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Weddings - John C. Kirk

Mar. 16th, 2012

01:46 am - Weddings

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A couple of weeks ago I went to a wedding: that went well, with a heartfelt ceremony, and I was impressed by some of the unique touches (e.g. Warhammer figures on the cake).

Over on Twitter, Debretts recently said:




As I replied, I disagree. I think that the most important part of the day is the exchange of vows, and I'm always honoured when friends invite me to witness that. Free food is welcome, but that's not why I go along. I'm sure some people would disagree: they'd feel offended if they were invited to the wedding ceremony and then asked to leave. So, I'm not suggesting that this approach is always appropriate, but I don't think you need to go to the opposite extreme either; just make a decision based on the specific guest(s).

As an example of this, one of my Durham friends got married a few years after we graduated. We knew each other, and we'd been on holiday together, but we weren't close friends, so I completely understood when she put me in the "evening party only" group rather than "reception lunch and evening party". However, she also did some unofficial checking via a mutual friend, basically asking "Would John be offended if I invited him to the ceremony as well?" I said that I'd prefer that, so that's what my invitation said. On the day itself, I took a stroll around the village after the ceremony was over, then sat at the tube station and read a book while I waited for another friend to arrive, then we both went over to the evening party.

Meanwhile, the government have proposed a change in the law to allow gay marriage. There's a consultation here, for anyone who wants to express their opinion. However, be aware that this only applies to England and Wales; Scotland and Ireland have their own laws. (If Scotland continue their quest for independence, it will be interesting to see how much the laws differ across the border.) I was amused that the impact assessment included a box for carbon emissions!

The questionnaire doesn't take long to fill in, but I agree with other people that questions 5 and 8 are badly phrased, mainly because they involve double-negatives.

I wrote about this subject in September 2005 so I won't repeat it all here. In brief, I'm in favour of gay (or bi) people marrying each other: I think it still preserves the important point of what marriage means, i.e. an exclusive long-term commitment. I don't have any strong feelings about the transgender issue, but logically it makes sense to incorporate that too, i.e. to say that two people can get married regardless of their gender.

Some people have complained that the proposed law bans religions from performing gay marriage ceremonies, even if those religions want to do it. ("Couples would not be eligible for a religious marriage ceremony on religious premises and through religious means.") However, I don't have a problem with that. I certainly don't think that any religion should be forced to allow this, and the proposed law is no more restrictive than what we already have in place: it's just saying "no change here", which seems fair enough. This doesn't preclude any further changes later on, once people have had a chance to get used to the idea.

My only quibble is that I think civil partnerships should also be available to opposite-sex couples, so that the same rules apply to everyone. In practice, though, I doubt whether any of those couples would want a civil partnership rather than a marriage. Question 8 of the consultation refers to this, although it's badly phrased:

"The government is not considering opening up civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples because we have been unable to identify a need for this. However, we appreciate that there are a number of views on this issue.

Do you agree or disagree with this proposal?

Agree
Disagree
Don't know"


I chose "disagree". (Question 5 has a similar problem: "The government does not propose to open up religious marriage to same-sex couples. Do you agree or disagree with this proposal?")

Compare this to question 10:

"The government is not considering opening up civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples because we have been unable to identify a need for this. However, we appreciate that there are a number of views on this issue.

Do you agree or disagree with this proposal?

Agree - there shouldn't be a time limit
Disagree - there should be a time limit
Don't know"


Anyway, I mentioned that in question 16 ("any other comments?"), so maybe they'll improve the interface later.

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:elvum
Date:March 19th, 2012 12:59 pm (UTC)
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There are always exceptions, but in general you are very unlikely to offend people by inviting them to both the ceremony and the reception, and quite likely to offend them if you just invite them to the ceremony. That's the reason for the "rule", which still applies even if you're one of the exceptions to it. :-)

(Some people think that it's acceptable to have a "reception" and a separate "evening party", and to invite some people just to the latter - you may deduce my opinion on the subject from the absence of this distinction at my wedding...)
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