British MP’s & the sanctity of gay marriage

6 Feb

Last Sunday, I bumped into an acquaintance on the High Street. We exchanged pleasantries and then we discussed the progress of the gay support group he attends on a monthly basis. This led onto our opinions on the forthcoming gay marriage vote.
As the gent in question is a mature, private person and of the “Old School” with regards to gay culture – he grew up at the time when being gay was closeted and very taboo –  he said, “I think we’re onto a loser here. The Tories are very forceful on this issue”. I disagreed. I said times are changing, cultural waves are taking place and people appear to be more accepting of gay people. However, I reminded him of this: The first gay couple in the UK to “tie the knot” as it were in 2006 “dissolved their relationship” about 6 months later. I know it happens in “straight” relationships too. But damn! If you’re going to make a historical, political or social statement for life, try to keep to it please! We agreed to differ on our viewpoints and ended the conversation with a prophetic “We shall see”.

Yesterday, two very significant events occured. One, most importantly to me, was the third anniversary of my mothers death. The Second event, was the historical and landmark vote of the gay marriage bill within the UK. 400 MPs voted in favour, 175 voted against. Apparently, comments, views and opinions have been divided up and down the country on this issue. One Conservative member from Surrey said “people are more angry about this issue than Europe and Conservative membership has reduced greatly from approximately 3,000 signed and paid up members down to 175″.

Over the last 48 hours, I have watched this symbolic ruling unfurl, analysed and scrutinised by the news channels, programmes, political commentators, social campaigners, supporters, anti-gay marriage lobby and the public in general.

Why has it been such a Hot Topic of debate?

I have been bemused, baffled, angry and at times, indifferent to what I have heard.

Public opinion has been divided and even within the gay community, there are those who support the marriage bill and those who are against it.

As a gay man myself, personally I don’t believe that two men should get married in a church, mosque or other religious place of worship.  However, that doesn’t stop me from supporting or respecting my gay comrades in arms if that is what they wish or want to do.

I agree with one comment that a gay man, who was intending to marry his long term partner, said last night on the news:  “There are pleanty of heterosexual couples who are not religious but can get married in a church. Yet there are plenty of gay people who are very religious and are denied this opportunity”.

But there was also another comment made by a gay man who was against the idea of gay marriage who asked “Why get married when we already have a civil partnership in place – it’s just another level of bureaucracy!”

I understand and respect both views. But is the push for gay marriage really for love or for money? I knew a gay couple in Devon who had a Civil Ceremony. I asked if they were going to announce their love for one another in front of their family and friends. One looked aghast and said “We don’t do that! We’re men! We can’t announce the love that dare not speak its name in front of my mum!” So why are you doing it then?  I enquired. “Well, so we could have equal rights like a man and wife, financially, with the pension and all that…

” So, what about Love?” I asked.

“What about it!?” they said in unison.

I just didn’t get it. I’d  been with my long term partner for about 15 years at that point and I said we’re a partnership, we share everything. We don’t need a paper to say we have Rights or declare our love. People can see it and if they ask, we tell them. Just being together is enough for us. We lead our own private lives, we don’t see heterosexual couples declaring their sexual orientation and we are secure in who we are. Life is changing, we are changing and growing older. Most peoples attitudes are changing. There are those who are in a minority who do not, cannot or will not change their mindset for whatever reason. That is there issue. Not ours. I’m not here to change the world. I’m here to live it. Leave me in my world and I will respect you. You just have to learn to accept it as I acccept yours.

And yet I know another gay couple who appear to be madly, deeply in love and want the world to see or know it via Facebook and can’t wait to show it by getting married later this year. That is their choice and I respect it.

A side issue: I think that the only instituition not moving with the times is The Church. They are still entrenched in archaic sysytems and shrouded in religious fervour. Objections to female Bishops, gay marriages and accusations/allegations of paedophilia/child abuse scandals have been denied. If this were any other organisation, they would be sued and possibly hauled to the Human Rights Courts for breaking all the Equality Laws, legislations and Discrimination Acts. Yet, MPs remain in benevolence towards these religious / faith groups.

What do you think?

 

The Learned Kat

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