It’s not that I’m against gay marriage, I’m against marriage. I have nothing against people (of whatever sexual orientation) getting married religiously or wanting their relationship to be recognised publicly. What I don’t get is why the law should grant rights and privileges on the basis of a sexual relationship. I much prefer the now forgotten Italian proposals, whereby the rights and privileges enjoyed by married couples were to be extended to couples regardless of whether they had a sexual relationship or not. Friends, relatives, maybe carers, could have a piece of paper granting them certain rights and privileges.
Why can’t we have off-the-shelf contracts for this? Why should sex give you a privileged position? The protection and upbringing of children is an important and difficult area. Their interest should be paramount. I can hear the screams of those who would be horrified by the thought of two friends or relatives, or (God forbid!) three people bringing up children … cos that never happens right? I’m not outlining a legal framework, but it would be nice to have a discussion on what rights, duties and privileges should arise from relationships. Take carers: they form an important relationship where both the carer and the person receiving care can be in a vulnerable position. Carer and cared-for might live together, or not, what arrangements could be made available? Yes, one can always get an expensive contract, but the choice is limited.
I’m arguing for cheaper and easier contracts for all.
Marriage is the only contract for which you don’t know the ‘terms & conditions’ until it ends. Unbeknown to couples, those terms change throughout the years and depending on country of residence (not where you got married!). By all means, keep the ‘marriage contract’, but people should be able to pick the terms (whilst avoiding harm to the partner/s or third parties) and should be able to modify the terms during their life together. Why not?