So the first steps in marriage equality are finally being taken and it’s looking like we may get some action next year, here’s hoping. The Official response to the consultation is in and they’re currently batting it around Parliament. We do have a provision to allow religions to marry people if they so choose so finally actual religious freedom is guaranteed.
Reports point to 100-130 Tory MPs opposing. Labour, for some bemusing reason, has U-Turned and is now holding a free vote along with the Tories rather than a whipped vote they previously promised. Gods forbid our rights be taken as the severe issues they are (and can we stop with this talk of “morality” and “conscience” being a bigot is neither moral nor conscionable). Still, there is likely to be considerably less no votes among Labour than the Tories so, along with the Lib Dems, we have a good chance of seeing this pass through the commons. ETA The Lib Dems have also u-turned and decided not to whip this vote. Fuck the lot of them. No party will be whipping this vote, our human rights aren't important enough.
The Lords is going to be more tricky, I feel. Both because of the Lords Spiritual and the Lords, in general, just being less progressive than the Commons. But in theory there should be enough Labour and Lib Dem lords along with what Tory supporters there are among the Lords to pill it through.
There’s a liveblog on the whole issue here: Be warned: there are a large number of Tories saying some rather vile things as can be expected.
I’m getting really irritated at all the prating of religious freedom for the precious bigoted church – especially considering there was so much condemnation of their bigotry not that long ago.
I am bemused why, with the guarantee that bigoted churches can still be bigoted, there is any need to BAN the Church of England from performing same-sex marriages. They don't want to, they don't intend to - so why ban them? Why not leave them with the same opt-out as every other church? All this does is mean that, should at some point ion the future the Anglican church and its supporters decide that GBLTQ people are actually people worthy of respect, there'll be an extra barrier towards changing their bigotry.
The government’s official response to the consultation can be found here. It’s clear that the vast majority of the opposition was religious in nature, confirming again that the majority organised churches of Great Britain are grossly homophobic and we need to continue to view them as enemies of our humanity, our rights and of justice for the foreseeable future.
On annulment – we will not be able to “annul” our marriages due to non-consummation simply because the whole concept of consummation is ridiculously heterosexist and revolves around a very limited definition of sex. Faced with this, the government has just ticked a big “not applicable” box and, to be honest, I don’t blame them – though I would have preferred it if “non-consumation” were just struck from the law entirely as the archaic relic it is.
I do NOT approve of leaving the adultery law where it is. Adultery only counts, again, when penis-in-vagina-sex occurs. Sure you can still get a divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour, but deciding only het-sex counts for adultery is insulting and insufficient. To be honest, just scrapping adultery entirely and going with “unreasonable behaviour” for all would suit me better
The inequality of pensions is also not something I approve of – wives and widows will still have greater access to their partner’s pension benefits than husbands and widowers. We have some nebulous assurance of that changing – but it is still nebulous. Similarly, homophobic discrimination in occupational pensions is not being retroactively corrected so will continue as it is. The idea that this would create “retroactive costs” is failing to acknowledge that it would correct old injustice
Similarly, I am irritated by the protection for teacher’s “beliefs”. It is not a teacher’s place to teach their beliefs to children, their job is to teach how things are. And how things will be is marriage will be legal – we don’t need to protect a teacher’s editorialising by adding “of course this is wrong and sinful.” Or at least, not if the same teachers aren’t also protected from saying “but it may not be recognised by archaic, bigoted and immoral institutions that insist on dehumanising humanity that continues to cause so much pain and suffering”
Yes, I am beyond irritated that 52% of the respondents to the consultation were straight. I feel, again, that my rights and humanity has been put into straight people’s hands and had to be validated by straight folks before they could be acknowledged.
At this stage I almost don’t dare to hope. There’s still so much that could derail the process and the opposition is very fierce, very unreasonable and stunning in how hateful it is. But there’s a path now – it’s not going to be pleasant to walk, the religious groups and Tory homophobes are screaming utter venom, but they have been for a months If not years. Still we’re on the path and maybe, just maybe the end is in sight.