
Though the Cornish have the (crimped) edge in baked goods, I reckon.
posted by Abiezer at 7:47 AM on July 25, 2012


running order squabble fest and DarlingBri - Yes, I was under the impression that "civil marriage" had been subsumed into "civil partnership", and it was just an old term that was still hanging around. This is mostly because, when an aunt of mine got hitched with a guy a couple of years ago, I heard her refer to it as a civil partnership; apparently I came to the wrong conclusion from that.

Still, everything I've found in the past and in a few minutes' googling just now suggests that civil partnerships and (civil) marriages confer the same rights to the couples. You get a different word at the top of the certificate, which does suck in a "separate but equal" way, but it doesn't seem to cost you anything beyond that.

As for the adoption issue, it looks like couples are supposed to be treated the same whether married or partnered*, and whether gay or straight (e.g. Direct.gov and Stonewall). I have no idea how well that works in practice -- and I suspect that the answer would depress me -- but I can't find a reliable-looking source that says civil partners have fewer adoption rights than married couples. (To be clear: gay couples should have identical adoption rights to straight couples. I'm not arguing that they shouldn't, I'm saying that I've been led to believe that they already do, at least on paper.)

As I said in my first comment, I am in favour of changing the symbol to be equal: the same options should be available to everyone. So it's great that they're making marriage more inclusive, and thanks for the corrections about that. I just don't really see what difference it will make in people's lives beyond a single word in the name of the ceremony.

*As a side note, is this the correct word? My personal experience is that people tend to just say "married", but that could get confusing in a conversation like this. My google-fu is weak today, all I can find is loads of people asking variants on the same question.
posted by metaBugs at 8:03 AM on July 25, 2012


True, but I also think it reflects the fact Scotland is generally a more progressive-minded country than England.

Although they were 14 years later than England and Wales in legalising homosexuality (1967 in the former and 1981 in the latter, and not until a year after that in Northern Ireland). It always terrifies me and amazes me in equal measure that it was still illegal to be gay in half of Britain within my own lifetime.

It's nice that we can have come this far this quickly, really, even if we should have come further much quicker.
posted by dng at 8:09 AM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


You get a different word at the top of the certificate, which does suck in a "separate but equal" way, but it doesn't seem to cost you anything beyond that.

No buts. Separate is not equal. Period. End of story. The instant you acknowledge separate, you have acknowledged unequal, and therefore intolerable.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:10 AM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just found out via my Mom's family researching that I'm actually way, way more Scottish then I thought, i thought I was pretty damn scotsy to begin with so my pasty hairy heritage swells and pulsates with pride at the news.

I must be something like 1/4 Scottish (my dad's mum was a Wallace, and he has a generations-old family portrait of some pale people in tartan standing in a drab field), but I'm sorry to say that I don't seem to have the genes. I doubt I'd even recognise a haggis if I saw one frolicking on the hillside.
posted by metaBugs at 8:11 AM on July 25, 2012


metaBugs: "I just don't really see what difference it will make in people's lives beyond a single word in the name of the ceremony."

That is the difference. That's the point. It's the legal right to say 'I'm married to the person I love' rather than 'I'm civil-partnered to the person I love'. It may be a small distinction to you, but I can tell you it is not a small distinction to same-sex couples who are legally not allowed to call their relationships marriage, or the straight friends and relatives who deeply want them to be able to. The rights that go with marriage are important and that's why civil partnership was a good but not perfect first step. But the word is important. Our society places incredible emphasis on commitment through marriage and family units and all of those things are bound up tightly in the word marriage, a word which is itself bound up in civil legislation. With this step, the Scottish Government is saying 'you can have that too' in a civil context. Previous to this, a whole class of citizenry were arbitrarily denied a governmental service (civil marriage) based solely on their sexual orientation and given a 'separate-but-equal' alternative that served only to emphasise that they were not allowed what everyone else is.

I'll just leave this Fiona Apple letter here, which says more eloquently than I ever could why this is so important.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:37 AM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


One change i would like to see in the proposed legislation though is to make the option to be "opt out" rather than "opt in" for performing the ceremonies . The parties not interested in participating in a modern society should be shown for people to see.

Scotlands problem is religion, we need to fix the overriding influence of those institutions that history has burdened us with and stop timely progress. Now if we could only have a single school system in Glasgow that would be amazing :-)
posted by stuartmm at 8:46 AM on July 25, 2012


Civil partnerships will never be acceptable, because either:

a) they aren't exactly the same as marriages, whereupon it's seperate but unequal, or

b) they *will* eventually be exactly the same as marriages, whereupon the only reason they are called 'civil partnerships' is to make it incredibly clear to gay folk that 'YOU ARE NOT LIKE US THE MAJORITY; YOU ARE DIFFERENT AND CAN'T HAVE THIS.'

Deliberately making this artificial divide between two groups is the core principal of an unequal and segregated society.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:47 AM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


This will be the third potential vote losing legistlation the Scottish Government has introduced in the last 12 months, after alcohol minimum pricing and anti-sectarianism. I strongly agree with all three and I'm impressed with the SNP for tackling controversial issues and doing the right thing, even with the Independence referendum in sight. A bigots vote, or a homophobes vote counts just as much as any other. That they're prepared to give up these votes, risking the one thing they've worked all these years for, in order to make a more progressive, inclusive Scotland, Independent or otherwise, is commendable.
posted by IanMorr at 9:23 AM on July 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


Woo-hoo! Alba gu bràth!
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:39 AM on July 25, 2012


The current UK situation causes problems for trans people. If a married/civil partnered trans person wishes to have a Gender Recognition Certificate allowing them to change their legal gender. They cannot simply re-register their new status. They must first have their marriage dissolved, gain legal recognition of the new gender and then register for a civil partnership.

Sarah Brown explains better than I have with Equality Minister Lynne Featherstone having described the current situation as, "cruel and unusual”.
posted by Z303 at 9:59 AM on July 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


My best friend and his partner of over a decade live in Scotland, and earlier this summer while in Vancouver on holiday they quietly got married while they could. They're currently planning a huge wedding celebration next year, and I am absolutely delighted that they may actually be legally recognized as a married couple in their home country by then. Hooray for lovely news this morning. :)
posted by jess at 9:59 AM on July 25, 2012


It was originally expected that the government would make an announcement on the 10th of this month, but this was delayed following a cabinet meeting, possibly due to potential clashes with the UK Equalities Act.

I believe the Scots are working on a solution for that conflict as well.
posted by srboisvert at 11:52 AM on July 25, 2012


Two things:

First, the ceremonies are different. Marriage require you to have two witnesses, and make various vows, and be sober, all to make sure both parties want to get married. Civil partnership requires only two people to turn up and sign something. If it's equal, it should be equally hard to get the certificate.

Second, the word marriage has cultural meaning that civil partner does not, even if the legal status is the same. A marriage means a wedding. A marriage means a wedding and all the families and £20,000, and marriage means only that person for ever. That's probably why relatively few straight people get married nowadays.

I'd propose introducing civil partnerships for heterosexual couples and marriage for homosexual couples. Homosexual couples get the whole cultural cachet of marriage. Heterosexual couples get the legal standing without the cultural baggage, which I think would suit many couples, especially those with children and mortgages.

I'd like to make very clear that I don't personally consider two same-sex people who have had a civil partnership to be any less "married" than my wife and I. But I think there is a cultural difference. Which is why same-sex people should be able to get married. Because they are people in love.
posted by alasdair at 11:55 AM on July 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


A marriage means a wedding. A marriage means a wedding and all the families and £20,000, and marriage means only that person for ever.

I'm married. It didn't require the families. Only our parents were invited and it cost under 300 cdn at the town council office (of a town we didn't even live in). It was an official formality recognizing an existing long term relationship and we did it so we could emigrate together.

So your cultural meaning must mean I am from a significantly different culture.
posted by srboisvert at 1:14 PM on July 25, 2012


Yes, but you were able to do it and to call it a marriage, regardless of your personal feelings on the matter. No doubt there are same-sex couples in Scotland who are similarly un-enthused about the trappings of marriage as you are, but the point is that until now they have been legally barred from the whole deal. They couldn't partake in the same civil institution as you purely on the basis of their sexual orientation, and now they may be able to. So let's not get arsey about the different things people choose to do to get married and their reasons for doing do and just enjoy the fact that soon anybody who wants to marry in Scotland will be able to.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:10 PM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why not just rename all government and legally recognized marriages as civil unions and have no government official recognition of marriage?
posted by Apocryphon at 3:20 PM on July 25, 2012


Apocryphon, because it flies in the face of how people tend to actually conceive of and describe their relationships?
posted by Dysk at 4:01 PM on July 25, 2012


Alasdair, I agree with you that same sex couples should be able to access the same rights as straight people relating to marriage, but your arguments and facts seem a bit askew.

A marriage means a wedding and all the families and £20,000,

I know many, many people that go married without their families present. Have you ever heard of elopements? They are no less married that my brother and his wife, with their large expensive wedding and many family members in attendance. Marriages don't require 100 guests, or expensive proceedings. Don't confuse the scale of the celebration with the significance of or minimum requirements for the ceremony.

and marriage means only that person for ever.

Perhaps religious marriages mean that. Civil marriages do not. Because divorce is, in most places - including Scotland - a legal process. In Scotland, there are no mandatory vows or form of words for a civil ceremony. You aren't required to commit to 'death do us part'.

That's probably why relatively few straight people get married nowadays.

Ninja, please. The marriage rate in Scotland has remained more or less stable over the last 10 years. In fact, if you add in civil partnership, it's increased slightly, from 29,621 in Q1 2001, to 29,689 in Q1 2011.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:28 PM on July 25, 2012


Ninja, please.

Uh.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:22 PM on July 25, 2012


According to the telegraph, the law is likely to pass, with the Tories even having a lesbian leader!

"It is thought a clear majority at Holyrood back the change. The SNP has a majority, but gay marriage is supported by the Liberal Democrats, many Labour MSPs and some Tories, including Ruth Davidson, their leader, who is homosexual".

may need to drag out the family tartan to celebrate (despite never having visited Scotland -- as Spirit of the West say, "theres none more Scot than the Scots abroad" !)
posted by chapps at 8:54 PM on July 25, 2012


There is a useful looking document here that details some of the differences that are still present between civil partnerships and marriage.

I'm surprised how little of a legal difference there is at this point. Unless there's something special about our society's view of sexuality that means it's vital for heterosexuals to fill out a second form before they get notification of a partnership, it really shows the real reason the Scottish Government haven't already allowed it to be called 'marriage'. That is, allowing churches and other religious institutions to hold on to their special word because it gives them some kind of warm fuzzy feeling inside.

Which probably explains the leaflets I've seen around here from religious places against marriage, which speak entirely of how important the definition of "marriage" is and the untold moral chaos (literally untold, on the leaflet) that would come about were we to be so shameless as to change the definition of a word. Apart from the constant scare stories of churches being forced to perform gay marriages if they don't want to - which happens roughly what, nowhere at all? - the religious argument against is entirely framed in terms of linguistic prescriptivism. I'll admit I get annoyed by grocer's apostrophes and the like but I have the feeling their side is ultimately doomed.
posted by eykal at 4:27 AM on July 26, 2012


Oh no, hold on, as well as problems of linguistics they're also claiming that it will inevitably result in polygamy and the destruction of free speech. "Free speech" here, of course, being defined as "the right to discriminate against homosexual foster parents".
posted by eykal at 4:33 AM on July 26, 2012


In NZ I had the choice between getting married (which only straight people can do) or getting a civil union (which any couple can do) and, because I can, I chose marriage. They're supposedly legally equal (although the adoption thing hasn't been sorted). But I didn't want to move to a different country and have someone decide we're not legally married and negate the whole point of the thing for us. We got married specifically for the benefits of an internationally recognised partnership. Plus why not go for the easy to explain and understand relationship? I'm sure many gay people would appreciate being given the same choice.

Same but different is a total copout. Good on Scotland for realising this and I hope nz follows soon.
posted by shelleycat at 6:53 AM on July 26, 2012


A marriage means a wedding. A marriage means a wedding and all the families and £20,000, and marriage means only that person for ever.

What? I've been gay-married several times (to the same woman!), and the only one of the ceremonies that required hiring a caterer and sending out invitations months beforehand was also the only one that legally doesn't mean jack. Our Canadian wedding took place in a bookstore with a few friends (and some random customers!) looking on. Our first California wedding took place in City Hall, surrounded by strangers, with a hastily planned lunch afterwards and the people came over that night (no family except my partner's sister, who lives nearby). Mostly ditto California marriage #2 (the one that still counts). So yeah, I also don't know what the heck you're talking about.
posted by rtha at 9:36 AM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ninja, please.

Sorry. That was a moment of ill-advised and inappropriate whimsy - I was also looking at this video, linked in another thread, at the time. So I blame UbuRovias.

Plus, I'm leaving for Japan in a day or so. And I'm sleep deprived and over caffeinated. Basically, all my thoughts are rolling together in one big tangled ball, and all my filters are borked. Whoo!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:41 PM on July 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


One big tangled ball of red thoughts.
posted by hippybear at 5:49 AM on July 27, 2012


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