Discussing software, the web, politics, sexuality and the unending supply of human stupidity.

Get excited everybody! It's time for more politicians blathering on about same-sex marriage!

Not happy with last week’s fun, politicians have been at it again. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has been in committee.

Let’s see. There’s so much stupid. I won’t retread old ground, but even once you exclude stuff which those keen observers of the marriage debate are already familiar with, there’s a few new things that need discussion. Where do we start? How about Chris Bryant MP…?

Culture Secretary Maria Miller has clashed with a Labour MP after describing marriage as a “gold standard” that people aspire to.

She told a Commons committee marriage provided “strength of commitment” that society could “thrive on”.

But Labour’s Chris Bryant said this made him feel that his civil own partnership was not as valued and she should “rethink” her language.

The minister said she had not meant to cause offence.

Oh, Chris Bryant, you do realise that by getting offended at Miller, you are undermining the case you are trying to make? I do think that civil partnerships aren’t quite as good as marriage. They are like a knock-off handbag compared to the real thing. The fact that people came along and said “hey, we’d like to get married” and the previous government said “okay, here you go, you get this thing which is sort of like marriage but isn’t actually marriage, it’s a civil partnership, and you don’t have a wedding, you have a civil partnership ceremony, and you aren’t husbands or wives, you are civil partners”… that’s exactly why upgrading the legislation to allow same-sex marriage is important. Because they aren’t equal, because “separate but equal” is bullshit.

And society agrees. Most people I’d argue do see “civil partnership” as less than marriage. The whole idea of a civil partnership sounds cold and bureaucratic, something only an accountant could get excited about (I’ve been joking a bit on Facebook that a civil partnership is consummated by registering for VAT). That’s partly what this legislation is trying to fix, by removing the semantic and legal distinctions between the two. Getting offended at what Maria Miller said is utterly self-defeating, because it undermines the case that Bryant is trying to make. A marriage and a civil partnership are different, and they ought not to be: hence why this legislation is necessary.

Mr Loughton questioned when the government became “discontent with the definition of marriage” and said most Tory MPs were “blissfully unaware” of an equalities document published during the 2010 election campaign which said Conservatives would consider the step of legalising gay marriage.

That Tory MPs were unaware of the Contract for Equalities is an internal Conservative Party problem. If you are part of a political party that publishes manifestos that their MPs don’t actually agree with or know about, how exactly is that anybody’s problem other than their own. You make a commitment to doing something in a document that looks to anybody outside of Whitehall to be a manifesto document. Then you whine that people hold you to your manifesto.

Simple solution: if you don’t want to implement your manifesto commitments or have people hold you to them, try not making those manifesto commitments. Instead, you want to have it both ways. Have a mini-manifesto for equalities legislation to placate gay people and other minorities, get the political capital for having shaken off the mean old Tory past of Section 28, but without actually having to pay the cost of doing it (i.e. passing legislation). That’s profoundly cynical and ghastly… it surprises me very little that this is what people are implicitly arguing for.

Education Secretary Michael Gove was asked about the implications of legalising gay marriage for the teaching of sex and religious education in schools and was asked what protections there were for teachers who had moral and religious objections to same-sex marriage.

Here’s the actual answer that should have been given: none. Teachers are there to teach the curriculum, not their personal opinion. If the curriculum covers what the legal status of marriage is, whether the teacher agrees with that legal status ought to be irrelevant.

David Burrowes asked whether parents would be able to take their children out of RE, sex education and other classes in the curriculum where pupils were “taught about the value of same-sex marriage”

We are dealing with the law of the land. This isn’t a matter of opinion. If the law passes, a same-sex couple will be able to go to a registry office and get married. That is a fact. What someone’s religious bullshit opinions are shouldn’t change that fact. And if we are teaching about family, sex, marriage, sexuality, whatever, we should be teaching them the damn facts. The teacher or the parents may not like those facts, but I don’t see why exactly that should change the teaching of those facts.

I’m really getting utterly bored with this. Just get the hell on and pass this bill already.