Same Sex Marriage in England and Wales

The debate in the House of Commons was predictable and as suspected, the traditional wing of the Parliamentary Tory Party revolted. Despite the bluster from the Colonel Blimp types, the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill passed its second reading with flying colours – by 400 votes to 175. I call that a comfortable majority. The Bill now passes to the Upper House and will no doubt get roughed up by a cohort of unelected geriatric reactionaries and dusty old farts in cassocks. I never thought I’d ever say this, but I applaud David Cameron’s bravery in facing down the rebellion. He’s trying to drag the Nasty Party into the 21st Century. He needs all the help he can get. Too many Tories are still living in the 19th Century, a time of gunboat diplomacy, child labour and rotten boroughs. They’re a dying breed and the society of inequality they cherish is dying with them. The grey men in the shires may be sharpening their knives but I suspect that Mr Cameron is safe for now. The coalition of political convenience will limp on to the next General Election. They will lose spectacularly and Mr Cameron will find himself cast out of Number Ten on his old Etonian arse (with a few daggers in his back). Don’t worry, David, a fat job in the City is assured.

On the day, the vote was all over the News. But the hacks and the pundits focused on the split in the Tory ranks rather than the issue of marriage equality itself. The canny media know that in the real world, it’s a bit of a non-issue, particularly among those under 40. By the very next day, the Press had moved on to greener pastures – another depressing scandal about NHS failure. Now that’s something that really matters. The marriage equality law will eventually pass (and I hope we pip the French at the post) and when the dust has settled, reasonable people will wonder what all the fuss was about.

Gay+marriage+world+map

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Ten Reasons to Ban Gay Marriage

The airwaves are full of noise about the Government’s proposals to permit same-sex marriage here in old Blighty. Whereas the original intention was to legalise civil marriage only, the Cameroons are now speaking as one voice about allowing those religious institutions that wish to conduct religious ceremonies to do so. I suspected this would happen. The original proposal was discriminatory and could easily have been challenged in the courts. Religious marriage is not for us, but for those that want it, fair enough. A church wedding can be a high-camp affair. Think period costumes, flying buttresses, dreaming spires, gold finery and swaying incense, the full production number. Come to think of it, the promise of a gay gig at the Abbey might well swing it for me.

It’s been made crystal clear that no priest, imam or rabbi will be legally obliged to do anything against their beliefs. Nevertheless, some of the dusty old men in frocks and dodgy hats are spitting fire and brimstone from the pulpits (mostly to an empty crowd) and a cabal of reactionary old Tories is talking about the end of civilisation as we know it. Now, civilisation as we know it is threatened by all sorts of things (environmental meltdown, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, a chronically unstable Middle East, etcetera, etcetera) but giving people the right to get hitched to the person they love isn’t one of them. The ever-sensible Canucks introduced same-sex marriage in 2005 and last time I checked, the lights were still on in Canada. Just ignore the silly nonsense and get on with it, I say. Then perhaps, the Government can turn its full attention to things that really matter to everyone – jobs, education, health, proper help for those who need it and sorting out the dismal state of the British economy.

On a  lighter note, the splendid Bitten by Spain sent me this satirical piece. It appeals to my sense of low wit and sarcasm. It has a Yankee bent but a universal message.

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Same Sex Marriage in the UK

Obama Endorses Gay Marriage

Whether we like it or not, what the President of the United States says matters and resonates across the globe. After sitting on the fence for years and dipping his toes in the water to test the electoral temperature, President Obama has finally come out in support of marriage equality. In an interview with ABC News, the President said:

“I’ve just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.”

It’s a simple but powerful statement. Despite self-righteous firebrands flooding the airwaves with their messages of hell and damnation, and battalions of bigots storm-trooping shopping malls, support for marriage equality across America has been steadily rising for years. According to some recent polls, it now exceeds 50%. The President will have followed the polls very carefully. It’s an election year after all. Did President Obama nail his colours to the mast at this delicate stage of the (very) long American election cycle in a cynical attempt to garner extra liberal votes? Perhaps, but what’s said cannot be unsaid.

In Blighty, expect the Government to back-paddle furiously on the proposal to legalise civil marriage for same sex couples in the ridiculous belief that it contributed to their disastrous showing in recent local elections. Sure, this will have lost them a few votes among the (electorally insignificant) religious right and blue-rinse brigade. Let’s get real. To quote Bill Clinton’s famous line, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

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Home Office Consultation on Marriage Equality

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Home Office Consultation on Marriage Equality

I’ve just responded to the British Home Office consultation on same sex marriage. As I understand it, the original proposal was to make us all equal under the Law by allowing same sex secular marriage (replacing and/or supplementing civil partnerships) and to enable those religious organisations that wished to conduct a religious ceremony for same sex couples to do so. The Quakers really wanted their oats on this one: our Friends were at the forefront of agitating for reform. They will be disappointed; a collective ‘tut, tut’ will echo around the polite meeting houses of Blighty. Why? Because the proposed statute will introduce civil marriage equality but will also enshrine in law the notion that religious marriage is between a man and a woman only. Presumably, this typically British fudge is a concession to the meddlesome priests who think they have the divine right to call the shots. This is absurd. Where’s Henry the Eighth when you need him? Either there is marriage equality or there isn’t. A religious ceremony isn’t right for me but to deny it to the religious isn’t right either.

If there is to be a two-tier marriage system can we also have a two-tier tax system where I pay less for fewer rights? A kind of citizen-rights lite.

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Same Sex Marriage in the UK

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Goodbye to the Turkish Living Forum

nooseThe Turkish Living Forum has been hijacked by religious nutters and right wing bigots. I won’t be returning. And neither will many others judging by the private messages I’ve received. The tiresome exchange (well, mostly a fascist rant from the usual suspects) on UK marriage equality was allowed to shout on for three days. I’m not talking about people who oppose same sex marriage. That’s a difference of opinion, a legitimate example of free speech which I cherish. I’m referring to those who seem obsessed with man-on-man genital acts (always suspicious) as if being gay is all about sodomy (er, it isn’t) and those who were allowed to call for the extermination of gay people (Jawohl, mein Führer). Is this what the forum has been reduced to? Are the owners just in it for the hate money?

This offending comment was eventually removed by the moderators and the thread was then closed. Too little, too late, I’m afraid. The moderators were caught sleeping on the job. I will be watching from afar and if this hate campaign is allowed to continue, I will report it to the British Police as inciting hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, a criminal offence in England and Wales since March 2010. Political correctness gone too far? Tough. You reap what you sow.

There are other forums to join such as Turkey Central where the discussion is more measured and actually about Turkish living.

Same Sex Marriage in the UK

Scratch the surface and stupidity lies beneath. The lunatics have taken over the asylum at the Turkish Living Forum. What is the subject that’s got the bigots crawling from underneath their stones? Why gay marriage of course. All this tedious religious claptrap from tossers who take their bible like they take their software – jump to the bottom and tick the ‘I accept’ box. They are in good company – kiddie fiddling priests, the British National Party and religious fundamentalists who talk in tongues and still murder witches. Where are the forum moderators? Running for cover and hiding behind some corrupt notion of free speech.

Personally, I have no wish to get married in church. Unlike the hettie hypocrites who keep the chapel tills ringing with their white weddings and solemn vows that only half will keep, I won’t pretend to be religious. No priest is going to make a phoney out of me. Liam and I have a Civil Partnership. That’ll do us for now. However, I would never deny the right of others to marry whoever they choose. It’s an equalities thing.

Let’s keep a sense of proportion. The proposed law in Blighty will simply give those religious organisations (the Quakers, primarily) that want to perform a marriage ceremony for same sex couples the freedom to do so. So really, what is all the fuss about? The bigots are fighting a losing battle. Don’t want to treat me as equal? Then don’t take my taxes. The days of second-class citizenship are over. Almost.

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Marriage Equality in Argentina

Argentina, the land of silver and the smouldering tango, has come a long way since the dark days of deified bottle-blonds, military juntas and bankruptcy (wasn’t Madonna shocking in Evita?). The country is a rising star, economically and socially. Progressive liberalism has taken root and social attitudes are being transformed. Argentina was the first country in South America to adopt full marriage equality for lesbian and gay people.

The equalities campaign was boosted by a clever and slick video campaign with a simple message of fairness. A sterling effort all round. Maybe Buenos Aries should be the next stop on our pansy trail? A breath of fresh air.

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Perking the Pansies – Jack and Liam move to Turkey