Still Not Equal – Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act

I was really excited when BBC Radio Nottingham rang me yesterday morning to invite me on to this mornings’ show to talk about my thoughts on the heavily debated and publicised Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act. Unfortunately, I was not given the airtime I thought I’d be getting… More evidence of mainstream media not giving due care and attention to groups and communities so I decided to upload the notes I prepared beforehand. As a Twitter follower @BullshitCastles, quite rightly pointed out:

‘Yeah – it’s what leads to sound-bite culture. No insight, no structure, nothing new – it’s almost pointless! Y’know?’

I couldn’t agree more! This sound-bite culture we are perpetually finding ourselves deeper in is having a major impact on society as a whole and most definitely in terms of people’s political awareness and knowledge. It was interesting that in the beginning of my segment to the interview, I stated that this new Act is not equality the interviewer was really shocked and disputed it almost like a reflex but then failed to give me sufficient airtime to explain properly why that was so…

Anyway, that’s enough of a pre-ramble… Here are the notes I prepared and took with me to the radio station:

  • This act is a huge milestone and it’s certainly a step in the right direction towards the legal and social recognition and acceptance of LGBT people however, this act has major issues
  1. ‘Pension inheritance rights are fewer on death of a same-sex marriage spouse.’
  2. ‘The ban on opposite-sex civil partnerships remains.’
  3. Existing grounds for the annulment of marriage – non-consummation and adultery – do not apply in the case of same-sex marriages.’
  4. ‘No restoration of the marriages of transgender people that were forcibly annulled as a precondition for them securing a gender recognition certificate.’
  5. ‘ “Quadruple lock” legislation, the Church of England and the Church in Wales are explicity banned from performing religious same-sex marriages. While other faiths can “opt in” to marry LGBT people.’ – Homophobic and an attack on religious freedom.
  6. ‘Special requirements for registering premises for the conduct of religious same-sex marriages are more restrictive than for opposite-sex marriages in religious premises.’ Shared religious premises – ‘all sharing faith organisations need to give their permission for the premises to be used for same-sex marriages = Anti-gay churches will have a veto over pro-gay churches.’
  • In short: ‘separate and different are not equal.’

(Source: Peter Tatchell’s article in New Statesman http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2013/07/why-our-new-same-sex-marriage-not-yet-equal-marriage)

  • Rewind to the Stonewall Inn riots in NY in 1969 – their goal and the goal of the LGBT movement born out of the riots was not for equality but rather put liberation – so all people can live how they want to through the continued and sustained efforts in challenging and dismantling patriarchal, hetero-normative and gender-binary attitudes in society.

History Lesson – The Impact of British Colonialism on LGBT Rights

  • There are currently 80+ countries in the world which criminalise homosexuality. About 80% of the 54 Commonwealth countries fall part of the 80 countries. So, over half of the countries which criminalise homosexuality are former British colonies.
  • The British Empire had a sustained detrimental impact on LGBT rights around the world.
  • Example: Thomas Macaulay a British MP was responsibile for the reformation of the criminal code in Ida and he wanted to:
  • Create ‘a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.’
  • This was the dominant narrative of the Empire and the desire of the British to displace indigenous cultures as part of their ‘civilising the savages’ agenda and colonising agenda.
  • Countries throughout Africa, Arabia and Asia have a rich and vibrant history of LGBT people so much so that the British deemed many countries within the region as ‘homo-tolerant.’
  • The version of Christianity brought by the British missionaries particularly in Africa was not LGBT friendly.
  • I say ‘version’ because Jesus (may peace be upon him) walked with the most marginalised people in society and taught love, peace and humility not, exclusion, intolerance and hate.

The Church and Marriage

  • The definition of marriage has changed and thankfully so!
  • Example: women are no longer considered as property. The father walking his daughter down the aisle is symbolic of her passing from her fathers’ possession to her husbands’.
  • The Bible has 6+ definitions of marriage and the heterosexual one man and one woman is just one example. The Bible allows for polygamy – I’m curious to hear why religious traditionalists aren’t campaigning for the acceptance of this Christian marriage (found in the Bible), in this country?

Islam and LGBT

  • Stats say that 1 in 10 people are LGBT. Approx. 1.7 billion Muslims in the world so that means there are over 100 million Muslims who are LGBT.
  • Muslim religious leaders have joined Christian and Jewish leaders in a joint statement:
  • ‘We affirm our resolute support for Dr Williams; (leader of the Anglican Church) endeavour and we rededicate our efforts to fighting… homophobia and to defending the values of intolerance, inclusiveness and respect for difference we all cherish.’
  • There is no term for homosexuality in the Qur’an just certain passages which refer to certain acts which are open to interpretation.
  • Marriage:
  • The principles of love, companionship and comfort in marriage may be applied to Muslim same-sex marriages.
  • Mention multiple discrimination of people who fit into multiple liberation groups (NUS term: read marginalised groups).

(Source: Imaan LGBTQI Muslim Support Group: http://imaan.org.uk/ Look under ‘Islam & Sexuality’ as well as in that section ‘Qur’an FAQ’s’)

 

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