CIVILIZAÇÃO. A rainha de Inglaterra foi hoje anunciar ao Parlamento as linhas gerais da política do governo para a próximo ano. Uma das quais, nem sequer a mais importante, prende-se com o alargamento de direitos para os casais homossexuais. A rainha de Inglaterra, repito, foi a porta-voz da medida. A oposição conservadora já tinha dito que concorda plenamente. E o Telegraph, bastião da imprensa de direita, fez ontem este editorial:
Gay couples should be equal under the law
The time has come to give homosexual couples some legal recognition.
It has frequently been lamented, with good reason, that the institution of marriage is in crisis as divorce rates soar to levels unimaginable a generation ago. There are many reasons for the current disinclination to marry and remain married. These include the continuing fall-out of the sexual revolution of the 1960s; our contemporary selfishness and lack of fidelity; the choice that many women make to delay marriage and children for the sake of their career; as well as government policy, which no longer offers real financial incentives to married couples.
Co-habiting heterosexual couples can choose to marry, and the question of restoring "pro-marriage" financial arrangements can be addressed by tinkering with tax and social security regulations. In the Queen's Speech tomorrow, the Government is expected to propose that homosexuals be allowed to become "registered civil partners" and assume some of the same rights, and responsibilities, as a married couple. The details of the proposed legislation remain vague, but the focus of the changes would be in the areas of inheritance and pensions, and the granting of the right for a civil partner to act as next-of-kin in times of illness.
There is no good reason why a homosexual man or woman, bereaved after decades of faithful union, should face the additional burden of selling a shared home to meet death duties when a partner dies. To state this truth is a simple matter of what is just and practical. It is perverse that existing law should actively discourage any two people in a lifelong relationship from enjoying legal and financial security. Michael Howard was wise to signal that Conservative MPs would have a free vote on the issue.
We understand the reservations several Church leaders have expressed about extending this civil union into some sort of pastiche gay marriage, which would be in breach of so much Judaeo-Christian teaching. But that is a religious issue. What is proposed is a civil matter. It is wrong to oppose a sensible and modest civil reform for fear of where it will ultimately lead. Allowing gay people to affirm their relationship within a civil contract does not undermine the institution of marriage. It might even reinforce it. We will all benefit from greater recognition of stable relationships, of whatever kind.