Could be that I am slow to comprehend. Could be that British law is slower on the upturn. Could just be that Equality Minister, Lynne Featherstone has inadvertently misplaced her copy of the Magna Carta.
Some things are so terribly complex. Others, however, proffer no Gordian Knots requiring lengthy unravellings.
Please, someone, whip out Alexander’s sword.
Ms. Featherstone has, according to gay-rights activist, Peter Tatchell,
“postponed” the planned government consultation on the issue of civil partnerships and same-sex marriage. She portrays herself, and her Liberal Democratic Party, as champions of LGBT rights, seeking to “ensure that there is full implementation across Europe, of the Council of Europe’s measure to combat homophobic discrimination”.
Not being, myself, a Brit, I confess ignorance as to the machinations of British legislative action.
But, I’m thinking in my slow little brain, that a “conference” is an altogether mild view of her obligations to ensure full equality under law for all British citizens.
At this exact moment, a full six months removed from Spring 2012, thousands of ostensibly equal citizens in Britain, are excluded, based solely on account of sameness of gender, from entering into binding legal contracts with other amenable, competent adults.
Specifically, they are enjoined from entering into that historically rights-granting legal state known as marriage.
Marriage has, after all, always been, a simple matter of agreement between amenable (sometimes), competent (usually) adults (well…).
As in, you may have my daughter, in marriage, if you agree to give me ten goats. Or, you may have, in legal matrimony, my middle son, if you agree that he shall have hereafter, and forever, free, full title to your herd of swine.
Simple, civil, agreement. Terms of partnership, if not endearment. A civil partnership, if you please.
So, why a delayed conference? Why any “conference” at all? Is there a lack of clarity on the matter? What is there, exactly, that requires lengthy discussion, debate, chatter?
Though penned a fairly long time ago, the Magna Carta was indisputably written in English. Even my slow wit can comprehend the intent of Article 29, in the updated version, circa 1297.
“No freeman is to be taken or imprisoned or disseised of his free tenement or of his liberties or free customs, or outlawed or exiled or in any way ruined, nor will we go against such a man or send against him save by lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land. To no-one will we sell or deny or delay right or justice.”
Really? Conference? March 2012?
Sword, please! Madame, lay the scissors down!