Lesbians get equal rights with regards to birth


by Rumbold
31st August, 2009 at 1:12 pm    

This seems sensible to me:

“Women in same-sex relationships can now register both their names on the birth certificate of a child conceived as a result of fertility treatment.

Female couples not in a civil partnership but receiving fertility treatment may also both be registered.”

Complaints about undermining marriage are misguided, unless you believe that lesbians would otherwise get married to men if they were denied these rights, and that this would be inherently good:

“Conservative MP Nadine Dorries told the BBC that the move undermined the traditional family model.

She said: “If we want to build a stable society, a mother and father and children works as the best model. “We should be striving towards repairing and reinforcing marriage. I think this move sends out the exact opposite message.”"

The reason why the state intervenes in marriage (by providing legal and tax incentives) is because society in general believes that a stable couple makes for better parents and citizens, and because it gives the spouse certain rights in cases of death, illness, etc. Sexual orientation is thus irrelevant. If this is the case, we should be looking to extend these benefits to as wide a range of people as possible. This could be done by allowing all adults to have a ‘civil union’ with one other person, which would grant them rights. At present there are certain groups which miss out on said rights, such as unmarried sisters who live together. Marriage would then just be a purely religious affair, and could be done by those who wanted something else on top of their civil union.

Essentially, either the state should be promoting people staying together, or not. One cannot have it both ways. I do believe that children, in general, benefit from having two parents (not least because they can share the workload). I do not believe though that their parents’ gender or sexual orientation affects how well as child is brought up.


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Filed in: Civil liberties,Culture,Sex equality






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  1. Halima — on 31st August, 2009 at 1:33 pm  

    Rumbold

    Good post.

    Raises some thoughts in my mind which i’ve had before but haven’t really followed through.

    People often argue, don’t they, that the state shouldn’t interfere too much in personal affairs – and I’d say, how people marry and conceive children is about as personal as it gets.

    “Essentially, either the state should be promoting people staying together, or not. One cannot have it both ways.”

    I don’t see why the state should be promoting people to stay together – it does so, and in doing so, state priviledges and benefits advantage those that stay together. In other words, quite a conservative model of what a ‘family’ ought to be.

    Why? Are families to be rewarded because they stay together over the longer-term? There’s something too moral in this argument. I quite like the practical benefits of relationships and I’d say much of the support the state provides is practical, but i can’t say I agree with the moral premise behind it. I might agree with it on religious principles if I am religious.

  2. Chris Baldwin — on 31st August, 2009 at 3:52 pm  

    “Essentially, either the state should be promoting people staying together, or not. One cannot have it both ways.”

    Yeah. To be honest I think the state should probably mind its own business, but if it is going to have measures to encourage people to stay together it ought to do it for gay and lesbian folks too.

  3. Don — on 31st August, 2009 at 4:25 pm  

    Good points, Rumbold. I get most of my information on this from ‘Woman’s Hour’ etc., but the move seems to have been well though out.

    If a particular religious group insists on a narrow definition of marriage then that’s up to them, they can have their holy matrimony ceremony if they want. If a relationship falls outside their definition, then they can mind their own damn business.

  4. Rumbold — on 31st August, 2009 at 5:26 pm  

    Halima:

    I think that there are practical benefits to people staying together, such as more efficient use of housing, a better environment for children etc (so in economic terms the state is trying to price externalities). Like you, I don’t care about the moral reasons.

    Thanks Chris and Don.

  5. halima — on 31st August, 2009 at 5:46 pm  

    Do you think it’s just that the state is trying to price externalities? One could argue (and many feminists take this line) that the state is in fact using price externality as an excuse to prescribe a conservative and moral view of society and two-parent families.

  6. Don — on 31st August, 2009 at 6:27 pm  

    Halima,

    Or possibly the family values/moral view is an easy pitch to a core demographic and comes as a bonus for pragmatic considerations?

    I’m sure most politicians are a mix of some kind of moral position (Surely? A fragment at least? Anything?), political pragmatism and personal ambition. I doubt it is either/or position.

  7. douglas clark — on 31st August, 2009 at 6:33 pm  

    halima,

    You are talking to someone that thought Rumbolds’ idea of a gentle walk consisted of walking up a hill 711 metres tall. I should probably not admit this, but the last few yards down that enourmous pimple, caused me enormous embarrasment. Y’know, when your legs have gone?

    Perhaps you don’t. Frankly neither did I. Till it happened.

    So, no, I don’t think it is only the state that it is trying for externalitities, I think it is also my poor bloody legs.

  8. Halima — on 1st September, 2009 at 7:44 am  

    Douglas,

    Sorry to hear about your legs giving away – seriously, I’ve had a few trekking accidents on the knee and these days only go out walking with knee support and sticks – even if i look strange ..

    “So, no, I don’t think it is only the state that it is trying for externalitities, I think it is also my poor bloody legs.”

    My only question was whether I need to be married or in a relationship or be part of a two-parent family to be deserving of state support, that’s all.

    I think your legs are deserving irrespective of your family and relationship status.

    Don
    “I’m sure most politicians are a mix of some kind of moral position (Surely? A fragment at least? Anything?), political pragmatism and personal ambition. I doubt it is either/or position.”

    Guess you’re right. I suspect though tax incentives based on type of family size, nature of relationship etc conform to core demographics – but at the same time, they might actually reinforce this status quo by providing incentives in the first place.

    In many countries abortion is not freely available and it’s not just out of a concern for money/resources, it’s more about defining and maintaining a particular ideal of the family and family relations.

  9. Rumbold — on 1st September, 2009 at 10:13 am  

    Douglas:

    Glad to hear that you are striding up those hills. Someone has to. I prefer a slightly more horizontal landscape, albeit over long distances.

    Halima:

    I think that single mothers etc. should alos get help from the state. I was thinking more in temrs of legal rights for one’s partner (such as whether to operate or not, inheritance, and so forth).

  10. Helen — on 1st September, 2009 at 10:28 am  

    I agree

    I want to know what evidence there is that a mother and father work best? and what is meant by best? best in what way?

    In my circle of parents I know one lesbian couple who are in a civil partnership they parent in much the same way as I do so whilst this is a very small case study :) I believe good parenting is good parenting regardless.

    Also it seems fairly sensible for them both to have the rights.

  11. sonia — on 2nd September, 2009 at 3:10 am  

    Good points Rumbold.

    I do not believe though that their parents’ gender or sexual orientation affects how well as child is brought up.

    yep – what matters actually to a child’s emotional health LONG_TERM is how happy their parents are together. Also, i think a single happier parent is better than 2 unhappy parents (of any combo)..obviously then the single parent needs a stronger supportive network. (which should be encouraged, structurally, by govt.) the idea that a 2 parent family is automatically one where workload is shared isn’t necessarily true.at all.really is it. the support network is just more ‘hidden’ after all. this is why so many marriages are strained after child-birth and early toddler years!!

    its pretty simple. if the collective gets involved in supporting parents and children, we won’t need the reliance on romantic partners/people we’ve ‘grabbed’ to pay for our children. That would generally improve the world of parenting i feel.

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