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November 10, 2010

Wednesday Stupid: Married Couple In Love With Each Other Getting Divorced Because They're "Fed Up With The Hetero-Husband-And-Wife Brigade That Is Afforded So Much Status and Privilege"

Does anyone buy this? I don't. I think the husband is divorcing her for being an annoying, sexless prat but he's agreed to give her this fig leaf of cover, that this is some kind of political statement.

By the way: Husband-and-Wife? Not Wife and Husband or even better Life Partner and Life Partner?

Twenty points deducted from Slytherin.

I want to divorce the man I love and he wants to divorce me. We do not wish to separate simply to end our seven-year marriage. Like Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle, who yesterday were denied their request for a civil partnership at a London register office, we would prefer "to secure official status for our relationship in a way that supports the call for complete equality and is free of the negative, sexist connotations of marriage". We are both fed up with being part of the hetero-husband-and-wife brigade that is accorded so much status and privilege.


I had never considered how marriage would change my place in the world. Before we even tied the proverbial knot, I became swiftly aware of discrimination against wives. A job in journalism I was up for suddenly became unavailable: a female manager called to say that now I was married she presumed that it would be difficult for me to be a foreign correspondent.

Wait, where is the status and privilege? This is less a substantive point than one about writing a coherent essay -- she begins by saying she's abandoning marriage due to the status and privilege afforded to the married, then begins whining about how awful marriage is in terms of personal costs to herself.

So which is it? Is she being granted too many privileges or being denied too many opportunities?

This "Tyranny of Marriage" (as she titles her 700 word fart) apparently also imposes unbearable costs in terms of clarity of thinking and expression.

This was shocking, but the point I wish to make here concerns the privileges accorded to the wedded heterosexual couple. When you marry, you gain a certain unspoken gravitas, as though society heaves a collective sigh of relief: "Thank God they've grown up." Several husbands and wives actually said to me, albeit with a weary smile, "Join the club". Clink clink. And I soon discovered that marriage really is a club.

Being married pulls you into a new elite. It lends you an air of stability and reliability that singles and divorcees are denied. We assume that those who are unmarried probably have something just a teeny bit wrong with them because they have never managed to persuade another to settle down into that cosy unit of coupledom. This is the smug tyranny of husbands and wives.

Which brings me back to the question of divorce. For those of us who are married but have seen the light, our work is cut out. There is only one ground for divorce: that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. So if we really want to get one we will have to lie. We may have no choice: one of the more recent vows we made to each other was to promise to divorce if the Tories introduce a tax break for married couples. We want no part of that. If there are enough of us, we could start fighting for the right to exchange our marriage certificates for civil partnerships. This would be a step forward in the battle against what Peter Tatchell has described as a form of "sexual apartheid in law".

She's going to have to lie to a judge to secure her fake-divorce, but she's, like, announcing her intent to lie in a widely-published column. Sounds like a plan.

So, gee, when you show up to get your fake political-statement divorce, the judge will deny your request (see, you're lying, right?, and you just told him so), which, surprisingly enough, will grant you additional benefits:

1) You'll remain married, but

2) You'll have a whole new "tyranny" to play martyr about, the tyranny of being forced to remain in a functional marriage because a judge was so oppressive as to have read your column and therefore have been told you were lying.

Best of both worlds, as usual! Assume the posture of heroic resistance and then conspire to do absolutely nothing at all except reap the social benefits of fake heroism and pretend martyrdom.

By the way, to answer the question you've all been wondering about...

You were all correct. Fifteen points awarded to Griffendor!

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posted by Ace at 10:59 AM

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