It’s only one small step to marriage equality
JACKIE Kemp (Insight, 19 August) writes several column inches about how the law on marriage has been completely overhauled over the centuries, but then says that allowing same-sex couples to marry would be too big a change. But it is in reality a much smaller step. Unlike, for example, the big changes to divorce law in 2006, introducing same-sex marriage won’t change the law for other marriages at all. It will have zero effect on existing or future mixed-sex marriages.
Nor, as Jackie Kemp claims, is it particularly difficult to draft the law. Civil partnership required 430 pages of legislation: a major task undertaken for one reason only – to deny same-sex couples access to real marriage by creating a separate, segregated system. In contrast, opening marriage to same-sex couples will be a much simpler bill. So much so that, if the Scottish Government were not writing the bill, the Equality Network would be preparing a draft ourselves.
Why do this? Because a country that denies a minority access to the institutions that everyone else enjoys is perpetuating discrimination. Creating a simulacrum of the institution and segregating the disadvantaged minority into that instead is not the answer.
Enforced segregation of a minority entrenches discrimination, as much for sexual orientation as for better known cases of racial segregation.
The same choices should be available to all.
Tim Hopkins, Equality Network, Edinburgh
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