Countdown to Equal Marriage

 

So, from midnight tonight, same-sex couples have the right to marry in England & Wales. Not surprisingly, one of the first gay weddings in the UK will be in Brighton: Andrew Wale and Neil Allard (below) will marry just a few minutes after midnight:

Neil-Allard-left-and-Andrew-Wale-3155478

Nice beards! I’d like to take this opportunity to send my very best wishes to Andrew and Neil and indeed to everyone (straight or gay) taking the plunge this weekend.

I find the fact that this has become reality absolutely amazing. When I came to the University of Sussex as a graduate student in 1985, Brighton was one of the most gay-friendly cities in the UK, if not the world. However, the veneer of tolerance was really very thin. Homophobic prejudice was still commonplace, and it was by no means uncommon for that to turn into violence, as I know to my own cost. The Local Government Act of 1988 included Section 28, which enshrined anti-gay attitudes in law. I would never have imagined at that time that, just 25 years later, a law would be passed allowing people of the same sex to marry. It still seems barely comprehensible that attitudes can have changed so much in the second half of my lifetime. Equality in marriage doesn’t mean equality in everything, of course, and prejudice obviously hasn’t vanished entirely, but it’s a start.

And what’s this tripe about same-sex marriage “threatening” of “devaluing” traditional marriage? Is the function of marriage simply to make married people feel superior to those who aren’t allowed to be married? That’s what that argument sounds like to me. If that’s what it’s for I think the state should withdraw legal recognition from all forms of marriage and let us all be treated equally by the law, as individuals.

For those who don’t approve of the change in the law, it’s all actually very simple. If you don’t approve of same-sex marriage, don’t marry someone of the same sex.

It’s all come a bit too late for me to get married. I think I’m destined to remain forever an ineligible bachelor. I will however be spending this weekend wandering around Brighton randomly asking men if they’ll marry me. This isn’t because of the change in the law. It’s what I do anyway…

I hope at least I’ll get invited to quite a few weddings in the near future. I think there’s going to be quite a lot of catching up going on…

11 Responses to “Countdown to Equal Marriage”

  1. Marriage to me is an attempt to create a healthy environment to bring up well balanced children for the future. Marriage to others may simply be for companionship. It can also mean a disaster and stifle people who prefer more personal space. I totally agree – we should all be treated equally by law as individuals and be given choice.

  2. It seems the institution of marriage would be much stronger if you were allowed to marry the one you love. I fail to see the threat.

  3. Adrian Burd Says:

    We’re gradually moving towards sanity over here as well, though there are a few hold-outs. So I’m pleased and heartened to see similar moves back on that side of the pond.

    As for getting married, there’s still plenty of time. I got married to a fantastic and wonderful woman only two years ago, and that’s after cough…cough…splutter…splutter long years of being single, almost all of it spent outside of any relationship.

  4. Seventeen years ago, a good friend of mine made me the first person he ever told that he was gay. He was utterly terrified and he very nearly fainted while telling me. In two weeks, I’ll be a guest at his wedding.

    I’d like to add my congratulations to anyone reading this who can now enjoy what are clearly basic human rights. And I share Craig Ferguson’s hope for the future:

    “Soon, we may live in a world where the only people opposed to gay marriage will be gay people who are married.”

  5. Note really relevant to this post per se, but you might be interested in some new Finnish stamps: watercolors, bridges, everyday life, Christmas, and homoerotic art.

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