The Whitehall ruling will ensure that register offices carry no reference to marriage except where legally necessary. This is despite the fact that gay ceremonies are in their infancy, have yet to prove popular in the community, and account for just one in 200 register office bookings.
The 'Wedding Ceremony Room' in Bridgend, Wales, is to become simply the 'Ceremony Room' while in Liverpool its register office has taken down portraits of brides and grooms, replacing them with landscapes. Though the extension of the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples is long overdue, steps of this sort are just bizarre.
What homosexual couples want is the choice to declare their partnership officially, to reap the financial rewards, and to affirm their position as equal to the traditional bride-groom model. They do not want, and certainly do not need, to be patronised by a government too nervous to maintain familiar institutions.
Political correctness is steadily sanitising anything that may cause the slightest upset to anyone. The release of a mainstream, star-studded movie, Brokeback Mountain, about gay cowboys in love has been met with critical acclaim and handfuls of award nominations. But I am waiting patiently for the next story of a man and a woman falling in love to be pulled from screens for fear of upsetting those of a different persuasion.