Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I'm glad (and sad)

they were able to tie the knot in a bittersweet ceremony a day before one partner died. Britain apparently has a new law that has gone into effect giving gays civil partnership rights. The couple, one of whom had terminal lung cancer, applied for a special waiver of the waiting period (most will be able to undergo registration and ceremonies starting December 21st) because of the concern that he would not live to do it. The couple have been together for seven years.

It's nice to see countries giving basic rights to people regardless of sexual orientation. Britain's law isn't a marriage one, but it's a great step in the right direction, providing at least the minimum of rights that should be accorded any couple of legal adults who want to commit to each other. I hope to see it happen here during my lifetime. It just underscores the fact that I live in a fairly backwards area that is, despite being a regional gay mecca, very much ensconced in Bible-belt anti-gay legislation. I have to admit, if I were in a committed relationship with a woman, I'd seriously be thinking of moving to another state or country and establishing residency or otherwise going through the legal hoops necessary to join together legally. I wish people would realise that the actual legal aspect of marriage--all marriages registered in this country--is purely civil and does not impact anyone's idea of religious marriage. That happens in its own ceremony that just happens to be held on the same day as the civil binding, and the law accords ministers the right to perform the same civil duties as a justice of the peace...namely the signing of the marriage certificate after a dutiful application for licence. From a Christian point of view, most denominations would not recognise a religious service between same sex couples as a marriage, but that's a matter within the religion. My own religion would not have anything wrong with it, and certain denominations have come out to perform ceremonies. But these are all still essentially separate from that legal document that entitles a person to inherit, share property, and accords certain civil rights. And that, in this country, is no place for religious debate. I find it ludicrous that I, who was allowed to enter into that civil state and was considered married by all the laws of this land, even though nine months later I sued for divorce and can never truly explain the idiocy of having entered into it in the first place, but people who are together twenty years are considered living in sin and not accorded any basic rights...even to see each other in the hospital...without a large amount of paperwork to mimic as closely as possible the same rights I received with just one piece of paper. It makes no sense. I see this as being a non-issue someday, as accepted as, say, interracial marriage is today. But it'll be a long time coming for some.

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