Am I missing something here? The Telegraph is getting it’s gender-specific underwear in a twist over nothing, isn’t it?
The first part of this, frankly, piss poor piece starts of invoking Orwell, by claiming the government is changing the meaning of the words ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ to make them interchangeable…
Civil servants have overruled the Oxford English Dictionary and hundreds years of common usage effectively abolishing the traditional meaning of the words for spouses.
It comes as part of a Government initiative to “clarify” what words will mean when gay marriage becomes law.
But critics described it as the vocabulary of “cloud cuckoo land”.
It follows claims by opponents of the redefinition of marriage that universally understood terms such as father and mother might be simply deleted by bureaucrats on official forms.
That would be fucking mad, wouldn’t it? How can the government just get rid of words? That’s just downright, er, erm, Orwellian!
Fear not, dear reader. We now move into the second part of the article where some sense is spoken, but not very clearly, if anyone got that far past the outrage just gushing out from the page.
Instead officials have decided to allow the words for the spouses to be used interchangeably for people of either gender in some contexts.
You see? “Some contexts”. The Telegraph gives an example…
The guidance gives the example of some early health and safety legislation drafted in 1963 which includes a range of exemptions for family businesses where the terms husbands and wives will mean people of either gender.
“This means that ‘husband’ here will include a man or a woman in a same sex marriage, as well as a man married to a woman,” it says.
“In a similar way, ‘wife’ will include a woman married to another woman or
a man married to a man.
“The result is that this section is to be construed as including both male and female same sex marriage.”
Yet it then goes on to say that in future legislation the traditional male-only meaning of husband and female-only understanding of wife could make a comeback – but not in all cases.
“The term ‘husband’ will in future legislation include a man who is married to another man (but not a woman in a marriage with another woman),” it adds, confusingly.
“And ‘wife’ will include a woman who is married to another woman (but not a man married to another man) unless specific alternative provision is made.”
Er, yeah. That is confusing. It would be much easier to say in existing legislation, ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ can be interchangeable depending on the circumstances, and the people the legislation applies to, which will not be a problem to devine
In future legislation a ‘husband’ is a married man and a ‘wife’ is a married woman, irrespective of what gender their spouse is.
See? That’s not so hard is it? It doesn’t quite fit the agenda of needlessly restricting who can marry who to fit some outdated bigotry, though.