Changing Times, Changing Laws

Same-sex marriage has rippled across the world in the past few years. What was once a seemingly impossible social construct, the right for people to marry whomever they love, has now become a form of equality adopted by the progressive western world. As modern as these legal achievements may seem, sometimes unintended repercussions arise for the society that has chosen to respect those who wish to marry someone who is of the same sex.

In England, which has a long aristocratic history which conveys titles though marriage, these ancient rules must now be amended in order to conform to the times. Legislation to allow same-sex marriage in England and Wales was passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom in July 2013 and will come into effect on March 13th, 2014. The first same-sex marriages will take place on March 29th, 2014. Policy makers in Parliament have compiled a list of statutes and regulations, some dating back as far as 1285, to be amended or purposely voided when the Same-Sex Marriage Act becomes effective in the next few weeks. British legal scholars claim the amending of the laws and regulations is a proper “tidying up” routine, but the Coalition for Marriage, staunch advocates against same-sex marriage, accused the Government of trying to “sneak” the changes through the legislative process in order to avoid public dissent. Furthermore, the Coalition for Marriage blasted the Ministers for engaging “in an unprecedented and systematic drive to airbrush out of law words like husband, wife and widow in order to make the legislation work.”

The order drafted by Parliament stipulates that language in the Act giving gay and heterosexual marriage the same legal effect does not apply to the rights of anyone “who marries, or who is married to, the King Regnant, to the title of Queen”. The Act also states that should a future Prince of Wales marry a man, his husband could not be called Princess of Wales. In a more probable scenario, the order rules out the possibility of Dukes and Earls who marry other men, from making their husbands Duchess, Countess or Lady. Because titles such as Queen were conferred through marriage, by custom rather than law, the issue was not realized when civil partnerships first became legal in England. However, now that the definition of marriage itself is being redefined by the Parliament, clarification was due for the sake of consistency.

Do you feel like the definition of marriage in England and Wales is adversely affected by neutralizing the laws that convey the right to titles through marriage?

Are there any laws in America that might need to be changed in order to accommodate same-sex marriage?

Do you think we will ever see a same-sex couple as rulers of a monarchy? As leaders in Democracy?


Source: UK Parliament

Photo: CNN

One comment

  1. Although, I am remaining optimistic, I think we will see a same sex couple rule a democracy before a monarchy. My belief is based on the patriarchy and tradition from which a monarchy is established. The King is normally the ruler with the Queen as his wife. The title of Queen is conferred through marriage. It is a patriarchal heterosexual realm.

    This to me is similar to the United States having a woman President (or not), while England is being ruled by the Queen. Again, it goes back to the patriarchy, in part, in the United States and tradition and custom in England. In that, England is more accepting to women as rulers than in the United States. But, on the other hand, the United States is more open to same-sex couples and marriage than in England. Therefore, I think America will see same-sex couples head the nation before a woman becomes President and the opposite is true for England.

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