In which Trollus Maximus is outed…and what followed.
In which Trollus Maximus is outed…and what followed.
In which gizmag splashes some cold realism upon recent speculation…
It was our second visit to Salinas, California and this time, just as last, we found ourselves spending the afternoon with an old friend; one whose own Great American Road Trip had not only significantly preceded, but also strongly influenced, ours.
During our stay it occurred to us that we really should share his story with our readers; some of whom may already know it but would nonetheless profit from a reminder. And as a writer of some accomplishment in his own right, we figured there could be no better way to introduce the trip that so inspired us than to hand over the reins and let him simply speak for himself.
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In which Peter Tatchell is, as always, interesting and relevant…
Marriage between two people of the same gender is outlawed under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The repeal of this legislation would make same-sex marriage legal again under the 1949 act. Alas, the government is now proposing different rules for LGBT marriages. For married heterosexuals, non-consummation and adultery with an opposite-sex partner are grounds for annulment or divorce according to the 1949 act. Under the current bill, however, non-consummation does not invalidate a same-sex marriage, and adultery with a person of the same gender is not grounds for divorce. While this may be a progressive reform of marriage legislation, it makes the law unequal.
With regard to pension schemes, the bill does not grant LGBT married couples the same entitlements as married heterosexuals. It allows companies to limit surviving same-sex spouses’ pension payouts to post-2005 accrual only, even if the deceased partner had been paying into their pension since 1970. This perpetuates pension inequalities enshrined in civil partnership law.
The campaign for same-sex marriage has always been premised on the principle of equality, rather than support for marriage per se. I’m no great fan of wedlock. Indeed, I’ve proposed a radical alternative to marriage – a civil commitment pact – where a person can nominate as next-of-kin and beneficiary any “significant other” in their life. But for 21 years I’ve championed the right of LGBT couples to marry. Together with my colleagues in the queer rights group OutRage!, in 1992 I organised five same-sex couples to file applications for civil marriage at Westminster register office. There was a comical moment when the horrified registrar realised the 1949 Act does not prohibit same-sex marriage and made a panicked phone call to the Home Office. She was eventually informed, to her relief, that the prohibition is covered by the 1973 Act.
The current push for marriage equality was begun by the Equal Love campaign. In February 2011 it sponsored four gay couples and four straight couples to file a joint application to the European court of human rights seeking to overturn the twin bans on same-sex civil marriages and opposite-sex civil partnerships. Three months later, David Cameron agreed to support a review of the ban on LGBT marriage, which resulted in the current bill.
There is a significant faction in the Parliamentary Conservative Party which sincere hopes, nay, believes, that delay will be sufficient until some saviour will arise to redeem their chances in 2015.
Gary Younge is too good a journalist, and has been based in the States too long, to be allowed to get away with a silly blooper. Then again, it may be done to a sub editor who doesn’t know the “I” in IRS most definitely does not stand for “Independent”.
That little detail aside, Younge treats us to the expected impressive display of incisive insight…
At least one influential conservative lobbying firm, Heritage Action, has told the Republicans they should prioritise these scandals over any legislation that might divide them. “As the public’s trust in their government continues to erode,” wrote its head, “it is incumbent upon those of us who support a smaller, less intrusive government to lead.”
At a New York fundraiser last week Obama said of the Republicans: “My thinking was that after we beat them in 2012, well, that might break the fever.” Instead they fed it, leaving the right in a state of delirium. Herein lies Obama’s greatest gift – overzealous detractors with a tin ear for the public mood. In the hearings that have taken place so far Republicans have overplayed their hand: skipping from presumption to assumption to accusation unencumbered by facts, logic or proportion. Each time the potential for building public and political support on the matter concerned arises, they squander it for partisan gain. The only luck Obama seems to have had in recent weeks is in his opponents.
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