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Monday, January 30, 2006

If anyone has an account with Barclay's -

- you might want to consider moving it. In the wee coffee room in the NLS today, I spotted a depressing little pamphlet entitled (if I remember rightly) 'Getting Hitched: A Guide to Civil Partnerships', produced by Stonewall and sponsored by Barclay's Bank. This explained in jolly and conversational terms why the Civil Partnerships Act provided 'in all intents and purposes' for gay marriage; it was illustrated with wedding cakes, champagne flutes and the like, and pointed out cheerily that gay couples can even ask for wedding presents. I can't quote more exactly as I put both copies in the bin; which, with a few hours' hindsight, was possibly unhelpful, as it would be useful to have the text, but I couldn't bear the thought of carrying it around.
It isn't exactly surprising to see the gay lobby (or at least this element of it) claiming that gay marriage is now a reality in Britain, despite the government's insistance that the Act did not allow for anything that should be called marriage. Whether the government was being naive or cynical in making this assertion, I am still not entirely sure.
I am also not sure whether Stonewall's depiction of look-alike marriage could quite be considered misrepresentative in legal terms. I suspect not, as while the booklet did repeat that civil partners would have exactly the same rights as married couples in various spheres, and could have whatever ceremony they wished to accompany the establishment of a civil partnership, I don't think they directly referred to gay couples' being married, instead using 'tie the knot' and 'get hitched' and such-like. So actually the jokey tone works out as a cunning ploy to avoid being sued...
Still, would it be sensible to write to the NLS and protest their allowing such material in the coffee room, and to write to Barclay's and protest their using their resources to fund such things?
Lord have mercy upon us.