I wasn’t going to write anything about this, but why the heck not? It’s a massive day for many people, a day well worth celebrating. For today is the day when it became legal for same-sex couples to get married in England & Wales (Scotland and Northern Ireland follow soon). Now I spoke about the whole argument in favour and countered many of the arguments against in an article last year, so I’m not going to go into those here – this is neither the time nor the place.
Instead, it’s a time to elaborate how far we have come (and to observe how far we still have to go in many countries, alas).
When I was born (way back in 1966 – goodness where has the time gone?!) homosexuality was illegal (heck, in Scotland from whence I hail, it wasn’t legalised until 1981!); now, during my lifetime, society has changed many times – first to recognise and legalise homosexuality, then to gradually introduce more legal protection and equality, through Civil Partnerships (the Labour government’s bodged kludge) to today, full equality (OK, there are still some inequalities which will need to be ironed out over the coming years, but it’s a very good start) in marriage for same and opposite-sex couples. All in one lifetime. That’s progress!
So yes, as of midnight today, it’s legal for same-sex couples to get married in England and Wales. And several already have, of course – massive congratulations to them (and indeed to anyone and everyone who gets married any time). And, of course, despite UKIP and other buffoons’ claims o the contrary, the UK has not disappeared under the sea nor faced the 4 Horesmen!
There are still those who try to use their religion as a reason to oppose gays getting married but you know what? Demanding a ban on same-sex marriage because your religion says so is like trying to ban someone from eating a donut just because you are on a diet.
If you don’t like same-sex marriage, don’t have one – simple as that!
Of course, there is still a long way to go globally. There are 82 countries where homosexuality is still illegal. Then there’s places like Russia where, whilst legal, it is very dangerous for any LGBT people who are actively hunted, assaulted and killed, often with the blessing of the state and police. And 76 countries where the law makes it very dangerous or even deadly to be gay.
But for now, it’s a day to celebrate!
(Am I entering a same-sex marriage any time soon? Well, if Matt Damon is free…)