The progressive chattering classes and David Cameron have got themselves worked up about gay marriage – though as many gays point out, they have already got the same rights via civil partnerships. The Equal Love Campaign says the combination of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and the Civil Partnership Act 2004 creates a system that segregates couples into two separate legal institutions, with different names but identical rights and responsibilities. It is not a matter of substance.
Where it seems to Guido the gay marriage campaigners have got it wrong is if they intend, as many suspect, to go on to legally force religious institutions to marry them contrary to the teachings of their churches, mosques, synagogues and temples. Legislation forcing people to do something against their faith seems to Guido to be a breach of human rights, not an extension.
Yet there is an almighty Lilliputian row going on over mere nomenclature. If people want to describe themselves as married, partnered, hitched, contracted or whatever, so be it. Live and let live. Hopefully it won’t go as far as Spain where the socialists have, in the name of equality, legislated so that birth certificates read “Progenitor A” and “Progenitor B” instead of “father” and “mother”. As a libertarian Guido isn’t convinced that the state should be in the marriage/partnering or birth certifying business in any event.
As it is Fathers Day it seems to Guido a good time to bring up a matter of sexual equality before the law that is a matter of substance – fathers and mothers should be entitled to a legally binding “presumption of shared parenting” after separation, whether it is a divorce or un-partnering. You don’t need to be a Fathers4Justice campaigner to see that the current presumption in favour of the mother is unjust. Where is the Campaign for Equality in Divorce?