I see that a straight couple is suing for a declaration that the bit of the Civil Partnerships Act that restricts CPs to same sex couples is contrary to human rights law. Granted that marriage is now, despite the best efforts of the Christians, open to same sex couples, it seems to me that such a conclusion is unavoidable.
However, why, now, do we need civil partnerships at all? They were instituted to allow people like Jonathan and me to have proper legal protections equivalent to marriage because the then Government, possibly prudently, felt it had to compromise on nomenclature to avoid a backlash from the tired old minority that thought that marriage had some sort of spiritual reproduction based significance. That battle is (more or less) over.
The argument for retaining CP and extending it to heterosexual couples is according the couple going to court to advocate for the latter, that the word and concept of marriage have a lot of baggage implying male dominance, the concept of the female as the property of the male being handed over by her father during the wedding ceremony (“who giveth this woman to be married to this man?” is how I think it goes) etc.
Yes, the word “marriage” is well equipped with baggage, like most words used historically, “Britain” for example. But as the Christian enemy never ceased to point out during the debates on equality of marriage, we redefined the word. We know what it means now – a legal relationship. It certainly does not involve a property relationship or a relationship implying the inferiority or subordination of one partner. And like any other relationship marriage is crafted by the partners to it. It is what the two of you make of it.
– the couple going to the High Court should go the pub instead and plan their wedding, crafting the vows they make and relationship they want to their own aspirations for their life together
– parliament, which seems to have little to do at the moment, should either:-
– – close down CP to new entrants, in case some of them (I doubt all that many) complain that they really didn’t want marriage but wanted a relationship designated the way it was to allow the religiously inclined to regard it as inferior; or (my own preference)
– – simply provide that on a certain date all CPs shall without further formality be converted into marriage, as many US states have done when they introduce marriage equality.
The phrase “Civil Partnership” has much more nasty baggage, by the way, than the word “marriage” and much more recent nasty baggage: the word was invented so that it could be used to describe gay relationships so that the religiously inclined, and other bigots, could view it as inferior. The sooner it is consigned to the rubbish bin the better.