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Love and marriage goes together like horse and carriage (in 13 countries around the world, at least…)
If the missus and me want to get married – married in the way the hets can marry, that is – then up until last month we hypothetically had the choice of 12 countries to move to in order to tie the knot. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden and Uruguay and last month, in April 2013, New Zealand became the 13th nation to be added to this enlightened list. The debates about marriage itself – is it an outdated and sexist institution centred around the feudal concept of animal husbandry (the animals in this context being the women)? – are for another column. What I’m celebrating is the fact that these countries see fit to have on their statute books a concrete, enforceable recognition of same-sex relationships being as real and valid as their straight counterparts. In fact the legislation, in my mind at least, just makes us all the same: gay, straight, whatever. You love someone, you want to make a commitment and have that celebrated, then you can choose to get hitched. Until I met my partner (all get ready to say “aaahhhh”) whenever I thought of the M-word, I saw a huge cartoon millstone lashed around my neck. I fell in love, my version of love - yours might be very different – and all of a sudden I started to understand why people might want to get married. I know that marriage and monogamy are not everyone’s bag and that’s cool and as it should be; what is not cool is some bigoted, self-serving politician or pontiff telling me I can’t marry because I am an abomination tearing at the fabric of society. A lot of my straight friends envy my civil partnership status, as it’s free from a lot of the anachronistic bullshit around ownership, the giving away of women and all that obeying. I, for one, have totally had it with this “I’m not homophobic but…” attitude of our policymakers. So I hope our lot in the UK think on New Zealand’s actions and start to get real about equality, and equality for all – gay or straight. It’s high time.