Thursday, December 22, 2005

Civil partnerships are divorced from reality

Hundreds of same-sex couples will this week tie the knot in Britain's first civil-partnership ceremonies. In registry offices all over the land, lesbian and gay partners will, at last, gain legal recognition.
While this milestone is a cause for celebration, it also has a downside. For the first time in modern British legal history, instead of repealing discrimination parliament has reinforced and extended it. Civil partnerships are for same-sex couples only. Straights are excluded. Conversely, marriage remains reserved for heterosexuals, to the exclusion of gays. The differential treatment of hetero and homo couples is enshrined in law. Welcome to segregation, UK-style.

The homophobia of the ban on same-sex marriage is now compounded by the heterophobia of the ban on opposite-sex civil partnerships. It's official: one law for heterosexuals and another for lesbians and gays. Since when have two wrongs made a right?
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