Friday, April 02, 2004

Gay marriage in the UK

Well, the issue has been building up for a few weeks, and now we seem to have Rights for gay couples - but not marriage.

Curiously enough, yesterday a friend mentioned that he had managed to bring in his non-British partner back into the UK, by registering him as his partner. In other words, gay partners have been recognized by the Immigration department for a few years now.

So this new right really is only about money, and specifically inheritance tax. Since this tax is only payable in the UK on estates worth over £250,000, can you really get excited about this?

We live in an era where Love is hardly discussed. We live in a country where it is not traditionally discussed. We use the English language which despite swallowing up words from other cultures, has still added nothing to the family of words about love. Within all this, we have the plethora of gay men who are vacuumed up into the commercial scene, thrown into lives of drugged clubbing and anonymous sex, denying themselves that they need love, and who often don't have two pence to rub together. Finally, at the core of this onion of ignorance, we have a gay culture that barely acknowledges old age. To reach the stage, where you can worry about passing your inheritance to your lifelong partner, seems a plain miracle (also read an addict's second chance).

So why should inheritance tax be exciting for the majority of gay men? I don't deny that this new right is logical only because it seems like harmless equality. It is a mere technical administrative adjustment, that benefits only the well-to-do. It doesn't really constitute significant social progress that gets down to improving the welfare of a person on the street, whether he be gay or not.

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