Mediation and Counselling Northern Ireland | New Law Permitting Same Sex Marriages in Britain
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New Law Permitting Same Sex Marriages in Britain

02 Apr New Law Permitting Same Sex Marriages in Britain

The Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act came into force in July last year but it was not until 13 March 2014 when couples were able to register their intention to marry under the Act for the first time.  David Cameron has hailed the first same-sex marriages in England and Wales as sending a “powerful message” about equality in Britain.  The prime minister said the reform was necessary because “when people’s love is divided by law, it is that law that needs to change”.
So what does this new law mean in terms of the vow of marriage.  Homosexuality can be formally and legally associated with long term commitment like any other relationship.  Two people who are committed to each other in a long-term relationship now have the option to enter into the contract of marriage.

People who are homosexual often keep their sexual orientation a secret and some even struggle with their sexual identity until they reach a point of recognition or acceptance.  With the norm being to assume that everyone is heterosexual unless told otherwise, it is difficult for people to ‘come out.’  When someone decides to live openly as a person who is homosexual they are often alone and unguided and left to seek out like-minded people and learn the norms from them.  Because gay relationships are not always cantered around long-term commitment or children, and there is no social norm associated with life long commitment, relationships can be built around sex and those relationships therefore lack sustainability.  Without the element of commitment and no role models to follow, gay people are susceptible to a life long journey of love and rejection.  The new law around same sex marriages gives gay people a reason to build relationships around family commitment, which in turn may lead to sustainable and stable relationships.

BACP responded to an article, which ran in the Guardian on Thursday 26 March 2009 demonstrating that they do not support the concept of counselling to cure homosexuality.  “The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy is dedicated to social diversity, equality and inclusivity of treatment without sexual discrimination or judgmentalism of any kind, and it would be absurd to attempt to alter such fundamental aspects of personal identity as sexual orientation by counselling (Counsellors offer ‘cure for homosexuality, 26 March). All that so-called “aversion therapies” have ever achieved is to make people with gay thoughts suffer extra pain. I do feel some sympathy for those who may have tried to respond positively to a client who asked: “I’m married but have unwanted gay desires – can you help me?” But the ultimate goal of any such therapy ought to be acceptance of reality.  Phillip Hodson, Fellow, BACP.

If we want to live in a socially constructive society then we cannot exclude a significant portion of the population

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