17 November 2005
Marriage (Gender Clarification) Bill: do we fight (all parts of) it?
[My comment on NoRightTurn:Fighting the marriage bill reposted here] I'm a firm advocate for glb/same sex couple rights - having been heavily involved in the civil union campaign. However, one thought I've been mulling over is whether codifying, at this time, that marriage is between one man and one woman is as bad as it first seems. (I am, though, firmly opposed to the other egregious clauses in the Bill!) This part of the Bill reflects the current legal position following the Quilter case. While it technically could be revisited and overturned in the future, it is unlikely in the foreseeable future. As much as that hurts and is an affront to the dignity of same-sex couples (even with the “separate but equal” civil unions framework), that is the legal reality we presently face. In some respects, there may be some benefit in maintaining a focus point for the discrimination. It reminds us every day that the legal framework in our country still treats same-sex couples as second-class citizens. It’s one thing to point to the three (rather oblique) judgments of the majority of the Court of Appeal in Quilter as the source of the discrimination; it’s another to point to express statutory wording: - Section 3(3): “For the avoidance of doubt, marriage may only occur between one man and one woman." - Section 2A: “A person may not marry another person of the same gender." I think having some symbolic manifestation of the discrimination in our legislation leaves something for our future glb generations to fight against. PS I should add that these are tentative thoughts. My instant reaction is to fight the d*mn thing. Unjustified discrimination like this has no place on our statute books!