Can I put a hashtag in a post title? Is that weird?
A friend posted something very sensible on Facebook but there’s no “share” button so I thought I’d note down some thoughts here.
Can’t we just make marriage equal and a purely civil matter, disestablish the Church of England and leave people who want to have some sort of religious service after they are official married to sort themselves out?
Explicitly excluding the CoE from the latest proposed legislation is utterly bizarre, makes the whole endeavour a waste of time and serves only to highlight how ridiculous it is to have 26 bishops, ex officio, in the House of Lords.
That basically. Let’s downgrade the C of E so that it has exactly the same rights and powers as every other religious body (and when I say “powers” I mean “no powers”) and make some sensible decisions that are based on actually thinking about what is right and fair rather than based on this is how it has always been.
Everyone can have a legal marriage, or civil partnership, or whatever you want to call it. You can call it a kerdonkeywonk agreement if you like, to avoid upsetting those who think their marriage is somehow devalued by other people also getting married. Like there’s a certain amount of specialness to go around and it gets diluted if other people join in.
Any two adults* wanting to legally bind themselves together can toddle off to a legally-recognised place to sign the appropriate bits of paper and make the appropriate declarations in front of the necessary witnesses. Once you are legally bound together the results would be exactly as they are now for couples who are married. Except for the consummation thing – because really nobody is ever going to be able to prove that (ask Catherine of Aragon) so let’s drop it entirely – marriage hasn’t been about producing an heir to inherit the estate for a rather long time.
Anyone wishing to augment that legal status with a big party is free to do so in front of their friends (real or imaginary), and any organisation wishing to carry out ceremonies of this kind can make whatever odd restrictions they like. You will only say your magic words for couple of the opposite sex? Sure. You want to only play the organ music for couples who have gone to your special classes? Whatever. Couples have to promise to tell their children (if they have them) certain stories? Do as you wish, but none of what you do or say is in any way legally binding.
I realise none of this is original or particularly revolutionary – I’m not expecting to rock the world with my amazing new insights – I’m just surprised that it is so simple and it doesn’t seem to be being seriously considered.
*Not quite any two adults** – I’d keep the current rules on incest (cousins OK, closer than cousins not OK, lived together as siblings while under 18 also not OK even if not related by blood) because I think these are generally to do with preventing abuse and coercion and sound quite sensible.
** While we’re at it can we come up with a more sensible definition of what “adult” means? 16 year olds can join the armed forces, 17 year olds can drive, 18 year olds can drink and smoke, you have to be 21 to get full minimum wage, and under 25s don’t get as much housing benefit as those over 25… I’m not suggesting that everything has to happen all at one birthday but the rules should at least look like they are part of a coherent theory.