I'm straight and about to get married - how much sweeter a deal if opportunities were equal

Lots of things that make marriage less meaningful now than it was in, say, the 1950s. But allowing all adult couples to take part could never be one.

Related Topics

The headline in today’s Independent, “Gay marriage could be lawful within a year”, came as great news to me and my partner. We’ve set a date next summer for our wedding, and so equal marriage can’t come soon enough. Not because we’re gay. As it happens, I’m a woman and he’s a man, so it’s a “straight wedding” that we’ll be having. It’s important to us because we want our marriage to mean something. And as long as marriage is not an equal opportunity, it means that little bit less.

My reasons for wanting to marry are many and complex. They’re different from the reasons why my parents married 40 years ago, but also in many ways the same. And while my marriage itself will be different from my parents’ marriage, and different from my gay friends’ marriages, too -  I hope that it will also be the same. If it’s as strong as some of the civil partnerships I know, I’ll be a lucky wife indeed.

Some arguments against “gay” marriage are confused (calling it “gay” marriage in the first place is confused: it’s just marriage.) For instance, my partner and I don’t plan to have children, while my closest lesbian friends are already pregnant with their first child. And yet, I've never been told that my marriage will be invalidated by its lack of procreation. I can hardly promise to love and support my partner any better than my best friend loves and supports his, so I’ll feel a bit uncomfortable raising a toast to my husband when my friend still has to put his “husband” in quotes.

On the other hand, some people just believe that allowing gay couples to wed will devalue the institution of marriage. I can’t understand that argument. Lots of things make marriage less meaningful now than it was, say, in the 1950s: divorce rates; cohabitation rates; associating a lifelong commitment with getting a tax break… But allowing all adult couples to take part? Surely that has to be a given.

Either we, as a society, believe that marriage is still relevant – in which case it has to be relevant for any grown-up couple willing to make that commitment; or we accept that it no longer means anything – and then we can restrict it to an elite group of couples picked out by the Pope. We can’t have it both ways, and I can’t sign up to the latter idea. When I sign up to marriage, I hope that will be an option for all.

Independent Voices has launched a campaign to legalise same-sex marriage. To read more about our Equal Partners campaign and sign the petition, click here.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

Read Next

i Editor's Letter: Our representatives must represent us

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
MP David Lammy would become the capital’s first black mayor if he won the 2016 Mayoral election  

Crime, punishment and morals: we’re entering a maze with no clear exit

Simon Kelner
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot