June 17, 2013

Lords Help Us

Listening to the House of Lords debate on the Marriage Bill is not the way I'd hoped to spend my morning. It is instructive to see the extent to which some who have hit bottom keep digging. It is also a bit sad to note than many of the most senior Lords who oppose the Bill will likely not live long enough to be embarrassed by their comments, as society and culture continue to move towards equality. I'm reminded of reading the debates on racial equality from sixty years ago.

Strangest of all are those who, under the guise of an interest in equality, point out that the Bill still makes distinctions between same- and mixed-sex couples on the matters of adultery and annulment for the cause of no consummation.

However, neither of these represent inequalities in marriages, but differences in the means by which particular marriages may be terminated or annulled. This is no more "unequal" than the fact that any given marriage may be ended on the basis of adultery only if adultery has taken place. The fact that English law has not recognized same-sex sexual activity as "adultery" (and has no intention to do so) has no relevance to couples whose marriages remain faithful.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

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