Gay marriages: the best of British
From today, gay and lesbian couples in Britain are able to enter a civil partnership that is marriage in all but name. (Although the first ceremonies won't be until December 21, due to the notice period.)
Personally, I don't entirely get why anyone would want to get married - it is an institution and who wants to live in an institution, as they say - but it is certainly an advance towards a civilised society that one form of discrimination over sexuality should be removed. And the accompanying pension, inheritance and related rights are certainly appropriate.
This advance is a sign of the essentially civilised nature of British society - the admirable near-abolition of religion from public life, combined with an embrace of eccentricity and difference observable for centuries.
It is representative of the best of British, and the reasons why I've chosen to make my life here.
On another side of the issue, an excellent piece in The Times today recommends raising the legal age for marriage to 18. It looks particularly at the problem of forced marriages in minority communities, but then broadens out:
A girl of 17 is not considered mature enough to vote, to order a pint of beer or to enter into any legally binding contract. So she finds herself in the position where she cannot buy a washing machine on the never-never, but with Daddy’s say-so she can sign the papers that commit her to a marriage intended to last for the rest of her life. How absurd is that?