Britain: Marriage for homosexuals?

By 2015.

The BBC reports that the Archbishop of Westminster, who heads the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, has said he's 'very disappointed' with PM David Cameron's proposal to morph civil partnerships for homosexuals into full-blown marriages by the time of the next general election. 

There's tough opposition to the idea from traditionalists.

What does this involve? Well, at present gays entering into a civil partnership already enjoy all the benefits afforded to married couples involving tax and inheritance and so on. The change would enable homosexuals to refer to themselves as being married and allow them to conduct ceremonies in places of worship, assuming those religious bodies agreed.

Cameron has been vociferous in his support of equality for homosexuals. Recently he announced that UK foreign aid would be dependant on equal human rights being available to all in recipient countries. Some Africans were affronted. But at last the Pound Sterling is being used to alter minds, and not before time.

In England and Wales "mainstream religious organisations, including the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, believe that scripture and tradition dictate that marriage must be between a man and a woman so it can lead to the possibility of children" explains Martin Beckford of the BBC

These religious institutions have failed to appreciate that man is an evolving species, and the precepts of their faith were established long, long ago. We've moved on since then, and society is changing at an ever rapid rate. Attitudes are altering and intolerance towards minorities is reducing. Liberal democracy is more civilised these days. And anyway, with global population exceeding seven billion is it still desirable to encourage everyone to procreate?

I grew up in a society where homosexuals were sexual deviants, imprisoned for their actions and ostracised by neighbours and colleagues. Inevitably they kept their feelings to themselves, speaking in vague terms about their social lives, always implying but never specific. The reform Acts of the 1960s may have legitimised them but they did not make them acceptable. Even today, Archbishops place them outside their churches on a prextext of ancient, unsubstantiated dogma. And while society has moved on, at least in liberal Western democracies, many aspects of life remain verboten.

So, when a prime minister - and a Tory at that - talks of permitting gays to marry, he speaks not merely of facilitating a right of passage for homosexuals to enter the restricted confines of the Normal world, he empowers gays to proudly boast in public of their love for another human being. 

David Cameron proposes to take one major legal step towards the moment when a gay can tell his parent, I will date that friend ...  that same-sex friend, and expect, even demand, the acceptance and joy of that parent towards the prospect of that relationship blossoming.

For until that moment arrives, homosexuals' human rights are merely enshrined in law, and not in the mores of society.

Good on David Cameron, may other world leaders follow his example.

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