Day 24 – Vada Advent Calendar
Because We’re Worth It : Marriage Equality
It’s been officially announced that as of March 29th 2014, same-sex marriages will be able to take place in England and Wales. It’s positive news for those of us who want the world to be a place where every person is equal, and has equal opportunities.
There has been so much talk of what ‘gay marriage’ is and will mean, with people on both sides of the religious, state and sexuality spectrum voting for and against. But there are some fundamentals for why same-sex marriage is necessary; why civil partnership isn’t an equal, and why religious institutions are, more often than not, resistant to it.
Location, Location…NOT IN MY CHURCH!
One of the reasons religious institutions continue to peddle for resistance is that allowing same-sex marriages will force churches to have to have same-sex ceremonies, but it won’t. Because they still teach that homosexuality and homosexual acts are sins/morally wrong/totally un-cool, they would be begrudgingly undermined and forced to spit through gritted teeth the marriage vows. Conditions have been put in place to make it illegal for Church of England and Church in Wales to perform such ceremonies. While I’m not a religious person, I thought marriages had turned into an understanding of celebrations of unions for all, beyond discrimination? Isn’t that the point nowadays?
“Yeah, but you can get civil partnered and we straight people can’t.”
Luckily, nay, logically, the equalization of marriage could signal the equalization of civil ceremonies. Believe it or not, some people want to be able to make it legally easier for them to pass on their precious belongings to their loved ones once they die without fuss AND it’s not just the same sex couples?! Marriage is more legally all encompassing than civil partnerships. Having a country that has religion at its roots means that laws were formed and have since evolved based on what religion taught. It wasn’t about right and wrong for each person, it was about what worked best for those in power, often high ranking religious men and institutions.
They used to control who was allowed to read for goodness sake! What anti-gay/bi/lesbian/trans* religions have in common is that they were originally thought to be the closest link to the highest power in the universe, but with times changing and the sacred scriptures being examined, more and more people are finding a more atheist or agnostic stance, meaning that unless laws are no longer based on religious foundations it’s necessary to make their divisions as inclusive as possible. We are all equal human beings; there is no ‘But’ about it.
“We have to protect tradition.”
The past, history, and what came before are ways to describe the wars that were fought, the people who made discoveries and the ideas that the human race believed to be true at the time. The future and present is a newly paved road of potential and possibility. What the equality debate stems down to is the fear of losing control. Religion is the constant that came after standing on two legs, it comes from the first ideas about what the world was, why the sun shone, why the grass grew. It was the book/tablet/teachings from the ancient world, but we have to allow for change.
I don’t know that I would ever want to get married, definitely not in a church, unless the person I was with wanted to. If it meant something to them, it’d have to mean an awful lot, then I’d do it. The only reason I would need to be able to do it or a civil ceremony would be because the law required it to allow me to pass on what was in my will without fear of it being contested. Think about that though, we can’t even be trusted to make sure that in death a person’s belongings go to the ones they want without a law and ceremony making it so.
Equal marriage is the most significant social development this year, one that promises to make our love equal in the eyes of the law. Whilst this may not be for everyone, it is a resounding step towards a society that values diversity and the individual rather than being hung up on outdated religious rhetoric.