Monday, 20 May 2013

Other Amendments to Marriage Equality

Beyond those 3 that are attracting a whole lot of attention, there are a number of other amendments as well, some of which are worth commenting on

Religious freak outs. We have a whole load of amendments that say, basically, the churches need protecting from the icky icky gay folk. These are pretty much redundant since the bill already lets religious groups be bigots over and over again including with that ridiculous quadruple lock. There is no need for these amendments and their inclusion just adds fuel to the fire that poor religious groups are being forced by the nasty gay folk.

Chaplains. A provision to protect chaplains from the icky icky gay folk. I vehemently oppose this. It’s one thing for private religious bodies to practice their bigotry (which I strong disapprove of anyway) but that goes beyond the pale when chaplains provide services for the government and are paid with tax payer money. My tax money shouldn’t be paying for bigotry against me.

Adultery &Consummation. These archaic concepts are, at the moment, defined by penis-in-the-vagina (PIV) sex and are generally inapplicable to same-sex couples. But, to be frank and as I have explained before, they’re also pretty ridiculous for opposite sex couples as well. The amendments would remove all mention of both of these outdated concepts from the law – I approve wholeheartedly.

Trans provisions: there are a number here. Firstly one that preserves pension rights for couples when one partner transitions – an obvious yes and needed.

The current law allows a marriage to be voidable should one party be trans and not tell the other. The amendment would remove this – and I heartily agree. Should they wish to end the marriage there are already tools to end it. I do not think being trans is such a super-special clause that it needs its own voidable clause, nor do I like pressures of disclosure being pushed on trans people.

The law as it stands requires a cis person in a marriage to a trans person to statutorily declare they want the marriage to keep on after the trans person transitions. This is exceedingly icky and the amendment removing it is badly needed – this sets a presumption that they will want their marriage to end, it sets a presumption that cis people automatically need an out from marriage with a trans person – it sets up an ideal that being married to a trans person is a terribad fate that people need rescuing from and that most people would – should – flee from. As I say above, nothing will force you to remain married, we already have a pathway to ending a marriage without having to impose this insulting presumption of dissolution and forcing couples to take steps NOT to be automatically divorced.

There is also an amendment allowing the altering of marriage certificates to reflect a trans person’s gender and birth certificates of their children to reflect their parents’ gender. Definitely needed.

In the past, trans people have been forced to annul their marriages to transition (since same-sex marriage was illegal). There is an amendment to allow these people to reinstate their marriage and have it listed as continuous. Definitely something to support – they did not want their marriage to end and had that forced on them by a bigoted law, time to correct that.