Here’s Myth Three.
Same-sex couples already have equality. All the legal rights of marriage are already available to same-sex couples through civil partnerships. Equality doesn’t mean bland uniformity or state-imposed sameness. If the Government genuinely wants to pursue equality, why is it banning heterosexual couples from entering a civil partnership? Same-sex couples have equal rights through civil partnerships, but they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else.
I think this is a really strong point. There is only one point of legal rights that a marriage procures that a civil partnership doesn’t and that is in pension rights (see here for a FOI request that lists the differences). However, such an irregularity can be solved by amending the Civil Partnership Act accordingly. Apart from this, moving to gender-neutral marriage would produce no further legal rights for gay couples (the recent B&B cases demonstrate that in the eyes of the courts marriages and civil partnerships must be treated equally) and at the same time would remove certain rights from those currently married (eg assumptions around the parentage of children born within marriage).
So do we accept there are (besides tidying up some pension loop-holes) no legal gains of “rights” to be procured by allowing gender-neutral marriage?
As we’ve discussed below, there are no legal rights to be gained by gender-neutral marriage. Rather, it seems to be about making sure there is a legal way of ensuring equal value in the eyes of everybody. For me that comes scarily close to having Thought Police…