So, just before Christmas a federal judge in Utah ruled the state’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. It was a bit of a shocker to most people, but couples from all over rushed to take advantage, resulting in startling scenes of queues dozens deep lining up to get married; clerk offices staying open around the clock to deal with the sudden influx of people desperate to get married; and even the Boy Scouts delivering pizza so nobody had to leave their desk while the madness unfurled.
One of my facebook friends shared a link on her feed today from the website United Church of God, offering a ‘respectful discussion’ (read: rejection) of the gay marriage debate, written by their contributor Heather Disher.
Heather, allow me to respectfully disagree with every single word you wrote.
Yes, it’s finally here. The US Supreme Court is hearing two major cases this week – first on California’s Proposition 8 (that particularly nasty piece of legislation which took marriage equality away from people to whom it had already been granted) and tomorrow DOMA itself.
I’ve banged on rather a lot about equal marriage. About the importance of having the right to use that word, of having the right to stand up before your friends and family – and God, if you believe – and affirm your love to Mr or Mrs Right, whoever you are. But it’s about more than that. This is the real story of why equal marriage matters.
Last week I wrote about the speeches given by various MPs during the equal marriage debate. I said I had never felt as proud of UK MPs as I did that day, and I meant that. Genuinely. But there’s one MP I am not proud of – my own MP, Derek Twigg; one of only 22 Labour MPs to vote against equal marriage.
Yesterday was a bit of a write-off for me. The UK House of Commons was discussing the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill from 12.30pm right up to the vote at 7pm. I followed the entire thing as it happened.
Now this was already a done deal. Enough MPs had said in advance they were voting for the bill that we knew we’d won. It was simply a case of seeing how big our majority was going to be. But before that, for six and a half hours, over seventy MPs from all parties and levels and of all ages and backgrounds were given four minutes each to present their own reactions to the bill. It was the content of those four-minute speeches that really struck a chord as I was following this debate; the number of out gay and bisexual MPs who spoke movingly of what this bill means to them in particular. I have never been as proud of UK politicians as I was yesterday listening to some of them speak.
Hands up who’s bored of the equal marriage debates rumbling through virtually every country in the west at the moment? It seems every other US state is currently having a referendum on the matter – with some voting for, and some against – the UK bill just hit parliament, and Paris was invaded by hoards marching both for and against. SCOTUS briefs are currently being filed in advance of the hearing on DOMA.
Whatever your political position – for, against, ambivalent – you can’t escape it. I’ve heard arguments every which way recently, opinions and surveys and outright lies in some instances spread across the media. The most common complaint I’m hearing is that – in most places – us gays already have civil partnerships, so why are we banging on about marriage? Continue reading →
Dur, right? I’m a bit old for the talk about the birds and the bees.
Or am I? As a gold-star dyke, according to some people’s definition of what sex ‘is’ I could well be considered a virgin. But that’s my business, right? What I do and who I do it with is irrelevant to everybody else so they can all keep their beaks out. As long as I’m not breaking the law, it’s all good.
Except when the government gets involved.