Archive for Equal Marriage

Countdown to Equal Marriage

Posted in Biographical, LGBT, Politics with tags , , on March 28, 2014 by telescoper

 

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:

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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…

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Sweet Lorraine

Posted in Jazz, LGBT with tags , , , on November 8, 2013 by telescoper

I bought the album You’re Looking at Me (A Collection of Nat King Cole Songs by Carmen McCrae on vinyl when it came out way back in 1983, and I thought I’d share one of my favourite tracks from it on here. One of the reviews of the album that came out at the time asked why she sang Sweet Lorraine without changing any of the lyrics, presumably because it’s a love song directed at a woman and the critic thought that it didn’t work when sung by another woman. Thirty years on it’s quite possible that there’s a lady somewhere (perhaps even a lady called Carmen) looking forward to marrying her Sweet Lorraine next April when such a marriage will be legal in the United Kingdom!

Equal Marriage!

Posted in Biographical, Politics with tags , on July 15, 2013 by telescoper

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I just heard that the Equal Marriage Bill has now passed its Third Reading in the House of Lords – without a vote – and now just requires the Royal Assent to become the Equal Marriage Act, allowing couples of the same sex the right to marry.

I find this quite an amazing thing. 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 often 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.

It’s probably all come a bit too late for me to get married. I think I’m destined to remain forever an ineligible bachelor,  but I hope at least I’ll get invited to quite a few weddings in the near future. There’s quite a lot of catching up to do…

Equal Marriage Bingo!

Posted in Politics with tags , , on June 3, 2013 by telescoper

If you’re following the debate in the House of Lords on the Second Reading of the Equal Marriage Bill, why not play Equal Marriage Bingo? Just cross off the predictable stock phrases as and when they occur, and you might win yourself a full House (of Lords). Although why you would want one is a mystery…

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courtesy of Stonewall

Janteloven

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 8, 2012 by telescoper

I’ve only got time for a quick post, but I thought it would be nice on this rainy and windswept day to pass on the news that the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) yesterday voted – by a majority of 85:24 – to approve laws allowing same-sex couples to marry.

This vote – and particularly the size of the majority – is yet more evidence that there’s something splendid in the state of Denmark. Danes have a much stronger commitment to real equality than can be found in most countries including, sadly, my own. While our politicians utter meaningless platitudes and offer feeble compromises, the Danes just get on and do the right thing. Can it be a coincidence that Denmark is the happiest country in the world?

I have visited Denmark on many occasions but I’m by no means an expert on Danish culture. I do wonder, therefore, how the progressive social agenda relates to the concept of Janteloven developed in a famous pre-War novel by Aksel Sademose to describe a type of social behaviour Denmark which is, on the one hand, strictly egalitarian but also, on the other, rigidly conformist. This “you’re no better than me” attitude has clearly found its way into many aspects of modern Danish life. I found an interesting blog article about Janteloven, for example, which says:

It stresses cooperation above competition, and it can be a relief from that persistent, capitalistic pressure to always excel, all the time. It requires respect for all, not only for the most “respectable.” It has been rewritten in a much more encouraging tone, as a recipe for teamwork.

On the other hand, one can see that this attitude might easily lead to a fatalistic outlook that stifles creativity and discourages originality and cultural diversity.

So is the success of the equal marriage lobby in Denmark an offshoot of, or a reaction against, Janteloven?

Answers on a postkort, please…