Saturday, 23 June 2012

A New Danger From Civil Partnerships?

Opponents to marriage equality from both the LGBT community and the anti-LGBT groupings often complain that LGBT folk don't need marriage because they already have civil partnerships which gives them all the rights they need.

If we ignore the obvious argument that this isn't quite true, we must face the fact that civil partnerships (as a separate institution) allow politicians to far more easily undermine those rights at any time. This week this is exactly what has happened in Queensland, Australia.

Unlike with marriage where LGBT folk are either "allowed" access to this institution or forbidden it (and sometime forbidden after being allowed such as in California, USA), the separate institution of civil partnerships allows politicians to tinker with which rights they will allow and which they won't at any time without consequence for the majority of the population of their jurisdiction.

This puts LGBT people's relationships at far greater risk than when covered by a gender neutral marriage law. It's far harder to demote LGBT's marriages to some sort of "not quite marriage" at any moment without risking legally undermining all marriages. Sure you can ban same-sex marriages completely but even then, in most cases, marriages performed before the ban are left unaffected. It'd take a cruel politician to destroy someone's marriage after the event! But in the case of civil partnerships it seems quite acceptable for politicians to giveth and then taketh away willy-nilly.

Another compelling reason to fight for marriage equality instead of (or as well as) civil partnerships.

There is, of course, an even better way to protect relationships from Government meddling.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

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