miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I've come across this a fair bit the last few days (can't think why it's been coming up *rolleyes*), and as it's a big frustration for LGBT+LDs I thought I'd better post about why.

Lots of people high up in the campaigns department at LDHQ think it's great to say that "we achieved equal marriage". They think that because we campaigned for equal marriage, and the Same Sex Marriage Act passed, we should trumpet our achievement. They think that calling it Same Sex Marriage is bad "framing" and Equal Marriage sounds better*.

The problem is that although we did campaign for equal marriage, we didn't get equal marriage. Here is a list of some of the things that remain unequal:
  • Northern Ireland. There is no recognition of same sex marriage there at all.

  • The Spousal Veto was a part of the Same Sex Marriage Act and actually made things worse for trans people. It's not extant in Scotland, but still applies in England and Wales.

  • Likewise, to get a gender recognition certificate prior to the Same Sex Marriage Act, if you were married, you were forced to have your marriage annulled, even if your spouse was supportive. These stolen marriages have never been restored, despite Same Sex Marriage now being legal.

  • Same sex spouses do not enjoy the same pension rights as mixed sex spouses. This is obviously unequal.

  • The church of England and the church in Wales are legally prohibited from performing same sex marriage ceremonies. This is manifestly unequal for same sex couples who are adherents to the state religion.

  • Adultery and non-consummation. To commit adultery, you must have vaginal intercourse with a member of "the opposite sex". Yup, not only is the strict gender binary embedded in law, but so is the necessity for PIV to happen for it to count as sex. This is... problematic for people who do not adhere to the strict one man, one woman, no genderqueer people model of relationships. Non-consummation of marriage and adultery both rely on PIV sex. And sure, reasons you might split up don't apply at the moment of marriage, but not every marriage will last, and equity in the divorce courts is surely a consideration before we start calling it equal marriage?

  • The special requirements for registering premises for the conduct of non-CofE religious same-sex marriages are more restrictive than for opposite-sex marriages in religious premises. If the premises are shared by several small denominations - which is often the case with evangelical, African and pro-LGBT churches - every last one of the faith organisations which share the premises has to give their permission for the premises to be used for same-sex marriages. In effect, anti-gay churches have a veto over pro-gay churches.

  • There's no humanist marriage in England and Wales (despite the best efforts of the lovely Julian Huppert) - which affects both mixed sex and same sex couples, but still means that humanists are second class citizens (unless they live in Scotland). Equal marriage should be equal for all beliefs (and lack thereof) as well as for all genders and sexualities.
Now, imagine you are one of the people who is affected by one of these things. Imagine you have been faithful to your partner for decades, and you've finally been allowed to marry under this legislation, and you retire loving and happy, only to discover that your pension rights are not equal.

Imagine you are a trans person, and your spouse has been supportive all along, and first you had your marriage stolen because that had to happen for you to get your gender recognition certificate, and when that happened you got a civil partnership because that was the best that was available and you loved your spouse, and then when same sex marriage came in you had to get married for a third time to convert your civil partnership into a marriage, and you'd meantime been supporting other people going through transition and the spousal veto had applied to some of those people... How would you feel in that situation if you were told that we'd achieved Equal Marriage?

Imagine you were the chair of an LGBT+ campaigning organisation. Imagine trying to persuade people that there are still inequities that need to be corrected, that people are still suffering injustices that need to be righted, that work still needs to be done, when everybody says but we achieved Equal Marriage, didn't we? What are you fussing about?

Imagine trying to persuade other LGBT+ people to vote for your party, when they can look at what your party is saying about "equal marriage" and think but they are completely tone deaf to the actual concerns of LGBT+ people, or else they would know that 'equal' marriage is nothing but!

For anybody, in any of those situations, Lib Dems trumpeting we achieved equal marriage! is going to feel like a proper slap in the face. It's going to feel like the inequalities and injustices that you suffer do not matter to Lib Dems. Equal Marriage, as framing, makes a very ugly picture indeed if you are suffering from one of the unequal effects of the Same Sex Marriage Act.

Please, please, please, for the love of Cthulhu, if you are a Lib Dem, stop saying we achieved equal marriage. We achieved same sex marriage. There's still a way to go before it's equal. Our leader gets this. Please get it too.



* NB: Our Glorious Leader is not one of these people, and completely gets everything I am posting about here, and that's yet another reason why I get annoyed with partisan Labour types going BUT TIM HATES THE GAYS!!!!! at me. Apart from anything else the conflation of gay rights and LGBT+ rights is infuriating.

Date: Monday, April 24th, 2017 10:10 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Apologies for the anon commenting, but hopefully you'll understand why.

On a similar note, I recently had cause to comment on a piece of publicity that claimed we had delivered "gay marriage" - which grated almost as much as "equal marriage" - given it effectively ignores those who are bisexual and choose to marry someone of the same-sex.

I think it's understandable in general parlance, but we really need to be better at taking the lead on the use of appropriate terminology.

Date: Monday, April 24th, 2017 10:18 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Sorry, I had forgot about that bit of the rule!

Signed, Anonymouse 157

Date: Monday, April 24th, 2017 10:23 pm (UTC)
haggis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] haggis
Another thing the Lib Dens (particularly the members of Plus) achieved was ensuring the Bill/Act was bi inclusive by calling it Same Sex Marriage. Certain campaigners and organisations failed to get the hint but the government used the correct terminology because they listened to bi people.

Date: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 12:55 am (UTC)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
From: [personal profile] redbird
Now I'm wondering how much of that applies where I live (I have no idea whether adultery is still a legal concept in Massachusetts).

I tend to say either "marriage equality" (which is the goal, even though claims that it exists in the UK are premature) or "same-sex marriage," because talking about "gay marriage" erases bisexuals. "Marriage equality" seems to have been a useful phrasing in convincing some straight people to support us, rather than talking about "gay marriage" as if it was a substantially different thing from straight marriage.

Date: Monday, April 24th, 2017 10:39 pm (UTC)
vampwillow: skyline graphic (Default)
From: [personal profile] vampwillow
Hadn't realised that PIV rule applied for adultery. Makes me wonder whether PIV is also a requirement for consummation of any marriage. Keep up the good work.

Date: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 07:37 am (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
It isn't, actually; there's no requirement for consummation in general although you can get an annulment if someone wilfully refuses to consummate and the other party gets taken unawares in a "This isn't what I signed up for" way.

I read all the CofE's position papers on same sex marriage when it was going through, and not only did it make me feel as if slimy things were crawling all over me, it left me convinced that the only hope for this country was disestablishment and I couldn't see why none of the political parties had noticed the need for it. The real reason the CofE were solidly against SSM wasn't because of being anti-homosexual per se, but it was much more insidious; their position was based solidly on complementarianism. Basically, (and if you look at my journal with the CofE tag, you'll see all the background reasoning which I'm omitting here) despite there being no requirement for consummation to make a marriage (and there never having been such a requirement, even in the case of those Scottish common law marriages "by habitation and repute" so beloved of Victorian novelists) you needed a penis and a vagina, one of each, each owned by a different party to the marriage to make it work, because you needed to know which party was the head and which was not.

Date: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 08:08 am (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
I think, to be honest, that to the extent it isn't pure political point-scoring (and a lot of it is) some of the unease with Tim Farron's religion is that he comes from an arm of the church which has an express position on women in leadership roles (hint: they're agin them) and while I've no problem with that in the particular viz T. May, I've a lot of problems with it in the abstract. And it's something that's a lot harder to keep out of one's political life than one's views on sexual morality.

Date: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 08:51 am (UTC)
softfruit: (Default)
From: [personal profile] softfruit
But as with his record on LGB issues (if you think sex outside marriage is a sin and you don't like Teh Gayz you wouldn't vote to make same-sex marriage legal as it would just give them moral licence) in practice Tim has given us I think the first ever Liberal equivalent to the shadow cabinet that is more female than male.

Date: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 02:05 am (UTC)
princessofburundi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] princessofburundi
So if I were married to a man but cheated on him with a woman, that wouldn't count as adultery? If that's true, that is profoundly wrong. And you can't consummate a marriage if it's two women, because consummation only happens between women and men? These rules are disgraceful!

We've had a bit of tangle over here in the Anglican (C of E) church with blessings of non-traditional marriages. The Anglican church as a whole decided that blessings would happen, and individual churches who refused to do so were given the heave-ho by the Anglican Church of Canada. A lot of hubbub has occurred as a result. Even as an advocate for gay marriage (can I call it that????), I'm not sure that churches should lose their standing for not conforming to the greater Anglican rules.

Date: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 07:38 am (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
In our (UK) fault-based divorce system, if you being a woman cheat on your husband with a man, he can't divorce you for adultery but he can divorce you for unreasonable behaviour.

Date: Thursday, April 27th, 2017 01:31 am (UTC)
princessofburundi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] princessofburundi
Good to know. I try not to offend, it's just hard to keep up with the current vogue of terminology. Thanks for helping!

Date: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 06:39 am (UTC)
purpletigron: In profile: Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts from Dr Who (Default)
From: [personal profile] purpletigron
Another reason why this isn't Equal Marriage - non-binary people are not recognised.

Date: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 08:42 am (UTC)
softfruit: (Default)
From: [personal profile] softfruit
Mostly; YES, THIS.

One minor bit though. I may be wrong but surely the Veto does not apply in NI given they don't have same-sex marriage at all and the Bill was only for England and Wales?

Date: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 11:59 am (UTC)
bagpuss: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bagpuss
Thanks for writing this.

I knew we didn't have true marriage equality but I didn't know why, this is a really helpful explanation

Date: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 06:09 pm (UTC)
norfolkian: Holtzmann from Ghostbusters licking a gun (Default)
From: [personal profile] norfolkian
YES YES YES. When I got married, I looked into having a humanist ceremony, but noted that this would not be recognised in law, so I would have to pay for the humanist minister(?) then pay for a registrar to come and do a second, legal ceremony. So I just went with the registrar in the end.

Date: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 09:17 pm (UTC)
hollymath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
Humanist weddings is another good point, and one I think J-Hup spoke about in Parliament?

Date: Thursday, April 27th, 2017 12:47 pm (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
AIUI there are religious groups for whom this is also true, it's not just humanists.

Date: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 09:11 pm (UTC)
rhythmaning: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rhythmaning
Gosh.

I've learned a lot in this post.

Every day's a school day!

Parts of it even made me laugh. (You can only commit adultery with a member of the opposite sex? Oh those Commons' draughters must be so innocent...)

Date: Thursday, April 27th, 2017 02:26 am (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
You can only commit adultery with a member of the opposite sex?

Yeah, a chunk of Tory MPs took it in turns during the debate on the Bill to object to it on the grounds that adultery wouldn't be possible in such a marriage, trying to explain to them that a) it would be and b) the then current rules meant a man having an affair with a man wouldn't count just didn't get anywhere. They had a clear opportunity to sort the law out for all marriages but just couldn't conceive of the idea.

Bisexuality remains an OCP for a large number of our legislators.

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