Saturday, 2 January 2010

Civil Partnership Should be Available to Hetrosexuals - A Response to Donal Blaney

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice
I wasn't going to blog anymore today but Iain Dale's Daley Dozen alerted me to this post by Donal Blaney. In he he talks about marriage for gays an argument he prefaces with this before going into his argument:

"As a libertarian and a Christian myself, I really do not give two hoots whether someone is gay, bisexual or whatever. We are taught to love the sinner but to hate the sin."

So you can imagine this open line brings in a couple of conflict which grate. First he claims to a libertarian yet is imposing a restriction on liberty. Also he then says he doesn't give two hoots about being gay, bisexual or whatever before calling those that are sinners, admittedly ones that he loves, but you get a felling that maybe that is out of commandment, rather than fully heart felt.

He uses the religious argument:

"Marriage is, or rather ought simply to be, a religious ceremony giving God's blessing on the union of one man and one woman."

Problem is that is not the case, there are non-religious marriages going on in registry offices and other locations all across the country. There are also religious people and yeah that included Christian's who are gay, bisexual, transgendered or whatever who have found love and would love to have that blessed before God. Now those that enter non-religious marriage are no less a married couple that does that do so in a church, synagogue, mosque, temple or whatever. The woman is still allowed to take on the husbands name and call herself Mrs. They are married in the eyes of everyone, they are not made to feel second class nor do they have less standing under law than their religious counterparts.

The fact that mixed-sex couples can only solemnise their relationship though marriage and same sex only through partnership means that in the eyes of many a civil partnership is deemed to be an inferior union. Yet there are many mixed-sex couple who do not like the institution of marriage but would like some protection of their rights, which at present for them only a marriage can afford. Similarly there are many gay couple who would be happy being civil-partnered (and what a horrible convoluted turn of phrase that is) but many would also like the option of a marriage.

There is no equality in the system at the present, indeed there are two (three if we count religious and civil mixed-sex marriage as separate) ways in which union can occur and not everybody has access to both. To give perfect equality of status both marriage and civil partnership should be available to couple irrespective of orientation therein surely is the truly libertarian approach.

The greatest injustice of the split between the two systems comes from the case of those who once married find that one partner wishes to undergo gender reassignment. Such as realisation and decision by one of the partners in that relationship can lead to the end of the relationship if the other partner is not comfortable with it. However, what happens if the other partner is supportive and stands by their man or woman through all the stages of gender reassignment. They have shown that they still love the other person by sticking by them as they probably promised at their ceremony, but their marriage has to be divorces or civil partnership dissolved to enable them to recognise their true gender.

Many of the countries that have already allowed same-sex marriage also allow for civil partnerships both of mixed-sex and same-sex couples. That is true equality the individuals decide what level or union type they wish to get joined under, and who will carry out such a ceremony.

Donal says:

"I really do not care what people get up to in the privacy of their own lives as long as it does not cause harm to others."

But in essence you do you blog post has shown that. You are prepared to only let mixed-sex couples who do not approve of the institution of marriage to either get married or take their chances in an unformalised state, which could hurt them or their children in the future. Also there are those you claim to not give two hoots about who you are quite happen to live in the eyes of some, maybe family members, maybe work colleagues or whomever in what is an inferior state as it is not on offer to mixed-sex couples. They can often feel hurt when they are told "but you're not really married" if they really want to be.

Now I'm not calling Donal Blaney homophobic for having his views, though I do believe that rebuke was aimed at Alex Singleton for his Telegraph column which spurred on Donal. But any Christian (i.e. a sinner sanctified by grace) ever forgets the sin in their own eye when casting about some of the statements that he did to justify his position, should look at the hurt that such sayings do cause.

I was a sinner saved by grace at an age before I was sexually aware and active. I spent years fighting with myself over the issue, as it was a right chicken and the egg situation. People making comments like Donal's and growing up in Northern Ireland there was an awful lot only hurt me more. It's not necessarily homophobia but it is a distinct lacking of the love that they at the same time claim to be expressing.

UPDATE: As different colours points out below this opinion is also shared by Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and DELGA the Lib Dem LGBT group.


  1. If Blaney wrote it then it is likely to be rubbish.

    Blaney is the blogger who argued that we need Fox News in the UK to offer real news. If he has that little grasp on reality then it explains much.

  2. It's worth noting that both Nick Clegg and DELGA support full equality of both marriage and civil partnerships - and recognition of those relationships across the EU.