Same-sex marriage, what’s the big deal?

The marriage institution today seems to be sacred only to homosexuals and priests.
I am saying this since it appears to me that persons belonging to these groups are the only ones fighting to maintain the institution, or to be included in it.

Others, are either disillusioned by the paper seal, divorce or prefer to live in free union; or so says my Spanish colleague in the European Parliament, also a supporter of same-sex marriage.
He is not alone.

Out of the 27 EU countries, 14 are implementing some form of legalization of homosexual unions. In six EU countries couples can marry and adopt children. In eight couples have the right to civil unions (in France and Luxembourg, this also applies to heterosexual couples).

Partnerships exist in: Germany (since 2001), Finland (since 2002), Luxembourg (since 2004), the UK (since 2005), the Czech Republic (since 2006), Slovenia (since 2006) and in Hungary (since 2009).

Same-sex marriage is legal and recognized in the Netherlands (since 2001), Belgium (since 2003), Spain (since 2005), Sweden (since 2009), Portugal (since 2010) and most recently in Denmark (since 2012).

France and the UK are likely to join this group.

The French, just recently, completed the work on the same-sex marriage act after 110 hours of marathon session in the National Assembly. Having examined over 5,300 amendments presented by the conservative bloc, the Assembly is prepared to vote in favour of the legislation on Tuesday, 12 February.

In the UK, despite fierce opposition from groups, including the Church of England and the Vatican, the House of Commons overwhelmingly approved, on 5 February, a proposal that would allow homosexuals to marry in England and Wales. Scottish lawmakers are expected to debate a same-sex marriage proposal in the coming weeks.

Poland cannot be more far off than these countries. Only recently, on 25 January the national Parliament defeated draft laws that would have given limited legal rights to homosexual couples. This is a fierce setback for both homosexual couples, as well as liberals trying to challenge conservative moral attitudes in Poland.

Also in Poland, sooner or later any discussion of religious or civil partnerships will have to address the issue of same-sex marriage.

Why not sooner?

Greetings from the European Parliament,

Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg

 

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