In 2004, the UK thought it had found a suitable compromise to legalizing same-sex marriage. But civil partnerships, which are equal to marriage in every legal respect, have become insufficient for those seeking advances in human rights. Now, a bill stands before the British parliament that would legalize same-sex marriage. “Both opponents and supporters of the bill concede that marriage has changed in various ways over time,” said Robert Skidelsky, a member of the British House of Lords. “They also agree that a central core has remained constant. But they disagree about what that core is.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Opponents of the bill argue that marriage has not historically been a “long envelope” into which any expression of love and commitment can be placed. “It is not so regarded in contemporary Britain; and even less so in the non-Western world, where unions of men and women are considered the norm.” But, said Skidelsky, “there is a glaring weakness in the arguments of the bill’s opponents: while they hint darkly at the ‘unintended consequences’ of legalizing same-sex marriage, they cannot spell out exactly what these consequences would be.”