Friday 20 August 2004

A Norwegian Solution?

A good friend, and reader, Fven writes :
I understand that, if I ever do meet someone that could be my best friend for life - the two of us together would make you a trifle uneasy (understating), yet the fact that you recognise this, and also recognise that there are people around you that you do not wish harm, yet have this.. um well I'd rather not admit it either, but it ain't going away... so I guess I just have to live with it..

Your "Confessions of a homophobe", to me is not homophobic at all really, though I guess the street meaning of homophobe is "homo - hurt", rather than "homo - don't understand - kinda scared"

Many people I hear raise objections to gay marriage on the grounds of $Deity. I feel a system similar to that of Norway (at least and I think some other European nations) solves the problem quite nicely. To solve this objection, the civil and the religious aspects of marriage are completley divorced (pardon the pun).

The state counts a couple as married if and only if they have had a ceremony in the Town Hall. Many couples then *choose* to have an additional ceremony in their place of worship.

Insurance, hospitals etc only require the Town Hall (civil) marriage, to grant coupes rates, visitation rights etc.
Any religion/ other (non-state) marriage granting institution, is free to abide by its own rules of association.

On a related issue, there was recently much debate in an Australian setting. centering around the playschool episode where a small child went to the park with her "two mums". The debate seemed to centre around whether playschool was reflecting or pushing current social standards and whether this was an appropriate thing to be shown on a generally parent-approved program.

I take another stance: Small children can be quite vindictive. Scenario: $child1 is picked up at school by $parent1=(two mums| two dads | one mum, one day other mum next day | etc), $child2 is picked up at same time by $parent2, who makes some snide remark regarding $parent1. $child2 then parrots this remark at school the next day and it sticks causing some grief to $child1 and probably to $techer. Any other $child3, who may also have gay parents gets caught up in the whole deal... we end up with $mess.

$child1, who we consider known *and* any other $child3, that is unknown may watch that episode and know that they are NOT alone. Hopefully $child2 will also watch same episode and know that well, it happens and it seriously can't be helped.

Yeah - I watched playschool with my younger sister so it would affect older children as well.
I hope I'm as tolerant of other people's odd beliefs as she is of mine.

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