Friday, December 23, 2005

Lots of celebrations, another committee and a challenge to identity

So its been 'weddings' and 'marriages' (and lots of quote marks) all week here and over there. Grainne and Shannon stole the show with their registration in Belfast. Elton and David dominated the news yesterday and I watched the goings on live on Sky News. Earlier 3 couples became the first couples to be registered in a joint ceremony in Brighton and it was live on Breakfast TV on the BBC.

Nearly pinched myself to see if I was really watching the proceedings of a same sex partnership ceremony live on the news. It was a really good news day or good news week. There has been very positive coverage throughout and a lot of happiness and general good will.

Yet another committee is formed to look at the matter in the Republic of Ireland. The members of the working group, whoever they may be, will have a reading list to assist them (and hopefully a bit of consultation!!! sees pig flying with rudolf)

And the website of the Women and Equality Unit of the Department of Trade and Industry in the UK which has several useful documents on the practicalities of implementing the Act in the UK.

Finally they need to also read Lotte Jeffs in the Guardian yesterday talking about the impact of all this on couples or partners or fuckbuddies or single queers who don't want to get registered. Also the Daily Telegraph looks at the many thousands of lesbians and gay men who will lose benefits as a result of the new legislation in the UK.

In the 9 years I have been together with my partner I have not been financially dependent on her or her me. We of course share money, pay for different things and for things together but generally maintain our financial independence, there is no joint bank account. I don't know if I would mind if I was to lose income if when we were in a registered partnership (and I am being very very presumptive there). But I do hate the automatic assumptions that are made that I should be dependent on her because she earns so much more than I do - or that if I was not working that I would give her my tax credits, or that I would lose medical and other benefits because she earns to much.

I hear a lot of 'with rights come responsibilities' stuff from same sex partnership rights campaigners. However I do see that with rights could come a lack of independence, choice, respect, diversity, and ability to decide what type of relationship many lesbians and gay people have. I don't want my desires and needs for partnership recognition to discriminate against those who wish to live their lives and sexual identity in whatever manner they wish. I think that the debate here needs to include those other voices and broaden the view and understanding of relationships, sexuality, culture and life.


At 09:15, Anonymous Damien Mulley said...

Hopefully this will be the last consultation and not as much of a fix as the All Party Committee on the Constitution.

At 11:28, Anonymous morgan said...

Damien: agreed.

Issues about "rights and responsibilities", independence and mutuality, tax and benefits should equally apply to heterosexual couples and, to my mind, be the subjecct of a separate debate. I think that couples, like straight couples today, should have the right not to get married/registered, and I wonder how that right would be affected by a second class civil partnership bill applicable to any 2 people, gay or straight.

At 15:36, Anonymous Ian McGahon said...

hmmm... McDowell has mentioned the adoption word - very interesting except very few people have picked up on it


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