Here’s Myth Three.
Same-sex couples already have equality.Â All the legal rights of marriage are alreadyÂ available to same-sex couples throughÂ civil partnerships. Equality doesnâ€™tÂ mean bland uniformity or state-imposedÂ sameness. If the Government genuinelyÂ wants to pursue equality, why is it banningÂ heterosexual couples from entering a civilÂ partnership? Same-sex couples have equalÂ rights through civil partnerships, but theyÂ donâ€™t have the right to redefine marriageÂ 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…