This morning, I've been listening to the news of Rebecca Seinfeld and Charles Keidan. They are a long-term heterosexual couple who want to have a civil partnership instead of a marriage. They say they are being discriminated against for their sexual orientation because they are not allowed to have a civil partnership, which has to be between two people of the same sex. Today they lost their case at the Court of Appeal.
Personally, I can't understand why they would want to have a civil partnership in the first place. They have no idea of the struggle people in same sex relationships faced to be allowed to get married. Many people in same sex relationships did not see civil partnerships as a positive thing. Civil partnerships were their compromise when they could not have marriage by law.
I am happily heterosexual, but having grown up disabled, I have some experience of facing struggles. I have some idea of how it feels to want what everyone else has, when a difference you can't help means that you can't have it.
The closest thing I can compare Civil Partnerships to is integration in education. Growing up, my friends and I wanted inclusion. We wanted to study the mainstream curriculum in mainstream classrooms. We wanted to be like everyone else. Sadly mainstream classrooms didn't want us at the beginning of our education. So we got our compromise- integration. We were taken from our special primary school to a mainstream primary school once a week to socialise with the mainstream pupils. We saw what a mainstream setting was like, but that wasn't enough. That only made us want inclusion even more.
After battles and struggles, some of us got full inclusion. Today, integration is still happening. In some mainstream schools there are still units for autistic children, for example, where they learn at their pace and then have break times and lunch with everyone else.
Inclusion still isn't perfect. Disabled children in primary schools are still struggling to have their needs met. But which marriage is perfect? Would any straight person say that because marriage isn't perfect, they would rather not have got married to anyone, ever? That they would rather not have the choice to get married by law? I hope not.
What I don't understand is that Rebecca Seinfeld and Charles Keidan have the choice open to them to get married by law. They have the choice open to them to be like everyone else. They can choose to be the same as everyone else. So why do they want to be different, to do something different that is not necessarily positive?
Today, same sex couples in most Western countries can get married by law. However there are many same sex couples in the rest of the world who still can't reveal their identities or their relationships.
Does this straight couple simply want to be unusual? If so, they should speak to disabled people. They should speak to same sex couples who are facing danger, even death, for their identity. They should speak to same sex couples who are desperate to get married, but can't by law. There must have been many such couples in Western countries, in the UK, in the past, who didn't live to see the law change in 2014.
Personally, I think that anyone who has ever felt different because they have been unusual will happily tell this couple that being unusual is not what it seems to be. Personally, I wish they could be told how lucky they are to have the choice to be like everyone else.