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14 Nov 2008

Forget ''marriage'' and get a civil partnership: Elton John

English pop singer and gay rights champion Sir Elton John has blamed the passing of Proposition 8 in California on the use of the term "marriage."

Refering to his civil union with his partner David Furnish, Sir Elton John was quoted as saying by USAToday: "We're not married. Let's get that right. We have a civil partnership. What is wrong with Proposition 8 is that they went for marriage. Marriage is going to put a lot of people off, the word marriage."

Top: Sir Elton John and partner David Furnish (left). The Mormon Church is said to have raised an estimated US$22 million to ban same-sex marriage. Adherents who are usually referred to as Mormons are not a part of the Catholic Church or Protestant traditions. Mormons practiced plural marriage (one man to several women) in the 1800s but officially renounced the practice in 1890 although some breakaway sects still continue the practice today. Visit http://jointheimpact.wetpaint.com for more photos of the protest.

The couple was in New York for Tuesday's for the 7th Annual Elton John Aids Foundation Benefit, just a week after Californian voters backed Proposition 8 - a measure to override a decision made by the state Supreme Court in May to legalise same-sex marriages.

"I don't want to be married. I'm very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership," John says. "The word 'marriage,' I think, puts a lot of people off.

"You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships."

Meanwhile, thousands have taken to the streets and in particular The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (CJCLDS) near Lincoln Center in New York City on Wednesday night and at the Los Angeles temple of the CJCLDS also known as the Mormon Church on Thursday night to protest the church's endorsement of Proposition 8. According to media reports, an estimated US$22 million for the Yes on 8 campaign came from members of the Mormon church. More protests are being held on Nov 15 in more than 175 cities across the US. Visit http://jointheimpact.wetpaint.com for more details.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights have filed a writ petition before the California Supreme Court urging the court to invalidate Proposition 8. The petition charges that Proposition 8 is invalid because the "initiative process was improperly used in an attempt to undo the constitution's core commitment to equality for everyone by eliminating a fundamental right from just one group - lesbian and gay Californians."

"Proposition 8 also improperly attempts to prevent the courts from exercising their essential constitutional role of protecting the equal protection rights of minorities," the statement read.

The ALCU, California Attorney General, Equality California and other LGBT legal groups have issued a statement saying they are in agreement that the state must continue to honour the marriages of the 18,000 lesbian and gay couples who have already married in California.

Gay columnist Dan Savage and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins debate the Mormon church's involvement in Prop 8 on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360�

Reader's Comments

1. 2008-11-14 19:33  
Sir Elton doesn't seem to have taken a couple of important things into account. First, the concept of 'separate but equal' is viewed with suspicion and disapproval by Americans because its ugly history. Laws that enforced racial segregation were based on that principle and, in time, found to be promulgating discrimination. Second, although civil partnerships in the UK are quite comprehensive, there is no federal counterpart in the US. California's domestic partnership law is still in effect, and it provides many of the rights and protections married people enjoy. So in that respect, he does have a point. Marriage can take the form of a commitment between two people and it can also carry legal weight. That said, the US is a more conservative country than the UK, and it's also a federal republic. In that context, fighting for marriage state by state so that eventually the constitutional guarantee to equal protection will have to be enforced nationwide is the only way forward.
2. 2008-11-14 20:09  
Elton Johns statement is definitely incorrect. It is always the same with him. He wants to promote only himself. Because he is not that successful anymore with his music, his last big hit was Crocodile Rock, Candle in the wind just a song which was recovered, he now makes Charity to put his own person in the focus of media because he can not live without publicity. Now the comment is just a subjective idea of a person which was never really open, and is only to bring him back into the news.
Shame on you Sir Elton John. When people like me and my boyfriend wouldnt have been the first marrying officially in Thailand and starting a petition to sign, or wouldnt have been fighting for transgenders rights while sponsoring their conferences, nothing would have happened.
If Elton would have used his money and wealth to help the Community in California to see the danger of the opposition, the stupid "No to same sex marriage" would not have been making it.
All those who are in Mormon Churches I tell to watch the movie Latter Days. May be after watching their picture is different. But I guess this people are just nothing else than a modern form of nationalsocialistic people or Khu Khux Clan who want to show power and spread fears. If the community is not fighting and having such Clownheads like Sir Elton John talking to the press, of course discrimination will succeed worldwide and the fight for our rights is for nothing.
I am sure, that what friends and me, my boyfriend (or husband) started in Thailand can have success if we are not listening to comments like that one Elton John made. We can talk for ourselves. We can fight. And we can have success. It is a question of information, a question of discussing and last but not least it is a question for us to be accepted and free.
3. 2008-11-14 21:03  
Sir Elton John is completely correct.

Just because we want a ham sandwich to be toasted cheese, does not mean it is. Words mean things and marriage the world over is historically defined as a union betwen a man and a woman.
Yes, of course there are and have been exceptions to the tradition of one man and one woman, as bigamy was and is culturally accepted in certain areas ( including formerly the Mormons and those Ottoman sultans), but why waste time and energy over a name.
Push for what is attainable and offers the same benefits.

One more point.......do we call it gay divorce ...after we get caught fucking around wtih a hot guy we met on Fridae.com when our husband was at work?

4. 2008-11-14 21:18  
$22M, that's alot of money. why can't they use it on getting the homeless off the streets and helping the damn economy. Wonder what are they doing this Thanksgiving? Thanking the ban came through. Urgh!
5. 2008-11-14 22:07  
Who needs Sir Elton to tell us we should not try to achieve equal rights and to lecture on political expediency?

Slaves didn't get their freedom by accepting the historical tradition of inequality and seeking to be 3/4 people - nor women - nor any other oppressed minority.

Strange for me how self hating many gay people are. What about arguing "Marriage" is just a word and talking about the lies spread by particularly Catholic and Mormon funded ads to prevent a court ordered and constitutional equality. The law was changed Kuman...not affirmed...and laws like humans change with time and increased understanding. (It is religious bigotry that tries to maintain the superiority product.)

We don't harm anyone by getting married or having sex...and it's high time stopped relying on dogma and realised this for themselves.

Being an apologist for Prop 8 is quite pathetic Sir Elton... as were the apolgists who said women were not ready for the the vote nor slaves to be free.
6. 2008-11-14 22:24  
Marriage, as Kuman10127 indicated, is eternally defined as the spriritual and physical union between a man and a woman. It has been so since Adam and Eve.
that is that. accept it!

A civil partnership offers similar legal benefits to any two human beings, whether they be lifelong friends, a gay couple, or anything else.
that is fair, should not be objected to by anyone with a sense of fair play, and is very sensible.

If Adam and Steve want to redefine themselves and be "married", with one playing the woman's role, "dahling", they can do so within the sphere of their own private existence.
or at least they could have the brains to invent a new word for it. and they could then ask Sir Elton to write a song about it...

"It's a little bit funny..............
7. 2008-11-14 22:40  
Elton John is one of the greatest, but may be he is happy being a second class citizen... Many people just want to be as any other people. Who do they harm with that?
I am very proud of being able to marry whoever I want, not many people can say that...
Any volunteers? :)
8. 2008-11-15 01:25  
oh dear...
i do agree with mr.john
i suppose i against gay marriage...why must we?
we r gay (homosexual)
dont put the "value" from heterosexual relationship into ours
thats wont work, but honestly, even i against it, i have no right to forbid it, and our fellow gay brothers have their right to choose the "value" into their life even for me its ridiculous (at least from my point of view)
9. 2008-11-15 01:52  
OMG thank you Elton! my thoughts exactly since the before prop 8.

I've been debating with my friend about civil union VS marriage and they simply don't get it.

It seems people are brought up to think that the ultimate display of love and/or achievement of happiness/family can only be done through marriage.
10. 2008-11-15 02:03  
Elton John a 'gay champion' ?

A man who got married to please his fans and hide his sexuality ?

What drivel.

You may as well style him a 'bald men's champion', it would be about as accurate.

What surprises me is that anyone cares what Mr John thinks about anything, other than piano playing, or tips on the best way to wear a feather boa.

Comment #11 was deleted by its author
12. 2008-11-15 03:42  
Elton is incorrect in saying that civil partnerships grant the same rights as marriage. For one, federal immigration benefits don't apply to civil partners. Also, most states don't recognize civil partnerships.

If civil partnership and marriage were equal in everything but name, then the debate would be different.

As a multinational couple, Elton and his partner ought to appreciate the importance of immigration benefits for married couples. If you should fall in love with someone from a different country, as he did, being able to live in the same country as your lover is a right that too many gay couples don't enjoy. Perhaps he is unconcerned or unaware, being a famous musician who can live anywhere he wants anyway.
Comment #13 was deleted by its author
14. 2008-11-15 07:18  
Two of my sisters are married, one more is getting married, and the other one almost got married. Yet *I'm* supposed to want a 'civil partnership' instead, or to count myself Lucky IF I can get that? (Which, by the way, you Can't, in the Republic of Ireland.) What the hell is that, when it's at home?

Nope. I am *not* settling for second-best; I am not some kind of second-class citizen!

If my sisters have the right - and it's about the RIGHT to get married, not the CHOICE (as I'm all for people having a Civil Partnership if they so choose) - then Who is to say that I can't?

What makes the idea of gay marriage so offensive or 'wrong' if it is between two loving people? How many countless Straight marriages fail, yet 'they' can get married, and aren't shuffled into some kind of one-size-fits-all civil partnership instead, with the kind of And-you're-lucky-to-have-That attitude that most countries patronisingly dispense with it?

No. I want Marriage. The same version that my sisters, or straight friends, get - No More, No Less, just Equal. And I don't need a prima-donna like Elton 'Reg' John wafting down from on high that gay men don't need marriage etc etc; a comment that you can bet your last dollar will be seized upon by various sections of the media that 'those gays' don't want marriage.

Cheers, Reg. Thanks SO much. You're NOT invited to Mine...!
15. 2008-11-15 07:47  
Whether you agree with gay 'marriage' or not, who died/resigned and made Elton John the spokesman for gay people in the US ? Reckon he should mind his own business.

After his rather offensive and embarrassing tirade at a Taiwan airport in recent history I doubt many will take him too seriously. Perhaps only those who want to.

16. 2008-11-15 08:15  
If the term "civil union" encompassed 100% of the rights of married couples, you could call it "elephant conjunction" for all I cared. The fact of the matter is that "civil unions" do not afford gay couples all the rights of hetero-entwined earthlings. Sir Elton best stick to the music he is known for, or at least brush up on America's federal system of government, before he blabs about what gay people in this country should settle for. Because of the Defense of Marriage Act signed into law by Bubba Clinton, gay couples are not entitled to have their marriages recognized by states that choose not to do so; cannot file joint tax returns; had both better be American citizens, because the foreigner could always face the threat of deportation.

"Civil unions" recall a past America where schools were color-segregated under the "separate but equal" theory. Of course, the schools for black kids were no where near equal the schools that white kids went to. And of course America has learned nothing about how to treat gay people since then. The legal rights of civilly unionized gay individuals amount to chicken shit in more than half of America. The federal government can take its talk of "just be happy with your right to bridal registry" and shove it up its ass, along with all the dildos sure to come pouring in at my wedding shower.
Comment #17 was deleted by its author
18. 2008-11-15 12:46  
This isn't really about Elton John so there's no need to call him names... So do gay people want marriage (and to call it as such) or marriage without calling it "marriage" as long as we get the same legal rights as opposite sex married couples?
19. 2008-11-15 12:58  
KenSinSD...my, my, my you should think before you speak. Just because Sir Elton hasn't had 'hit' per se recently you think he doesn't serve any useful purpose? C'mon- the man made these comments at an Aids Benefit! He's a celebrity there to attract sponsors and beneficiaries. Until someone you care about, or God forbid yourself, ever has to deal with living with AIDS/HIV please don't diss those who actually make an effort to help raise funds for much needed resources to combat the spread of this disease...which is actually being done to help protect the gay community and...indirectly and directly- YOU!
Think about it.
20. 2008-11-15 12:59  
It's all in a word. As long as we insist on using the word "marriage", we are going to have millions of breeders up in arms.

Why do we have to mimic breeders in choosing a name for our relationships? Who cares what we call our relationships in any case? If "civil union" works, then why not? Civil unions don't provide all the legal protections of marriage? Well, then we need to get out and start working to ensure that they do. That's what a civil rights movement is all about, seoulseeker.

If we discard the word marriage and all the oppressive heterosexual and religious baggage which goes with it, we will have more chance of success. And we will be better off.
Comment #21 was deleted by its author
22. 2008-11-15 13:34  
#18 - stevebai

I don't think I need a Caucasian person lecturing me about the need for a civil rights movement. Growing up in a racist, backwards America, I know what "movement" means. 'Movement' was the difference between walking to school in silence and hearing the words 'ching chong' ring through my ears for the rest of the day. 'Movement' was the difference between getting home in one piece and getting punched in the stomach and having dirt thrown in your face. 'Movement' was the difference between having a father and burying one because of a racially motivated attack. So please, don't even think of standing on a soapbox that won't even come up to my ankles because I've learned that 'movement' entitles me to walk right past the likes of someone like you.

You choose your path to marriage. I'll choose mine. If you get to the finish line before I do, don't bother gloating. We weren't even running the same race.
Comment #23 was deleted by its author
24. 2008-11-15 14:41  
I actually would agree with Elton John on this. My thought process is similar, and I have already given my reasons elsewhere on this forum too.

I believe the obsession with "marriage" is really a psychology thing: anything that's hard to get is perceived as valuable.

Anyone here ever read "The Sneeches" by Dr Seuss? You should. That timeless story with its great illustrations shows exactly what I mean.

Some people here have observed that civil unions don't grant all rights that marriage does, and therefore civil unions are not "good enough".

Well, in that case, according to me the next logical question would be:

Why don't we fight for equality between civil union and marriage? Why don't we demand to make civil unions "good enough"; maybe even better than marriage as far as gay people are concerned?

That would take the wind out of the sails of many of the current opponents of "gay marriage", wouldn't it?

Because, what are they going to fight about then?
"Deny fundamental rights based on sexuality?"

Well, of course they have doing that all along too, but indirectly, and cleverly cloaked in the name of protecting "divine marriage".

But if we demand equal rights in civil union, what form can their opposition take? They will not be able to hide behind the skirts of their hateful religious books any more, will they?

A smart sailor on the high seas, faced with a storm ahead of him, will know how to change tacks to weather the storm safely. Rather than plunging headfirst into the storm and risking getting swamped in the name of "bravery" or "doing the right thing", he will cleverly change course this way and that, based on his assessment of the forces acting for and against him, and still come out exactly on course to reach his goal.

This smart sailor always has his ultimate goal in mind. But he makes changes to his course based on prevailing situations, with the knowledge that these changes will ultimately lead him to his intended goal. It doesn't mean he is a "coward" or that he is "running away".

That's the way I believe the gay community should be tackling this problem. Be smart. Change tacks to attack the problem from different angles, and win the war in stages.

For example, start off with a civil union. Demand all equal rights in this civil union (who will oppose this?). You can continue to call this civil union as "marriage" on your own, publicly as well as privately (who can prevent you from doing that?). Condition society to accept gay relations as commonplace and normal over a period of time. Later, if you still feel like it, shift tacks and demand that this civil union be renamed "marriage".

What difference will this make?

Right now, we are asking for something that just doesn't exist in human history (except in pockets, of course). We are plunging head-first into the gathering storm, making one big demand that seems to have huge emotional, religious and every other kind of significance to a lot of people out there, making a lot of people feel this is really something they need to fight over.

By changing tacks and proceeding in stages, we will ultimately be only asking to re-name something that already exists and is already known (everywhere except in legal documents) by the name we are seeking.

At that time, if we are still obsessed with the word "marriage" and are seeking this term for ourselves:

We will no longer be "creating gay marriage" where no such legal relationship exists. We will merely be re-naming a gay relationship that is already in existence and accepted as a fundamental right.

So, this will be just a minor change of tack. Not the major headfirst plunge into a storm that it is now.

Opponents will then be fighting over "Don't call it marriage" rather than "Don't allow gay marriage" (if at all they still decide to fight). Let's see them go to court over this then.

Some people seem to think that civil union is like racial segretation. I don't think so. If civil unions give you all rights, then how are you worse off than married people?

Okay, your legal document says "civil union" while theirs says "marriage". So what?
You're upset because yours doesn't say "marriage".
Should they be upset because theirs doesn't say "civil union"?

If you don't like the term "civil union", how about demanding a new term like "garriage" or "gayriage", meaning "gay marriage"? This can rhyme with marriage, and is therefore not so far off, and that should be consolation for some.

Make up slogans: "I'm not just married; I'm garried".

Make it cool:
"You're MARRIED? Ho ho ho. I'm GARRIED. So there!"

Even with a civil union, you are still free to call your relationship a marriage if you choose (most people just don't seem to get this, do they?). Freedom of speech, remember? Issue wedding invitations. Have a marriage or wedding party. Give and receive wedding gifts. Take wedding photos. Make and display your own "marriage certificates" on the walls of your room. Who can or will stop you from using this term publicly or privately? The ONLY place this term will figure will be in some legal documents somewhere. Unless you walk around wearing these documents around your neck or pasted on your forehead, it shouldn't matter.

Imagine if black slaves had told Lincoln, "Unless you give us EVERYTHING that white people can have or do, RIGHT NOW, including the right to contest elections for President, to marry among white people, to study in white schools, and so on, we don't want this so-called freedom that you offer. We refuse to be second-class citizens. We would rather remain slaves and keep fighting for COMPLETE FREEDOM..."

I just wonder if we'd be having a Barack Obama today.

Actually, a better analogy would be:-
Imagine if Barack Obama had said before his nomination:
"Calling people white or black is discrimination and segretation. White people have legal documents that call them white. I demand that the legal documents of black people say that they are white too. Why should only white people be called white? Why can't black people be called white too? I refuse to contest for President unless all blacks are legally called whites..."
It would most certainly have been NOBAMA today.

Most changes in life happen in stages, taking up to centuries, depending on the number of selfish people who will fight to oppose the granting of rights because this granting of rights to others would reduce the unfair advantages that they had been holding so far over those others.

While gay people may not wish to wait for centuries to reach a stage of 100% equality (women are still waiting, by the way), is it so hard to wait for another couple of years or so to get this apparently worth-dying-for term "marriage"?
25. 2008-11-15 14:48  
#20 seoulseeker

Preach, hon!
26. 2008-11-15 15:23  
Accepting "civil partnership" is just the same as accepting "equal but separate!" We still sit in the back of the bus.
27. 2008-11-15 19:27  
Hmm, I wonder how many of the anti Elton letters are actually in a long term relationship?
Mine has lasted for 30 yrs and is still going strong and I would take a cival union over marriage any day
28. 2008-11-15 21:05  
#20 seoulseeker

You got pretty thin skin, sweetheart. I guess I'll have to work harder at being pc. Oh, and thanks for explaining how the US works. Gosh, I had no idea...
29. 2008-11-15 23:03  
I agree with Sir Elton John. I rather have a civil partnership with equal legal status as straight marriages. But it's all semantics. What is a marriage? Basically, it's a social contract.
30. 2008-11-15 23:15  
Sterlinglush made the the same point I was going to make. That said it is not helpful for somebody as visible as Elton John to jump into this debate ingnorantly. In the beginning I was also more in favor of comprehensive civil unions so as to not fight a fight we did not need to fight with regilious parties. But, State Supreme Court after Court has spoken exactly for the reasons Sterlinglush indicated.
31. 2008-11-15 23:46  
As so many have said, civil partnership, civil unions or domestic partnerships are NOT the same as marriage. They only offer most of the rights and privileges of marriage. Not all.

Sir Elton with his money, mansions and lawyer minions can enjoy his civil partnership without a care in the world. He doesn't know what he is talking about. He should keep his comments to himself.

Civil unions or whatever they are called are not marriages. That's clear by what has just happened in Connecticut. That state now allows gay MARRIAGE. Prior to a few days ago, they had civil unions. Separate but equal is never right and Connecticut saw this. I'm proud that Connecticut and Massachusetts have the courage to treat their citizens equally. Now if we can just get it right here in California...
32. 2008-11-16 01:49  
The problem with getting equality for civil partnerships is that marriage benefits are written into so many private contracts and rules.

Getting equality would mean writing into the state or federal constitution that civil partners are equal to married spouses. You can bet that is just about as difficult as getting gay marriage.
Comment #33 was deleted by its author
34. 2008-11-16 02:23  

As far as I am aware the civil partnership dame elton is referring to offers exactly the same rights to gays and lesbians in the UK as marriage does for heterosexuals. If there is a legal difference could someone please tell me exactly what?

The UK civil partnerships act was a courageous, progressive and pragmatic piece of legislation and a stunning success for us. By avoiding the word 'marriage' it received almost universal support, even from the right wing press (sun headline: elton takes david up the aisle). The bbc treated elton's bash almost like a royal wedding.

Now the british press and the gay community generally refer to 'gay marriage' (its easier to say 'married' than 'civil partnered') but no one really cares - the debate has moved on. That's how you carry public opinion, and get results.

Anyone you pushes for our rights around the world deserves our support, and they will surely be ultimately successful if they are absolutely clear on this one point: Full equality under the law. It will be harder if we gift the homophobes such an easy and emotive target as this simple word.
35. 2008-11-16 03:01  
#25 stevebai

Climbing Mount Condescension is no guarantee of finding IQ points at the peak--a silly mistake that some Caucasian men who live in Asia make.
Comment #36 was deleted by its author
37. 2008-11-16 08:07  
If there is no legal difference between these civil partnerships and marriage, then why isnt it just called MARRIAGE ?

In the eyes of the religious right who are at the helm of the resistance to Gay marriage it means accepting us equal.

So they tart up a whore under the guise of marriage, and call it a 'civil union' or some similar name hoping it will shut us up.

I wonder what the religions will champion first ? Equality for women, or Gay marriage ?

38. 2008-11-16 08:08  
seoulseeker: It certainly hasn't helped you. Find any points, that is. Hey, it's the thrill of the climb that counts anyway. Right?
39. 2008-11-16 09:00  
i am against gay marriage too...as homosexual..we must respect other people's life. We MUST NOT change the social fabric of a society because of who we are.For example, Church have to accept gay marriage ceremony because if they don't, they will be prosecuted by the law under some discrimination act. If we want other people to tolerate us, don't harrased other people. 'marriage' is just a word. In certain countries, gays and lesbians are not second class citizens since they have civil partnership etc. Plus, marriage is a 'civil partnership' between heterosexual couple.

I believe that there's a perception that all gays and lesbians are for gay marriage. Well, some of us do not support gay marriage. I want to live in a society where gay people are integrated with heterosexual people in a proper manner. Remember, we are only a minority in a society, less than 10%. I find it distasteful, that some of us literally force the whole society to accept our way of life.Respect them. If i love someone, i will not let a silly word called 'marriage' get in my way. I find it selfish for some gays out there who wants to 'marry' just because they want to be equal. Let me ask them something; are you discriminated against if you are not married in the first place? I don't think so if you get a civil partnership which basically have the same right as married couple. Such a waste of time and energy to fight for something which does not required any attention in the first place.

Civil partnership offers he same rights as marriage in certain countries such as US and UK. I support civil partnership and against the use of the word 'marriage' to define the relationship i have with my partner.
40. 2008-11-16 09:04  
a man and a woman, if they so choose, may have a civil union rather than be 'married'... however, a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, may only choose to have a civil union, they cannot choose to be married. how is this equal? how is this fair?

and to be clear, civil unions DO NOT afford the same rights as marriage. check it out, there are over 1100 FEDERAL rights (including being able to sponsor your partner for immigration from overseas) that are granted to married individuals and not to those in a civil union or domestic partnership.

i used to not care for the term 'marriage'... i used to think... 'just give me the same rights, and i won't care what you call my same-sex relationship,' but then i began to realize... it isn't JUST about rights... it's also about RESPECT. the term 'marriage' is widely recognized, respected, valued, and that's exactly why i want it for my partner and i... b/c we're no different from a hetero couple. we deserve the same respect... our relationship deserves the same recognition and value.
41. 2008-11-16 09:09  
regarding a comment that was posted down a few from my own...

if same-sex marriage was in-stated... there would be no requirement for religious instituions to marry a same-sex couple... this is because there is a SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. do not believe the misinformation that the proponents of anti-same sex marriages have been propagating. marriages can take place solely in churchs that are SUPPORTIVE of same-sex marriage or at CITY HALLS and the like.
42. 2008-11-16 09:12  
we are A PART of the social fabric... and without CHANGE... people of colour/women/other minoritiy groups would not be able to vote, own property, find romantic partnership outside of their own race/religion, walk safely on their own city streets, etc. society is constantly evolving... hopefully in a direction that is more tolerant, more inclusive... and less divisive
Comment #43 was deleted by its author
Comment #44 was deleted by its author
45. 2008-11-16 10:06  
Frankly, I would be embarassed to tell anyone, str8 or gay, that I was getting "married". On the other hand I would be proud to announce that I was entering a civil (civilized) partnership with the one I love and want to be with. It amazes me that our community is so eager to embrace a term used by str8's (& bi's), to define our relationships. No where in the definition of "marriage" is the word love used to describe it. It's a word str8 people use to define their partnerships. Surely with the creativity and imagination that lies within the gay community we could come up with a more unique term.
Comment #46 was deleted by its author
47. 2008-11-16 13:50  
Here are two articles from the nytimes that I thought are worth being aware of:

1. Across U.S., Big Rallies for Same-Sex Marriage

2. Mormons Tipped Scale in Ban on Gay Marriage [www.nytimes.com/2008/11/15/us/politics/15marriage.html?em]
48. 2008-11-16 15:47  

I have read quite a few of these postings with much interest, and it seems, like with most ideas of thought for (what we call) humanity it all comes down to the word..... and the thoughts that that word/ those words mean to each person.

Looking at it in such a way, I can see what both sides are saying and therefore in many ways both sides are actually saying much of the same thing, from to opposite ends of the spectrum. And so then it seems they are both right and wrong (one of the same perhaps?) Unfortunately it is hard for either to see the others thought, but that again is something us as humans seem to have great problems doing.

As a sidenote:
If marriage is a practice of the church or seen as such by the "majority", then there should be no laws for it what so ever in countries (ie the United States) that have a seperation of church and state. Therefore marriage is illegial and violates your constitution.

It would interesting to see if some day humans could get beyond words, but that it seems will never occur for it is how we define ourselves and everything around us (hey another thing we all have in common).... and besides, people are still using meaningless words like gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, queer, etc so I would never expect people to be able to see past words like marriage and/or civil partnership at this point in our ongoing evolution.

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50. 2008-11-16 19:10  
Please stop picking on Sir Elton John for god's sake. We're all getting older, and few of us really want to look old. In 25 years most of you 25 year olds will be thinking about Botox, Rogaine, liposuction, hair transplants, tummy tucks or the latest "cure" for ageing...and if you're diligent and fiscally responsible now, you'll have the money to pay for those state-of-the-art treatments later in your lives. Mr. John has a message; listen kindly to his message...consider his words....think about how his mesage applies to our own personal lives, and then take the responsible, appropriate action...but try to stop being so bitchy and petty. Some of the comments below are just sickening....typical faggot bitchy-ness...which is precisely what "puts off" the heteros and many of us queers who are trying to make a positive difference so we can all enjoy equal human rights.
51. 2008-11-16 19:13  
If you don't like the idea of Sir Elton John as a self-appointed "gay leader" then for god's sake, get organized, and ELECT one you ARE happy with. Each county could have an elected gay leader and the elected leaders can organize into a global United PLU of Nations....instead of being such faggoty, petty little bitches....use your brains, and get organized.
52. 2008-11-16 19:25  
dear friends,

i am a california resident and was in the us for four weeks in october for the election period. i obviously voted "no" on Prop 8 but one felt pushed into a corner, politically and socially. I talked with local friends, good Democrats and progressives, mostly Asian Americans, who for them, this "marriage" thing got all mixed up and they voted "yes". I told them this was not about approval of marriage or gay lifestyles, just equal rights.

I also related how the four very close friends/couples I have, Asian and western partners, ARE COMPLETELY OPPOSED TO "MARRIAGE" FOR GAYS, SAYING, MORE OR LESS, "WHY SHOULD WE IMMITATE THEM (HETEROSEXUALS) CIVIL UNIONS ARE FINE. I agree.

The obsession with "marriage" is kicking the whole movement of gay and equal rights back to the very place the right wing wants it. So Elton John is correct in my view.

Move on with it. I can provide a list of 20 more important issues of importance to Gays other than marriage. There are at least a 100 others. One plays a game you can win, not one you can lose. So lose the "marriage" obsession and move on.

Michael Asia
53. 2008-11-16 19:26  
It's normal there are diverging opinions on this matter, and it's good to have them since it creates debate. "marrige"..let's see, in spanish and portuguese for example, there are two ways of expressing this concept - casamento and matrimonio. The first is actually the direct equivalent of the word "marriage", and the 2nd is the one claimed to be religiously associated. No matter which word we try to use to define it, the people on the other side always find some ground to oppose it, they are very creative.
Since i don't want to repeat ideas i already expressed in other topic, i'll just say that the moment that there is a state secular "marriage" for some, then there's no point saying gays shouldnt be included in it.
Some years ago, when gays were obtaining "fact unions" (a step way below a civil partnership), the same was claimed: "oh, they are trying to aim for marriage, we can't allow and so on".
All in all, the side which opposes any kind of gay association will use anything to stop it. So, the word only became important coz we're aiming for complete equality. They know well already that state marriage is dissociated from religion, and that the word "marriage" is but one among others that they try to claim as exclusive.
I obviously support full equality, and therefore, "marriage". it's important to bring down taboos with this fight, and to challenge opposing perspectives.
54. 2008-11-16 20:34  
Someone has removed my comment ? was it offensive that it has to be removed ? I don;t think so ...
anyway ....:(
55. 2008-11-16 22:20  
Marriage is even used by the straight community for ulterior motives :

- get a green card as de facto partner
- escape from poverty in own country

Recognition? Rights? Will? - it probably has to do with some insecurities
56. 2008-11-17 03:54  
dear friends again,

regardless of "marriage or civil unions" as I paid my US income taxes this year again, I notice that for singles, even head of household singles (and me with three adoptive kids but now grown up) why should "married" people of whatever persuasion get a lower tax rate? At least in the US.

Why not penalize them :)

Michael Asia
57. 2008-11-17 09:20  
This is why people are calling for the right to "civil marriage," which is separate from a "religious marriage."

In the US, when a religious couple is married they must technically be wed two times, once in a place of worship, and once more on paper down at city hall. We are fighting for the second form of marriage.

But I acknowledge that many straight people who have always had the privilege of not having to think about them separately will still get confused by the term marriage. And for those US Americans who don't believe in the separation of church and state, they are further confounded.

For starters, settling for a "civil partnership" is in principle accepting a separate-but-equal version of marriage, and it's an affront to ask someone to accept that on grounds of principle. However, a "civil partnership" does not grant the same civil rights as a civil marriage does, as Sir John would suggest.

I don't know how it is in the UK but in the US, marriage laws are decided by the state governments. In most states in the US, a "civil partnership" or any other version of that term is not even an option. In the states where it is an option, couples are granted only a certain number of rights, not all the benefits of civil marriage. Maybe we would have won in California by not calling it marriage, but it's not about winning, it's about equality. Maybe Sir John thinks everyone should be satisfied with a partnership because he is, but we want the same rights as our fellow citizens. Whether or not the churches are too blind to differentiate between religious and civil marriage, that does not and should not affect our goals.
58. 2008-11-17 10:21  
I studied in the States and learnt of Sir Elton John thru my readings. He came out when it would've destroyed an artist's career, and he survived those years to continue singing and performing. In Singapore this year, he got us all on our feet (it's not easy I can tell u us being the reserved lot) to dance to his amazing performance. Unlike some snooty younger acts, he sang for 3 hours (at the end, he even introduced one of his band members who's gay). I was just disappointed he didn't include some of his newest songs like "I Want Love" and tracks from his latest. They may not be Top 40 material, but they are powerful and meaningful like no young pop star can deliver.

I know this seems frivolous in view of this strand, but I just want to set this str8 - he is not a Has-been, his new albums are great, he's been a hero to me, and one of the best gay role models I am lucky enough to have.
59. 2008-11-17 11:27  
There's no such thing as separate but equal. EVERYONE should just have civil partnerships - straight or gay couples!
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63. 2008-11-17 16:03  
In my opinion, having a different name for this gay union is advantageous for everyone; having the same name has disadvantages.

Difficulties would pop up in simple everyday conversation. Consider the following two situations:

I. Let's say gay unions are called "marriage". Consider the following conversations:

Man (to stranger on bus): I've been married for two years.
Stranger: Oh. So, what does your wife do?
Man: It's actually a "he", not a "she". I'm gay, and married to a man.
Stranger: Oh...

Okay, in the above, it didn't occur to the stranger to think of gay marriage. Now let's suppose the stranger IS aware of gay marriage. The conversation would then be like:

Man (to stranger on bus): I've been married for two years.
Stranger: Oh. So, is your partner a "he" or a "she"?
Man: It's actually a "he".
Stranger: Oh. Gay marriage. Okay...

If the man happens to be straight, he is also now faced with the same problem, like this:

Man (to stranger on bus): I've been married for two years.
Stranger: Oh. So, is your partner a "he" or a "she"?
Man: It's a "she". I'm straight, not gay.
Stranger: Oh...

The man could of course avoid the follow-up questions from the stranger by volunteering the information himself.

Man (to stranger on bus): I've been married for two years. I'm gay, and my partner is a man.
Stranger: Oh...

Or, for a straight man:

Man (to stranger on bus): I've been married for two years. I'm straight, and my wife is a woman.
Stranger: Oh...

As you can see, in all the above situations, the word "marriage" must necessarily be accompanied by additional descriptions if its meaning is to be clear.

II. But, what if gay unions had a different name? Say gay union, garriage, gayriage,...?

The conversation for the gay man could be like this:

Man (to stranger on bus): I've been garried for two years.
Stranger: Oh. So, what does your partner do?
Man: Well, he...

And, if the man is straight:

Man (to stranger on bus): I've been married for two years.
Stranger: Oh. So, what does your wife do?
Man: Well, she...

Notice how much simpler life would be if we had a different term for something that is obviously different. Otherwise, every time the word marriage comes up, a clarification is required: not only for gay people but also for straight people. Both have to clarify the sex of their respective partners along with stating that they are "married".

By using the same term for two different things, we are forced to follow up with an additional description to make the meaning clear. So, in effect we are still using two different terms for gay and straight unions.

Term 1 = Marriage + Description 1 (I'm married, and my partner is a man);
Term 2 = Marriage + Description 2 (I'm married, and my partner is a woman)

So, take your pick. Either be sensible and make life easier for everyone by using a different word from marriage to avoid confusion, or demand "marriage" and force everyone, both gay and straight, to describe their partner whenever they use the word "marriage".

Let's take an analogy to understand the implications better:

Imagine if women fought for equality with men by demanding that they should also be called men. And also, imagine that women wanted to get rid of "sexist" terms like "he" and "she", and only wanted to use "he" for everyone. Then, you would have to provide additional descriptions during your conversation, in order to make it clear whether you are talking about a man or a woman:

"This man with boobs told me that he is seeing a man without boobs."

"I don't like that man with dick. He is very rude to men without dicks."

What about Senator McCain's speeches?

"I thank all the brave men with dicks and men without dicks in the armed forces who defend our nation by putting their lives on the line..."


Well, some people may think the same about "marriage" being applied to gays too, and thereby forcing people to provide additional equally ridiculous descriptions.

Of course, some gay people just won't get the point. All they can do is repeat mindlessly, "It is not equal unless it is the same. End of story". They have nothing more to say on the topic, nothing to discuss or understand, no arguments to offer, no avenues to explore. Just a mindless one-line parroting, "It is not equal unless it is the same. End of story".

These gays are not really different from those straight guys who equally mindlessly parrot things like "Marriage is only between a man and a woman. End of story".

Both these groups insult your intelligence with their mindlessness, and with their intransigent attitude, make it impossible to look at things differently or arrive at solutions where everyone wins. So, what we have today is hatred, paranoia, distrust, disgust, destruction of relationships between straight and gay communities.
This is a "victory" for gay people?
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67. 2008-11-17 19:59  
In the UK, CP is the same as marriage, except that there is no religious equivalent. It has all the same rights as marriage, just a different official name. We had a full ceremony with bridesmaids, readings etc., and were given a special bottle of champagne by the staff. Personally I don't mind what it's called officially, but most people (especially the straight population and press) just refer to it as getting married anyway.

The difference is in international recognition, which could be difficult either way, but officially calling it marriage might smooth the path a bit for those of us in international relationships.

Elton was wrong to assume the situation is the same in the USA as in the UK and his comments were unhelpful. This doesn't detract from the fact that he has done a lot in the past for gay people.

With the vote split just about 50/50 on prop 8, the opponents of the ban could probably have succeeded with more effort and more funding. In any event the ban will most likely be overturned as unconstitutional in due course.

By the way, the pope is currently trying to stop CPs coming into existence in Ireland, as he evidently sees them as the same as marriage. So avoiding the term "marriage" will not necessarily stop the zealots from opposing any legal recognition of gay relationships.
68. 2008-11-17 22:08  
Right on, Friskylad and SteveUK! The rights granted by UK's civil partnerships, made legal in 2004, are virtually indistinguishable from those of marriage.Even rights of immigration and residence are granted to the foreign partner of British citizens in registered civil partnerships. Why this sweet rose of gay marriage was called something else I dunno. It smelled and looked the same. Maybe there was an effort not to be too affronting to religious and immigrant groups. Maybe the word "marriage" was less important to the UK's gay community where small but vociferous miltant groups had long argued for the rejection of hetero imitation. Whatever the reasons, a rose is a rose is a rose.

But if poor old Elton was suggesting that the British model could ever be applied in the USA, he was dead wrong. In mercifully reasonable Britannia (where 80% of the folks doubt that there is a supreme being and less than 10% are regular churchgoers), religion is marginalized. In righteously certain America, it's the piston of politics and values. Since we queers so obviously upset the moral order dictated by Leviticus et al, we're crap in the eyes of a good 50% of Americans. And for them crap is crap is crap. No matter what you call it, it's gonna stink up their "moral" landscape. And then there's the unpleasant smell (rarely mentioned in polite liberal society) of the soul-rotting intolerance of many racial and/or immigrant minorities. The fact that 70% of black voters supported prop 8 is a monumental irony not entirely explained by the numbing effect of religion.

In such a landscape we cannot look for or expect acceptance. But we must and should fight for rights. I choose not to give the power to affect me or define my value to strangers. They can call me fag, pervert, whatever. I just don't care what a bunch of small-minded mean-spirited hicks from Bakersfield or Salt Lake City or Marseille or Penang or Adelaide think as long as they don't bash my head in or deny me rights that are mine as a human being.

For better or worse, the struggle in the USA is now defined by the word "marriage" rather than equality. Maybe the debate should have been limited to equal rights for all without ever muttering the m-word. But it's too late now. Let's get on with the battle!

Me, I never want to get married to my "life-mate" who 5 years later is demanding half the house, the Moser crystal and the pussy in a messy divorce settlement... but i wanna have the choice ... and i wanna kick all those religious nutsos in the ass... and i wanna be as free as i am proud.

69. 2008-11-17 22:50  
i don't want to hurt anyone who has already been hurt enough by the "inequality" of life, but a male-male coupling, or a female-female "marriage", will never produce another unequal human being in the womb. (a snail or some varieties of fish maybe). you cannot create a new world base on delusion, or illusion. and if you could, believe it or not, you won't be happy.

political victories are one thing. personal truth and happiness are another. can more rights guarantee faithfulness? hey, what is love anyway? is it just a word? I do believe in Love, but enough said here for now... :)
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71. 2008-11-18 15:11  
Post #54 oldfren dear, then this website of delusion & illusion is clearly not for you :)
Just kidding.

Anyway, back to the topic. What Elton John's prolly meant is for gay groups to not push for gay marriage @ the moment when civil unions are actually its equivalent, but as many posters have noted, contextually speaking this is sadly only applicable in Europe, not the US.
Btw Post #48 anothermind - thanks for sharing :)))
72. 2008-11-18 19:55  
Yes, girlongirl, I think no.54 oldfren should be redirected to the COOS website, where they can also teach him inappropriate things to say at a gay funeral.
73. 2008-11-18 21:14  

hi girlongirl, u aren't cancelling my visa, are u? i think i like u. kidding... :-)

hi steveuk, sorry i didn't realise we had to be as politically correct in a forum as we do at a funeral, gay or otherwise. (is any funeral gay? well, maybe they should be.. :)

perhaps i reside in a place between east and west, between bigotry and delusion, between lust and Love...
don't i have my rights, too?

74. 2008-11-19 00:35  
Maybe getting a civil partnership can been seen as an intermediate phase before complete equality comes.
Sometimes it makes people hate to give up their vested rights and interests so each country and culture should develop its strategy appropriate to its circumstances.
If asking too much gets us nothing, maybe it's better to ask less if this gets us something.
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79. 2008-11-19 11:03  
Sigh, it 's not a personal attack on u "oldfren", so just relax & enjoy the sun, ok? I was just curious what you said @ Post #54, because I've seen for myself many MALE-FEMALE couplings based on illusion & delusion too. Of course, what you say does have a degree of truth, but it would be silly to presume it the WHOLE truth for ALL same-sex relationships.

On a sidenote, you perfectly entitled to yr rights- that's a no-brainer. From what I see in yr profile, you seem like a mature, fine gentleman, so it won't be difficult for someone of yr sophistication to know website owners & members have the right to moderate forums. Besides, if I were to go to a Christian website & post things like "God is a Delusion" & other pro-atheist rabble, I sure as hell would get damned to hell by their forum administrators lol. And I won't blame them- it is, after all, THEIR website so it is only right of them to throw out guests affecting their community's morale. Ditto over here; Fridae belongs to GLBT.

Back to topic- Bottom line is, I think Sir Elton means well, but he probably does not see in context the significance the 'marriage' word carries in American culture. Still, he is right in a way that it WILL rub people the wrong way when this 'marriage' thing is pushed rather than accepted. So post #58 chinoceros your comment's absolutely spot-on :)))

p.s- I absolutely LOVE the 3rd pic where the demonstrator holds up the black sign- read its contents ;))
80. 2008-11-19 14:23  
I'd never get married either and I don't care about marriage equality, I would go for an alternative to marriage where Gay/Staright Monogomous/Polygamous relationships are equally recognised under the law now that would be truly a move forward, equality for all. even if gay pple got marriage rights polygamous relationships are still the losers and who seriously says in this day and age marriage & monogamy is the only valid way
81. 2008-11-19 20:04  

hi there girlongirl,
no, your sigh isn't necessary at all. i read between your lines, and i said i think i like you. i felt you read between my lines too, or at least were rather kind in your manner of writing, even if i had been, well, inappropriate or over the top. by the way, no-one has edited anything i have written so far. i'll try not to abuse the privilege...

i am impressed with some of the legal knowledge here, quite beyond me, and i was delightfully entertained by the guy who scripted some scenarios on the use of the word "marriage". i admit though that i scanned more than read.

as for your saying anything on a Christian website, i am very sure i personally would not "damn" you" to anything. and i wouldn't agree with anyone who did! in fact, they would get more than delusion from me. but i will not go there right now, ok? :)

i was just saying off the cuff, albeit simplistically, that if anyone thinks they are the same as a heterosexually married couple - who can actually have offspring - they are delusional.

back to the subject at hand, i happen to agree with Sir Elton that's all, even though i am not a fan. i agree not just because of political expediency (i support civil partnerships between any two human beings), but because of my own take on things.

this i may explain later in part 2. now you can sigh... :-)

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83. 2008-11-19 20:56  
oldfren says: ."..anyone thinks they are the same as a heterosexually married couple - who can actually have offspring - they are delusional..."

Hmmm, well by your reasoning a heterosexual couple who cannot have children for medical reasons, or who simply do not want to have children, should only be allowed to have a civil partnership, not marriage.

Actually I quite like one suggestion I saw posted somewhere: "let the heterosexuals keep "holy matrimony"; marriage is for everyone".
84. 2008-11-19 22:55  

non sequitur, steveuk (your 2nd par) let's not clutter...

a question: why not embrace and celebrate the difference instead of being a parody of the same? is it just for political gain? the need to "win"?

you have your perspective, i have mine...

if this Adam (me) wanted to spend a lifetime with Eve, i'd get married in a church of my choice and maybe raise kids. that's marriage to me.
if i wanted it with Steve (not you), and we both were masculine enough not to want to be the "wife", i'd get a lawyer and make sure we could commit. i wouldn't want to "marry" Steve, but i would hope for a special lifetime bond or "bonding" with this life partner.
if i wanted it with Stevie, who actually wanted to play a woman's role, i still wouldn't call it marriage, but that's just me. how about "gayarriage"? :)

i don't know what the Oxford dic says exactly, but if you must hijack a word, then get it officially redefined internationally. or is that putting the cart before the horse and carriage for you?

in the east, mommy and papa are married. if i don't want to get married, i may find a male lifetime partner. and if the lifetime bond is true and real, i will have gotten what is important, yes, within a simple civil partnership.

but since the word is crucial to you, by all means, spend your time acquiring it...

85. 2008-11-20 04:08  
Oldfren, you gloss over your total lack of logic and change tack completely. Maybe this is because you come from a position of prejudice rather than reason.

In any event, as I said in a much earlier post, I'm perfectly happy with CP, so long as it comes with all the same rights, as indeed it does in the UK. In America it doesn't, if you read some of the previous posts, hence more emphasis on marriage. However this is just in from the fabulous president elect:

"Barack Obama and the Vice President-elect, Joe Biden, committed themselves to strengthening federal hate crimes protection by passing the Matthew Shepard Act.

The President-elect also committed to support civil unions and federal rights for LGBT couples.

"Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples," the statement read.

"Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defence of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognised unions.

"These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights."
86. 2008-11-20 09:26  
Nepal news:

Close on the heels of an international furore over the state of California's decision to ban same-sex marriages, the apex court of nascent Himalayan republic Nepal has given its nod to such unions.

"My eyes were filled with tears when I read the Supreme Court decision," said Sunil Babu Pant, Nepal's first publicly gay lawmaker and a gay rights icon in South Asia.

Pant's exultation came after the Supreme Court on Monday delivered full judgement regarding a ground-breaking verdict it had announced last year, recognising sexual minorities, who were among the most oppressed in conservative, patriarchal Nepali society, as being born such and entitled to all the rights and remedies all other Nepali citizens enjoyed.

Now, following up on the judgement, the top court has asked the Maoist government to form a seven-member committee to study same sex partnership/marriage acts in other countries and recommend a similar act to the Nepal government.

The court has also asked the government that is scheduled to promulgate a new constitution by 2010 to ensure that the language of the new statute does not discriminate against the sexual minorities.
87. 2008-11-20 20:34  
wrt McScorpio's post #65:
Amazing, this with a Maoist government. This should encourage the activists in neighbouring "democratic" India to escalate their fight for justice.
88. 2008-11-21 21:44  
no, steveuk, no prejudice.

just truly another country from yours and also those you are prejudiced against.

but yes, i have been dimly slow to realise something:

when Ah Seng, in our cultural context, says he and James are "the same" as a married heterosexual couple, what Ah Seng means to say is that his feelings for James, and their relationship, are as real, meaningful and legitimate to him as any heterosexual couple's.

Ah Seng, if you are still around, i agree. they are.
my take on "the same" is more literally comparative and doesn't mean the same thing as your "the same".

as for rights, i think it has all been said here...

thanks for your patience, Ah Seng, and especially girlongirl (very best wishes), and anyone else who is still here... :)

words can be powerful things...

steveuk, you may be pleased to know that i will, for now at least, focus my attention on my totally platonic yet highly delusional relationship with the neighborhood's feral cat... cheers

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90. 2008-12-31 10:58  
Jesus Christ, I didn't know our dear oldfren even bothered to reply if fridae had not provided a link to this article :p From what he wrote he DOES sound delusional....scary XD
So Steveuk, now I understand why you've been biting yr tongue lol.

Happy New 2009 for you & yr boyfriend! ;))
91. 2010-12-30 19:25  
my sister has 3 beautiful sons with her partner of 20 odd years NO MARRIAGE, in Australia it's pretty irrelevant these days as same sex and hetero couples are pretty much almost both equal in law aside from adoption issues which are being worked on, I think I would do some kind of relationship recognition like civil partnership if they would allow plural relationships equal access it seems only monogymist models get a look in it's slanted and unfair, same sex hetero, monogymists and Polygamists should all be equal under the law

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