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Not allowed: Let's get married, by the Proclaimers. Allowed: Death March
February 20, 2013 12:40 AM   Subscribe

Susan Calman describes some of the legal restrictions of "civil partnerships", why she should never be allowed to get married, and why she loves her wife. A 30 minute podcast from BBC Radio 4.
posted by Stark (14 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thank you, Stark. Looks like it will be a good listen.

(A question though - clicking the first link started the download of an mp3 file on my little android tablet - was this to be expected?)
posted by empatterson at 2:01 AM on February 20, 2013


That was both very entertaining and amusing, and incredibly touching. Well worth a listen.
posted by Dysk at 2:07 AM on February 20, 2013


empatterson - yes, it's a direct link to the MP3 file.

The BBC Radio 4 link is to the "Comedy of the Week" podcast's home page if you want a bit of context, or you can always subscribe to the podcast using your favourite podcast app.
posted by Stark at 2:38 AM on February 20, 2013


We had a civil different-sex marriage: there are restrictions on religious references. We therefore listed the Act 1 Finale of Sweeney Todd ("A Little Priest") as "The Pie Song" in case the registrar objected (it was our walk-out music).

Ceremonies involving whatever words and music and activities the people involved prefer for all!
posted by alasdair at 2:53 AM on February 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


To my (American) sensibilities that's quite odd, alasdair. In Nebraska, the law says
In the solemnization of marriage no particular form shall be required, except that the parties shall solemnly declare in the presence of the magistrate or minister and the attending witnesses, that they take each other as husband and wife; and in any case there shall be at least two witnesses, besides the minister or magistrate present at the ceremony."
and nobody's going to vet the music played before, during, or after this tiny bit of official business.
posted by jepler at 5:13 AM on February 20, 2013


Jepler, that's not how it works in almost all European countries. Civil marriage is not religious marriage and the two are restricted in if or how they may overlap.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:03 AM on February 20, 2013


Yes, the restrictions on civil marriages in Britain are utterly ridiculous. If you're not religious, you're basically restricted to a city hall ceremony where you can only have about 50 guests and you're shoved through in 15 minutes - and then you're not allowed to mention god. It's as if everyone is supposed to be super religious and belong to a church, or Richard Dawkins. In Canada, my British SO and I could marry at a university (or at a park or anywhere we liked), with as many people as we liked and with an officiant who could say anything we asked him to. We could have religious readings or not. The British law on civil marriage needs serious revising.

But where the inequality was, was that for same-sex couples they were not only not allowed to mention God or have a religious wedding (even when their church supported them), but that they couldn't even mention weddings or being married or call each other wife and wife (though Calman and a lot of other people just do that). It was a second-class status.

I get so angry at the people who are against equal marriage and claim that it's in the name of religious freedom or that they don't want the state telling Churches what to do - which is bullshit, because there are churches that want to perform equal marriages and the British state has been preventing them from doing so - and the new law allows them to do so, without requiring that any church do so (any more than any church is required to perform a hetero-marriage that doesn't meet their requirements). True religious freedom means accepting equal marriage.

Off-topic: Susan Calman is freaking awesome on every topic.
posted by jb at 6:16 AM on February 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also, she has a fun twitter feed, with more cats than even George Takei.
posted by jb at 6:19 AM on February 20, 2013


I saw Susan Calman at her opening show of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this past summer. Her set was almost all about this, and naturally she brought the house down.

It gave me great pleasure this Presidential Campaign season to wear the T-shirt that I snagged from the pile she gave out at the end of the show: "Susan Calman for President."
posted by tooloudinhere at 6:32 AM on February 20, 2013


(A question though - clicking the first link started the download of an mp3 file on my little android tablet - was this to be expected?)

Clicking the "BBC Radio 4" link takes you to a page that has an embedded player. (Yes, it works outside of Britain. I think it's Flash-based, so iOS people may be out of luck if they seriously object to the mp3.)
posted by hoyland at 6:52 AM on February 20, 2013


This was great, thanks! Before now I've only heard her on the News Quiz. For some reason it had never occurred to me to go looking for her stuff elsewhere... does anyone have any recommendations?

jb - Yes, the restrictions on civil marriages in Britain are utterly ridiculous. If you're not religious, you're basically restricted to a city hall ceremony where you can only have about 50 guests and you're shoved through in 15 minutes - and then you're not allowed to mention god.

Maybe they're trying to push people toward having a more ornate ceremony elsewhere if they want one, then just coming to the registrar for the paperwork? An aunt of mine recently had a lovely Humanist wedding ceremony in a hotel to which all the friends and family were invited, and the civil wedding itself was quick and simple, with just their witnesses present.* Having a civil wedding or partnership plus a separate ceremony elsewhere seems like it would push the price and hassle up, though.

Still, it is really weird to go beyond "we won't force religion on you" to "...and you're forbidden from mentioning it". Maybe it was just a sop to the church lobbies, like reserving the word "wedding" for hetero couples, reassuring them that the government wasn't trying to replace or redefine the churches' role?

*Susan mentioned not being able to have a Humanist wedding. They almost certainly could have had a Humanist ceremony, but not one that's legally binding. Given that Scotland is the only part of the UK in which the Humanists can perform legal marriages, but only for hetero couples, I can see how this would feel like a slap in the face.
posted by metaBugs at 8:10 AM on February 20, 2013


Yes, the restrictions on civil marriages in Britain are utterly ridiculous.

The restrictions were significantly relaxed in England (Scotland has different laws, I don't know about Northern Ireland or Wales) in 2002: most anything is now possible, except religion, night-time weddings, and being the same sex as your intended.
posted by alasdair at 11:11 AM on February 20, 2013


"....and Sandi Toksvig bought them for me." Delightful.

That NewsQuiz episode with Susan Calman and the Buckfast was one of the funniest things I've every heard on the radio.
posted by Diablevert at 12:30 PM on February 20, 2013


That was really great. Also, that was a Glasgow accent, wasn't it? That's my favorite woman's accent in the whole world. (Clare Grogan)
posted by benito.strauss at 12:41 PM on February 20, 2013


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