Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's Time We Had Another Word for Marriage

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's Time We Had Another Word for Marriage

Article excerpt

Byline: David Sexton

THERE are many excellent reasons to loathe Frank Sinatra but his popularising of the frightful jingle Love and Marriage is among the most compelling. "Love and marriage, love and marriage/ Go together like a horse and carriage" The image doesn't quite work, does it? Even making due allowance for the paucity of rhymes for "marriage" in English, the only other remotely useable one, as greetings card writers know to their cost, is "disparage". Hence verse two of Sinatra's abomination: "Love and marriage, love and marriage/ It's an institute you can't disparage" Well, you can, you know. Londoners Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan, although in a committed long-term relationship, disparage marriage as historically patriarchal and sexist. They would like instead to form a civil partnership which "would reflect their values and give due recognition to the equal nature of their relationship". But they can't, because the Civil Partnership Act of 2004 offers civil partnership only to same-sex couples, not to what the law calls "opposite-sex couples". Sauce for the goose ain't sauce for the gander.

Yesterday, daftly, the Court of Appeal ruled against Steinfeld and Keidan upholding the law while admitting the Government should change it.

The 2004 Act has clearly been overtaken by the introduction of same-sex marriage on March 29, 2014 but the Government's policy at the moment remains, according to its own lawyer, using inverted commas as if it were a rare technical term, "to wait and see". That is, to wait and see if the introduction of same-sex marriage will lead to the virtual disappearance of civil partnerships or whether there will be significant numbers who continue to opt for them and then to decide whether to extend the right to civil partnerships to "mixed-sex couples" (Steinfeld and Keidan's preferred term) or else just abolish civil partnerships altogether. …

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