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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Last Chance to Speak Up for Equal Marriage

This is the final week for you to have your say as the government’s equal civil marriage consultation comes to an end on Thursday 14th June. Whether you're an eternally happy singleton or a loved-up couple snuggled up on the sofa with your two shorthaired kittens (ours are Vinne and Sox), the Equal Marriage consultation affects you. The key proposals will enable same-sex couples to have a civil marriage, allow couples already in a civil partnership to convert this into a marriage, and for the first time, individuals will be able to legally change their gender without having to end their marriage.

Over the past few months, there has been mixed reaction to the proposals of equal marriage for all. As expected, anti-gay religious groups have expressed their outrage, despite the proposals stating that there will be no change to religious marriages. The Coalition for Marriage have been particularly vocal with their petition to keep marriage between a man and a woman. It’s fair to say that everyone has the right to their own opinion, but when it has the potential to impact on millions of people’s lives, caution must surely be applied. The decision made by Country Life Magazine to publish The Coalition for Marriage’s anti-gay advert for instance, upset many people as it was seen as an act of hate.

In contrast to the negative reaction the government’s equal civil marriage consultation received, there has been much inspirational and uplifting campaigning in support of equal marriage. Stonewall UK in particular have continued to encourage people to make their voices heard and stand up for equal love, even displaying posters across London buses.

The Out for Marriage campaign has also been successful in gaining the support of people from all ages, genders, races and sexual orientation. 

Even the Home Secretary Theresa May has shown her support for equal marriage:

Backed by the Prime Minister, the government’s proposals in relation to equal marriage will become law in 2015 if they are passed. I’m happy to wait until then. Why have ‘civil partnerships’ when we could just be ‘married’ like heterosexual couples, religious or not? Some may argue that it’s just semantics, but whoever we happen to fall in love with should not decide whether we are allowed to commit to that person through marriage or not. Love is love. Small steps can make a big difference, just like the brave acts of Rosa Parks who stood up for all black people being segregated from white people; we too can sit someplace else on the bus and demand equality.

I’ll end with one of my favourite campaign videos in support of equal marriage; Mike Buonaiuto’s ‘Homecoming’:

Whether you plan to be married, now or in the future, or you don’t believe in marriage at all, you can still stand up for equal love and submit your opinions to the Home Office by Thursday 14th June. In fact, do it now, especially if you are an eternal procrastinator like my partner who has had three months to fill in the form but has waited until the last few days!