Apparently It’s Time

This, rather lovely, Australian video has been goung around my friends circle and some other channels I “listen” to recently. Stating “it’s time”.

Also Zach Wahls moving testament is still rousing people from their chairs (or at least prompting a push of the “share” button).

There is a kind of “buzz” for things to change on this front. I can relate to the sentiment that it is time. But time for what?

I find the subject of gay marriage wholly confusing because it involves a lot of intertwined but ultimately very different factors. The work for gay marriage often deals with only onr or two of these at the time depending on the conditions in the country, state or other type of legal dominion. The subject is rarely addressed on a larger scale.

In Denmark gay marriage will be possible this spring (2012). But in some ways gay marriage has been possible since 1989 albeit in the form of a “registered parthership”. Denmark is considered progressive on this subject however we have never managed to dis-entangle church and state. Because of this our new church minister faced quite a problem when he set out to give gay couples the full right of marriage.

To me the fight for having the right to marry has always seemed uninteresting if what I get is the right to marry in the church. It is very surprising to me that we still maintain a way of life where the right to be a real couple (the danish term for a legally wed couple is “ægtefæller” literally meaning “real-companions”) is administered by the church. I do not want to be married by a priest.

I did, however, become interested in the issue when I learned that at some point it was considered that homosexual couples would be called “life-companions”. It seemed like some players in the game was very reluctant to give up the term “real”. And to me that is perhaps the most important piece in this puzzle: the right to be recognised as a “real” thing. Not a special consideration, a dry legal “partnership between two individuals” or anything else.

For this to work the blessing of the church needs to be removed from the game. Let people go and get the blessing of their various religious institutions on their own (I am surprised some would even want to be married by a priest who is forced by the law to do so). This is where the progressive nature of Denmark is revealed as not as utopic as the world likes to think (and indeed, we like to think so ourselves). We are not yet prepared to do this one fundamental thing and as such the legislation will be a patchwork of exemptions and conditions… not a pillar of equal rights to all.

(and when we’re done talking about this we can start considering the discrimination against single people that the concept of legal marriage really is)


3 responses

  1. Here’s our interview with Zach where he talks about what it was like growing up with two mothers, what led him to decide to go and speak before the House of Representatives, how his life has changed after this speech thrust him into the public eye, and what other young people can do to fight for equality and speak out against intolerance.

    December 2, 2011 at 02:12

    • Thank you for that.

      December 2, 2011 at 02:39

  2. Adrian

    I share your views (as we often do), about gay marriage in a church. I don’t ever want to get married in a church – and therefore just as you, I’ve never been particularly interested in that fight. But what got me going was the fact that firstly “registered partnership” does not enjoy all the same legal rights as a heterosexual marriage. Secondly we even can’t call it a registered partnership a marriage – or “ægteskab”. Thirdly as long as the Church is part of the State, it should be for everyone, and if the Church doesn’t want the State to interfere they should separate.

    Our Church Minister have found a solution that I myself find satisfactory. We will be able to be called “real-companions” on par with the heteros, and enjoy same legal rights as well. A special ceremony regarding same-sex marriage will be written into the Danish Book of Hymns. And while a gay couple always can get married in a Church, the priest belonging to the Church can always refuse if it goes against their beliefs, and another priest that is willing will be provided – not unlike priests that can refuse to marry divorced people.

    I think that this solution is fair, and isn’t really a patchwork of conditions and exceptions. The only real difference is the ceremony, but I can’t really get pissed at gender-neutral ceremony. The thing is that our society finally will recognize that gay love is just as valid and real as the straight ones, at least in the eyes of the State and legislation.

    December 8, 2011 at 13:33

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