It's a wonderful life!
December 9, 2005 12:21 PM   Subscribe

In a land where the facility to divorce exists, and where widows may remarry [with no ability to conceive], and where humans may change sex, and the promulgation of same sex unions is rife, the inevitable has occurred: Bernardette [née Bernard] divorced and married the same woman on the same day.
posted by dash_slot- (39 comments total)
 
You don't say!?!
posted by iamck at 12:22 PM on December 9, 2005


yikes
posted by surferboy at 12:22 PM on December 9, 2005


Awesome. Another country highlights the sorry state of civil rights in the US. I wish this couple the best.
posted by Rothko at 12:23 PM on December 9, 2005


Seeing these two old biddies on telly made me go "aaaah". An incredible and - so far at least - unique story of personal commitment and struggle. Seemed like justice and humanity triumphed for them in the end.
posted by dash_slot- at 12:24 PM on December 9, 2005


I assumed it was a do it your self type link. I went looking for porn.
posted by Keith Talent at 12:25 PM on December 9, 2005


JerrySpringerFilter
posted by IronLizard at 12:35 PM on December 9, 2005


I'm having a difficult time deciding if this helps or hurts the cause of gay marriage.
posted by ColdChef at 12:37 PM on December 9, 2005


And people are worried about allowing gay people to get married because it will offend the sanctity of the institution?

Is there a reason you buried the link though?
posted by fenriq at 12:49 PM on December 9, 2005


JerrySpringerFilter

Clearly, you don't have to be po' white trash to scandalise the nation declare one's love to millions.
posted by dash_slot- at 12:50 PM on December 9, 2005


and where widows may remarry [with no ability to conceive]

because of course, without conception, you have no special purpose.
posted by 3.2.3 at 1:01 PM on December 9, 2005


Is there a reason you buried the link though?

Not really - as I composed, the colon seemed to go there, and weirdly, so did the link, so, for the natural drama of the story. I guess some wouldn't like being teased in this way - not to assume that that's you, o'course.

posted by dash_slot- at 1:03 PM on December 9, 2005


ColdChef writes "I'm having a difficult time deciding if this helps or hurts the cause of gay marriage."

I'd say it helps a lot - it shows an elderly couple so in love with each other that even one partner changing sex would be enough to take them apart. I'd say the movie will be a blockbuster.
posted by nkyad at 1:05 PM on December 9, 2005


Or, to phrase the headline another way, "Judge assists couple in avoiding minor, silly legal hurdle."

Mazel tov to Ms. and Ms. Rogers, and may they have many more happy years together.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:10 PM on December 9, 2005


That's awesome!
posted by PurplePorpoise at 1:42 PM on December 9, 2005


Bernadette was once the director of research for the Rank Organisation and helped develop colour television and teletext services.

She also acted as chief scientific adviser to Margaret Thatcher's government on broadcast technology.


See, this is what TV does to people.

No wait, I meant to say: not just anyone, too. This is weird and interesting news.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:44 PM on December 9, 2005


The Gender Recognition Bill, which became law last year, brought formal rights to a person with a diagnosed gender identity condition once they had been medically treated.

The Bill gave legal acknowledgement of the change in their gender status.

But it refused such acknowledgement if the transsexual remained married, meaning that Bernadette and Joyce had to divorce in order for the law to recognise Bernadette's status as a woman.


Interesting wrinkle.
posted by jessamyn at 1:57 PM on December 9, 2005


I can't quite understand why anyone would find this upsetting. Given the tone of your post, it seems you find this a particularly abhorrent instance of a larger issue that causes you much concern.

Indeed, your post suggests that you believe marriage should be permanently binding for both parties and under all circumstances, that the union be primarily about procreation, and (perhaps logically extending the previous point) that it should be allowed only to heterosexual couples.

Where's the love in your equation? The couple in the story have been committed to one another for the better part of four decades, have raised children together, and clearly have great love and respect for one another. That they want to declare that love and share it with their friends and family seems only natural. What harm does it cause to anyone?

I don't meant this to be condescending or mean spirited in any way. I'm genuinely interested in better understanding your point of view.
posted by aladfar at 1:59 PM on December 9, 2005


aladfar, your sarcasm meter needs retuning.

But then if I lived in the US I'd probably be a bit overwound too. Jeez you guys scare me, on this issue as on many others.

To me this is a human interest story, not a political one.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:18 PM on December 9, 2005


Aladfar:
Is that addressed to me?

Oh dear. My view is precisely opposite to the one you impute. The title of the post (It's a wonderful life) I mean unironically. My 2nd comment (Seemed like justice and humanity triumphed for them in the end) ditto.

I am strongly pro- gay marriage.

Any sarcasm you detect in my post, is directed at the bigots that I would guess we both oppose.

That swooshing sound above your head? Have you heard it before?
posted by dash_slot- at 2:23 PM on December 9, 2005


Okay, that's just put such a huge smile on my face. I don't really have anything constructive to add. The fact that these two have finally been able to get everything officially sorted, with the right names on the right papers at last, just makes me really happy.

Lots of good words for the Gender Recognition Bill, too - not only has it enabled an awful lot of my friends and acquaintances to let their past be their past, but it's abbreviated as GERBil, too, which is just intrinsically brilliant.
posted by terpsichoria at 2:53 PM on December 9, 2005


Apologies dash, I didn't notice your previous comment (well, I noticed it, but wasn't aware that it was yours until just now). I mistakenly believed your original post was written with sincerity, not sarcasm.

Because, as has been mentioned, such sentiments seem to be painfully prevalent here in the US. What with the current "war on Chirstmas" and "Intelligent Design" nonsense.

But I really am interested in hearing someone put forward a logical defense of such a position. I wonder if its even possible.
posted by aladfar at 2:56 PM on December 9, 2005


Thank you aladfar. But I'm really confused now. Every sincere word in the original post is consistent with us being in agreement. I wasn't - for a change - taking the piss. This event was inevitable: what is most marvellous is how quickly it occurred.

Even Elton John & David Furnish havent married yet.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:20 PM on December 9, 2005


I have noticed that a tag has been added to this post. I did not put it there. I also - obviously - have not reformatted the post (I don't have the power) to make posts 2 & 7 nonsensical.

Shit, I wish ya didn't do that without reference to the poster.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:24 PM on December 9, 2005


I've now Meta'd my own post, f'fux'sake.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:39 PM on December 9, 2005


Metafilter: click my colon
posted by quonsar at 3:44 PM on December 9, 2005


Wonderful news!
posted by deborah at 3:44 PM on December 9, 2005


From the now-closed MeTa: A transgendered individual marrying a woman is not gay marriage.

Whatever. People are going to be talking about gay marriage and other related gender issues in the thread. In any event, how about tagging the post with words like gender, genderissues, transgender, marriage, or some other things that actually describe what the thread is about?

posted by Gator at 4:09 PM on December 9, 2005


Gator~

I took up your suggestion, as it was a little thoughtless not to tag with useful words. Thanks.
The condition is not being called marriage by the people who invented it - the UK government. If it was 'GM', it would simply be an enabling bill, to allow gay folk to use the existing marriage laws.

So I didn't use that word. It isn't gay - to me - though I guess it is in that catchall of GLBQTG (almost looks like a Mefi username..) Whatever others may see this as - and I have apparently now got mathowies agreement - that was an inappropriate tag.

posted by dash_slot- at 4:24 PM on December 9, 2005


So technically she divorced a woman, became (legally) a woman, and married a woman, all in one day.
posted by clevershark at 9:29 PM on December 9, 2005


On first read, I thought this was the plotline to another Robert Sheckley novella...
posted by darkstar at 12:59 AM on December 10, 2005


It isn't gay - to me - though I guess it is in that catchall of GLBQTG

Of course it's gay. Woman marries woman. Or woman gets civil union with woman.

If I date women, I am gay. Just because I used to be male doesn't make it any less of a gay relationship. Being in the T doesn't mean you're automatically taken out of the LGB bit.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:16 AM on December 10, 2005


[sorry about the extra tag, I was trying to make the post findable, I know that the civil partnership isn't quite the same thing]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:54 AM on December 10, 2005


Don't worry jessamyn.

It seems that even armyof kittens is falling for what the UK government wants - which is to equate Civil Partnerships with marriage.

Of course, if they were equivalent, they would be no need for a separate legal arrangement. They would simply have opened up marriage to gays, but chose not to.

On top of that, CPs become possible on December 21st in England; this couple were given special dispensation to 'civilly partner' early, due to the unique circumstances of their lives. Neither one of them have declared their orientation as being gay; they love each other in a manner beyond simple categorising.

Hope that helps.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:08 AM on December 10, 2005


Neither one of them have declared their orientation as being gay; they love each other in a manner beyond simple categorising.

That's sweet and all, but rather naive, isn't it? I mean, a black man can go around saying he doesn't think of himself as black, but...Look at 'im. Dude's black.
posted by Gator at 7:30 AM on December 10, 2005


It seems that even armyof kittens is falling for what the UK government wants - which is to equate Civil Partnerships with marriage.

Nup. You said it wasn't gay. I said it is. I did not intend to equate the two; I usually phrase things much more carefully, and I apologise.

You also said in the Metatalk thread that, "A transgendered individual marrying a woman is not gay marriage," which I could be horrendously insulted by if I chose to believe that someone as compassionate as you've seemed since you joined could have truly meant the implications of.

My partner and I are very aware of the state of play regarding our marital options. If we were legally joined now it would have to be a civil union; once I've got off my arse and prostrated myself in front of the Gender Recognition Board (which is probably not half as comical as it sounds) we will be able to get married. Nothing about us will have changed in anything other than a legal sense. The whole thing is a fucking farce.

After the GerBoard have given me their patronising once-over we'd have wanted to get a civil union anyway; if marriage doesn't want our friends, we're not interested.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:35 AM on December 10, 2005


AOK - check yr email. Thanks for your contributions and apologies for my hamfistedness.
posted by dash_slot- at 10:28 AM on December 10, 2005


Seriously Gator - they almost certainly do not feel gay. Joyce, the wife who was born legally female, has not spoken of a change in orientation - though I guess we cannot rule it out. She is an elderly heterosexual woman.

Her partner, Bernardette, is a woman who was once a heterosexual man (assumption acknowledged). She is also now an elderly woman, whose orientation is unknown and possibly irrelevant.

My biggest assumption follows: they are more or less sexless in their union, perhaps with some desire and orientation, but with no sexual expression in their relationship.

So no matter what most people may call them, I would dodge it and say - they're about as gay as your granny is straight: not very much at all.
posted by dash_slot- at 10:37 AM on December 10, 2005


But they're both women. Who are bound to one another, not just as a couple but also (now) in a legally-binding committment. Whether they're actually having sexual relations with one another is irrelevant, isn't it?

Seriously, it's all very well to declare that you won't be bound by labels and "I don't think of myself as [fill-in-the-blank]" despite all appearances to the contrary, but...Look at 'em. They're women. Who are a couple.
posted by Gator at 10:49 AM on December 10, 2005


Belfast holds UK's first 'gay wedding'.

Aaah.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:42 PM on December 19, 2005


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