In an issue gay people would file under “problems we would like to have,” a straight British couple is going to court for the right to essentially gay-marry each other.
While some jurisdictions recognize gay marriage, and some allow “civil partnerships,” gay marriage is not a right recognized nearly as widely as same-sex marriage. But the opportunity to marry one another, a right denied gay people in many places, is not enough to satisfy the couple, both of whom are 26:
“The titles of husband and wife and all the things that pop into people’s heads when you say you’re getting married don’t appeal to us,” said (Katherine) Doyle, a student. “In our day-to-day life we feel like civil partners — we don’t feel like husband and wife, and we want the government to recognize that.”
An activist who commented on the case cited a larger motivation to have “one law for everybody,” but also implied that the fight to legalize gay marriage is somehow harmful to straight couples, roughly half of whom don’t even see fit to honor the vows they take in the first place:
“Denying heterosexual couples the right to have a civil partnership is heterophobic,” Peter Tatchell said.
As someone who has watched close gay friends genuinely suffer due to lacking the option to marry, this seems to me to be a bit of a slap in the face to the movement to legalize gay marriage. Setting the debate back to whether marriage, a mostly heterosexual institution, should even exist will only serve to delay gay people being granted equal rights as well as bolster arguments from gay marriage opponents that allowing gay people to marry somehow tears at the fabric of the institution of marriage.
Does this fight advance smarter marriage and civil union related policy, or is it a setback for the fight to allow gays to marry?