Europe is a bit of a hotchpotch when it comes to Same-Sex Unions.
(Thanks to Silje L. Bakke for that)
The Dark Blue is actual Marriage, Light Blue are Civil Partnerships (Marriage in law but not in name), Red means those countries have designated marriage in their constitutions as between a Man and a Woman and Grey means that there is no recognition.
In the UK we have had Civil Partnerships since 2004, which for all intents and purposes, in the eyes of the law, is marriage. With regards to property and income taxes, children, next of kin responsibilities when the other is sick or dead, and the same legal hurdles/status if marrying someone who is not a EU citizen. As I said, in the UK, Civil Partnership, in Law give Gay and Lesbian couples the same rights as straight couples. Ad it is one of the few good things that the Blair government did introduce during their tenure of Parliament.
And, for those that have had a clue bout party politics over the past generation, it is interesting to see that it is a Conservative-led coalition government that is pushing forward laws to actually legalise same-sex marriage in England and Wales (Scotland and Northern Ireland being covered by their own Parliament/Assembly). It is surprising to gay campaigners in this country but a very welcome step.
But away from the outrage or the high values that the supposed many in society hold, the main question is a matter of love. ANd, I do not see why Gay Marriage cannot happen.
To be honest, even I believe that it will only be a matter of time before Gay Marriage is made law in the UK. Public Consensus is behind the idea, the bulk of politicians across the spectrum is supporitng the idea, and it is an idea whose time has come. For a very long time, Gay couple have been second class citizens. The moves made over the past decade has gone a long way to rectify this, but there is still a long way to go. Marriage for all, be they gay or straight, is a positive and correct step in this direction.
The attitude is not divisive like it seems to be in America. The Church of England has been very much against the move, but as it is an irrelevance in people’s lives, their views have not been taken into account. Thank goodness that over here in the UK, religion is a private matter and it should remains that. Religious bodies/ideologies that have sway in public is, in my opinion, unwelcome. Personally, I am a Catholic, and not a very good one at that. Nor do I really believe in the dogma behind it. I drag myself to Church at Easter and Christmas, and that is really it.
I want you to take a look at a couple more links. First is the website, out4marriage.org, a focus group that pulls together politician and media outputs for a change in the law.
The second is a link to a blog I read regularly, Craig and Joe’s blog. A recent post on their blog was about Gay Marriage and the challenges they have faced to be recognised in he USA. I am not too sure of the politics in the US behind it, but it does give an interesting perspective from a Gay Couple.
Having just been a Best Man at my friend’s wedding, and see two people start out on a journey together, I hope that everyone in the UK, should they so choose to do so, can share in the happiness of that day, and the commitment that marriage brings to a loving couple. Whoever they may be and whoever they may love.