Only last weekend I went to a civil partnership between two women. Two brilliant women who were clearly and deeply in love with one another. They made promises to each other, they exchanged rings, they had a first dance, they cut a cake. But one thing they did not do - use the word marriage.
In fact, I learned in one of the speeches that they were legally not allowed to use the word marriage. There were poems, readings and songs that they could not use because they contained the word marriage. For example, if they wanted to use Bruno Mars' song 'Marry You' it would be banned. Bruno Mars is banned from all civil partnerships. AND HE HAS SUCH GOOD SKIN.
This, of course, is pathetic and ridiculous but I highlight it because it's no more pathetic and ridiculous than not allowing gay people to get married in the first place. It illustrates just how far we have to go.
I write this in light of the recent pissy outburst by the ever hypocritical Church of England who have said that all of their fold are unequivocally against it (which is simply not true) and which has since been published in most major news outlets. And their arguments are unsurprisingly based on habit rather than reason. I'm baffled as to why we're listening to the C of E when they consistently operate like a national school bully. As I wrote on twitter yesterday, the church was set up by Henry VIII, a man who had two of his six wives beheaded. And they're telling gay people they can't be trusted with marriage. Having the C of E tell me that I can't marry another man is akin to having my old boss at mini-golf coming up to me in the street and telling me I can't have a shit break.
My issue here isn't necessarily what the Church or any other religious organisation has to say about it. They're pretty predictable in their archaism and cavalier contempt. My concern is that nationally publishing views from an old and out-of-touch institution, essentially saying that to be gay is bad for society, makes life so much harder for people that are coming to terms with their sexuality. They see that people who have come out are still struggling to get the same rights as everyone else. And so maybe they don't come out and live a lie. And that makes me sad.
When I was at school I was occasionally picked on by kids for 'acting gay' or being camp. I developed a line in riposte which was 'don't bend over then'. I was clearly an amazing child. But it made me think for most of my life that my sexuality would be a problem and that my life would never be as perfect as those kids who tormented me. A couple of weeks ago I saw one of those kids drinking a pint of lager in a Wetherspoons at 11am. And he was wearing a fleece. I realised, in that moment, that I totally win.
So, if you're one of those kids (or adults) that is scared to come out because people think it's wrong or that you shouldn't get married and live like everyone else, know that most of those people drink in Wetherspoons at 11am and wear fleeces. And you totally win.
If you'd like to stick your nose in, like the C of E did, on gay marriage you can provide your opinion in the Home Office's consultation here.