Let's just say that there are some major European countries which have still to enact gay marriage legislation, including Germany and Italy.
It seems likely that the UK will legislate to move from civil partnerships to gay marriage before Germany does, so that may redress the balance. We've already established that you think that's a bigger deal than I do and hopefully we've agreed to differ on that.
It is respect for this choice that is desirable. You might think it goes without saying that a couple can exercise that choice as long as the law allows them to marry. Not everywhere: in most of Canada, those legal protections and obligations will be incurred whether the couple wants their relationship recognised or not, which in my mind is only one step above randomly assigning people to be married for their own good. Most of the rights and obligations of marriage are imposed on couples who have been cohabiting long enough.
In Quebec, individuals remain single until they tell the government otherwise, which is far better in my view. It adds to the value of marriage that way, and also to the value of singleness, and respects the dignity of people's choice in the matter.
The question you also ask, why should anyone have access to this package of rights and obligations? Well, because it's an obvious set of arrangements. As a default, I want only one person making decisions about me if I am incapacitated. I want only one person to inherit my estate. I want all of those other aspects of married life. I'm not interested in signing contracts for each little quibbling thing. So if I choose to invite friends and family to witness the commitment I make to someone, I'd like all of those things to just automatically follow.
The issue with the exclusion of gays from marriage again comes back to choice: its ours to make.
Last edited by bankside; February 27th, 2013 at 04:54 PM.
I think it really evolved post-Charter, with courts applying a whole bunch of new tests and interpreting things through the 80's primarily to ensure that women leaving relationships were not disadvantaged simply because the relationship was not formalised through marriage. Quebec could buck the trend somewhat due to the Code Civil legal tradition there.
And even with expansive rights for co-habiting couples in Canada, same-sex couples would have had to meet the same test to gain those rights as were needed to gain the rights of marriage itself. Once the law understands that the two of us were not just roommates, but a cohabiting couple entitled to all the related protections, it has also understood that we are qualified to marry.