Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Marriage Equality – Irish Style!

February 19th, 2008 · 4 Comments · Ciaran Cuffe, Feminism, Lesbian, LGBT, Same Sex Partnerships, Social Policy

The Marriage Equality initiative was launched yesterday, I’ll have more later in the week on the issues raised by the campaign but I have some immediate thoughts and questions. The Civil Registration Act amendment move is one that has been called for before and it would be good to get an answer from Government that did not mention Attorney General’s unpublished advice that has not been tested in the courts.

So back to the burning issues for me so far – The definition of equality and the matters of dissolution.

1. Let’s think about the impact that marriage might have on cohabitants in terms of the social welfare system. No sign of anything on this in Marriage Equality’s documentation either.

I would welcome an accompanying campaign from Marriage Equality for the individualisation of the system so that those who don’t marry do not lose social welfare entitlements or medical cards because they live together. In fact in all the campaigning for equality there seems to be no consideration in this campaign for other family forms/ cohabitants/ relationship forms and an active discouragement of their mention. Ever feel like you might be smacked down? Marriage seems to be the only form of relationship worth consideration or acknowledgement.

Evidence from the UK suggests that lower income lesbian and gay couples have not been thought about there either. But sure aren’t we all supposed to be economic talents or something. Poverty? Double or triple discrimination?

Disabled and lesbian or gay? Ah sure you live with your partner and should marry them and then you’ll be looked after or if you don’t marry them and they are better off than you they can mind you (even get a carers allowance and take away your independence completely!) and you’ll lose all your entitlements after the means test. Just a little bit of potential for abuse here. I have seen it happen in heterosexual land. It’s not pretty!

I don’t want to hear the mantra about ‘with rights come responsibilities’. These are people’s lives we are playing with here and social justice comes in many forms. Oh what’s that?? Ah I might run a seminar on it one day to remind people about that as I think many of the former leaders in that movement seem to have forgotten.

2. If the campaign succeeded are the group proposing a 4 year wait for divorce? With litigation, high costs, in camera and all the other injustices that come with a system critiqued so well by Carol Coulter amongst others?

Not a word mentioned about dissolution of marriages etc. in any of the stuff from Marriage Equality I have read so far. Except how the divorce rate in Massachusetts was not effected by the introduction of equality. Ah yes these relationships that we are looking for parity with for never fail.

Again I suppose I feel bound to point out I support full equality, I’m just not prepared to dump on everyone (and my principles) in the rush to the registry office.

All that said look at Ciaran Cuffe leading the campaign of the 6 versus the 78!

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe said he and his party backed marriage equality but did not have the support in Government of the majority partner. “At the end of the day politically it boils down to six versus 78,” he said.

Poor man. Someone should give him a hand!



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