Today, MPs are to vote on legalising same sex weddings, but some Tory MPs are to oppose the bill. Conservative activists have signed letters voicing both opposition to the move.
Over the past few weeks, I've watched and listened to the commentary and debate and have been utterly baffled by some of the opposing arguments to this bill. Most of the opposing arguments have been ridiculous and some politicians seem to have uneducated views on the homosexual life - perhaps this is down to age and generation or perhaps, a part of it, is down to public perception.
Before Pride London this year, the Guardian published Judy Bindel and Peter Tatchell discussing the relevance of Gay Pride: Bindel, a lesbian feminist, argues that Gay Pride has become more of a giant street party than a march about equality, she says, "But do people listen? Do they want to hear stories that are painful for any of us to digest when they have just been sinking six Bacardi Breezers and dancing to Madonna on a float?" I tend to agree and have been guilty of ignoring the political conquest of equality for homosexuals in search of a good street party and some vodka. What is especially sad is that the true meaning of Pride is lost in the Old Compton Street party, which, unfortunately, becomes the public front of Pride.
This is a perception that we, as homosexuals, can't shake off that easily, what with a history of underground activity and illicit lifestyles going way back to the Victorian period, perhaps back even further adding to the media pass time of outing well known figures and their habits. This is perception, I suppose, but you can see and feel that this perception is changing day by day and if this bill is to go through than, it might, at least portray the image of family, union and integration as the new normal.
Marriage, I thought, was a religious institution but as far as I understand, religious figures will not be forced to wed homosexual couples in their establishments if it breaches their moral compasses. My fear, as expressed by many others, is the accusation of 'hate crimes' - We should all sympathise with other people's beliefs and values, which may not encompass homosexuality, and therefore, I believe, must accept people for who they are and what they believe and not begin to, wrongly, accuse people of hate crimes - that is the equality and freedom of speech that, in this country, we all pride ourselves on.
Speaking of pride: In 1991, the media outed Jason Gould, son of Barbra Streisand, as being gay, and this was Ms Striesand's response to the media:
"I would never wish for my son to be anything but what he is. He is bright, kind, sensitive, caring, and a very conscientious and good person. He is a very gifted actor and filmmaker. What more could a parent ask for in their child? I have been truly blessed. Most parents feel that their child is particularly special, and I am no different. I have a wonderful son. My only wish for my son, Jason, is that he continues to experience a rich life of love, happiness, joy, and fulfilment, both creatively and personally. Nobody on this earth has the right to tell anyone that their love for another human being is morally wrong. I will never forget how it made me shudder to hear Pat Buchanan say that he stood 'with George Bush against the immoral idea that gay and lesbian couples should have the same standing in law as married men and women.' Who is Pat Buchanan to pronounce anyone's love invalid? How can he deny the profound love felt by one human being for another? ... Unfortunately, however, as long as people like Newt Gingrich and Pat Buchanan continue in public life, the fight to codify gay marriages will be a tough battle to win."
I am so touched by this response - a mother proud of her son; so why not a country's government proud of their diverse population?
Why should politicians govern love? And who has the right to deny anyone the chance to love who they choose, man or woman?
This country has come a long way in shaping homosexual rights and the Government has cottoned on to modern Britain and the modern individuals who reside and live their lives here, so let us take one more small step into the realm of change and honour everyone with the right of marriage.
I will end on this, a point I wish to echo: At the end of Sunday morning's Big Questions programme, a senior member of the church in Leicester said "On Wednesday morning, when the bill is passed, we will all wake up and won't notice any difference in the world."
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