Monday, 21 November 2011
There is a debate going on in the UK about civil partnership; and whether in particular religious institutions should be allowed to perform them.
Currently there is a legal prescription against civil partnerships being described as marriage; or being associated with religious symbolism. This can cause problems for gay couples, as very strict registrars may veto certain types of behaviour, decoration, or forms of words. Certainly a top tip Fella and I have already had is to get to know our prospective registrar very well.
Some members of the House of Lords, the unelected upper chamber that can delay and amend legislation – but not veto it – are opposingthis proposed opening up of options for gay couples. Tories, they are. A reputation for nastiness they have; sometimes they subsume it long enoigh to win power. But they always return to type.
I should make clear that no religious group or building would be forced to undertake civil partnerships. Currently gay people may not be discriminated against on the provision of a good or service; and the point of civil partnerships is to give gay couples the same rights and protections in law as them there proper married types. So it’s not such a radical step forward, but a welcome one.
Still those members of the Lords are opposed. And they are dressing up this opposition as what I have seen described as a victimisation meme. A simple equation; gay equality demeans religious freedom.
Well, gentle reader, time to introduce a new technical term to our rarefied debate. Horseshit.
It’s Horseshit because religious views should not be used as a way of attacking other people. It doesn’t damage anyone’s freedom to be stopped from doing that. Religion is being used as an absolute; but the argument is that it should be a supreme get-out-of-jail-free card.
It’s true that no-one’s freedom should be limited until and unless it impinges on someone else’s or is liable of causing harm. So you hate gays? Well, you get to shout it from the roof-tops, pray for our destruction; you’ll never be denied healthcare or the right to vote. Maybe you need to be careful what you say and do at work, or in public, or to your family – but hey, welcome to our world.
No, it isn’t equality they want. But if they do, let’s give it to them. Time, I think, to get the bishops out of the Lords. Time to disestablish the Church of England and all the subsidies that entails. Time to stop treating your vast portfolio of land as a charity, and get you to pay your taxes. Come on – you want to be like the rest of us – by all means.
Because, although we don’t claim to be special, it doesn’t mean you get to say we are less than what we are. So live. Grow. And marry me.
Sunday, 20 November 2011
I can hardly believe, gentle reader, that it has been so long since my last post. Well, there’s been lots of stuff going on, not least the Cheerful Fairy becoming a human pin cushion. Half a dozen hospital appointments coming up which will no doubt provide a blog post or two.
However, that's not what I’m here to post about – no it’s weddings!
A few weeks ago Fella and I attended the civil partnership of a couple of ladies, H & P, and I have to write we had a fantastic time. They had clearly gone out of their way to make everyone feel they were part of their day and to ensure everyone enjoyed taking part too.
It was a triumph of organisation and we in the Big Gay Family responded with a willingness to party above and beyond the call. Fella lost his shoes; I lost a coat (that does tend to happen when the Big Kay Family gets together). We got them back though, and in the process we were able to thank them for letting us be part of their special day. The venue, the ceremony, the reception were all wonderful. As H & P are teachers they had structured the day like a school timetable; the ceremony was Religious Education, the blessing was Assembly. And instead of flowers as the table centrepiece each table had its own type of sweets that people were encouraged to share.
One other thing we learned…
Fella and the Cheerful Fairy are NOWHERE. I mean, we know the date; we have a preferred venue; we’re going to wear clothes… we’ve done a tentative guest list – pleasingly more people than we thought.
But that’s it. We’ve been X years away for some time now but the truth is we need to get all the details done in six months, perhaps less.
Because, of course, we need to start sending out ‘save the date’ cards and then invites. And apparently that alone is a crucible of passion and intrigue that makes Lucretia Borgia’s weddings seem dull and uninteresting by comparison. People genuinely fell out over some being invited to the reception but not the ceremony! We were afraid.
Clearly we’re going to have to Bridezilla this baby up. A lot to think about and a lot to do. I’m glad we’ve had our eyes opened, particularly in such a nice way. I think we can look forward to a lot more posts about registrars and venues and stationery and wedding lists and honeymoons and menus and clothes and hotels and…