Tag Archive for marriage equality

Four Years in the Making…

Four years ago today, we put on gorgeous white dresses, walked down the aisle in front of our family and friends, spoke our vows and exchanged rings.  But at that time we were not allowed to use the words “bride” or “wife” in our vows or refer to the commitment we were making as a “marriage”.  Instead, we entered into a civil partnership, something which closely resembled civil marriage in all but name.  Some people might have waited until full equality had been achieved before taking that step, but we were eager to start a family together and wanted to do so from a place of commitment publically declared and legally bound.

On 29th March 2014, the first same sex marriages finally took place in this country and then on 10th December 2014, it became legal to convert a civil partnership into a civil marriage.

We contemplated having a big party to celebrate finally being able to truly say we were married, but priorities change and – as I’m sure those who were there on the day will agree – nothing could ever begin to match the delight of our wedding day.

Instead, today we have visited our local Registry Office to fill out the paperwork and are headed back to our wedding venue for delicious food and relaxing spa treatments.

The four years we have been civil partnered have been amazing.  We have continued to grow and learn about each other and ourselves.  We have been through the struggles of raising newborn twins and enjoyed first steps, first words and watching our children’s personalities blossom.  It hasn’t always been easy and it hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows but I can definitely say that our relationship is stronger now than it has ever been, even whilst it has changed to accommodate the presence of two other people in our lives.

Marriage isn’t stationary; it’s a constantly moving and growing thing.  It ebbs and flows, reaches pinnacles and nadirs.  It is constantly teaching us more about each other and ourselves and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  We are human, we fall, but I wouldn’t want anyone else there to pick me up again.

So, if you would like to, please raise a glass to us and our marriage – four years in the making!

4 Years in the Making from Becoming Mums on Vimeo.

Unholy Matrimony

Before we started planning our wedding, I didn’t know much about Civil Partnerships.  I knew that legislation had been passed that afforded gay people the same legal rights as straight people following a ceremony, but I hadn’t given it much thought aside from that.

When we got the first bits of paperwork through from Kent County Council, I went on their website and looked up details about our ceremony.  I was surprised to note that it specified that a Civil Partnership could only be between two people of the same sex.  It hadn’t really occurred to me that this might be something only available to gay couples.  After all, straight friends of mine have had Civil Marriage Ceremonies; what was the difference?

It was my nan who actually asked us that question.  And I didn’t know the answer.  So, like all good 21st Century gals, I turned to Google.

It turned out there wasn’t really a difference.  We could still have a ceremony, although it wasn’t essential, and we would have all the same legal rights as we would if we were a straight, married couple.

But we couldn’t technically, officially say we were married.

When the legislation was introduced, in December 2005, there was still uproar from certain religious circles, despite the fact that the government had specifically avoided referring to this legal recognition of a relationship as a “marriage”.

What it boils down to is that the only significant difference between a Civil Marriage Ceremony and a Civil Partnership is religion.  A Civil Marriage Ceremony may contain religious aspects.  A Civil Partnership may not.

Now this was neither here nor there to us.  We had no desire to include any religious aspects and there are plenty of beautiful secular readings out there to pad out your ceremony and reflect the way the two of you feel about your relationship.

But.

It kind of bothered me.  Bothers me.  The only thing making us have to tick the “Civil Partnered” box, rather than the “Married” box on a form, is religion.

The UK government has announced plans to launch a consultation into gay marriage in March 2012 and this will be the first time any British government has actually considered full marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.  About bloody time, quite frankly!

I’m incredibly grateful that my wife and I (I’m probably not officially allowed to call her that, but really, “Civil Partner” is a fucking mouthful!) have been able to have a legally recognised partnership, but I do think it’s ridiculous that we’re not allowed to call it a marriage, lest we upset the poor, bigoted religious types*, who preach love and tolerance, but seem to struggle to put any of this into practice.

It’s about time we had real marriage equality in this country.  As far as I’m concerned, I got married to my wife, but I’d quite like the law to recognise that too.

*It’s only fair to say that my ire is directed solely at the self-righteous, prejudice laden religious types, who I know are not representative of all religious people.

%d bloggers like this: