If you’ve been following the news this week you’ll know that after much kerfuffle we’re finally a bit more on the road to “equal marriage”. Almost. Sort of. In a bit maybe. Once the Lords have had a chance to wreck it (again). What we’ve witnessed over the last few months has been a negotiation process almost solely involving old, straight, white, rich men who are politicians. The law was drafted by one bunch of total pricks (Cameron & Co.) for the delectation of two further bunches of pricks: backbench Tory MPs and unelected Lords.
Not unsurprisingly what’s emerged is about as far from equality as anyone could possibly come up with. Your rights will now depend not just on your sexuality but on your religion, what community you’re part of, which part of the country you’re from etc. etc. Homophobia as an acceptable belief system will be enshrined in law in order to protect backward members of certain religious communities not from hordes of queers intent on their destruction but from progressive members of their own communities. Serious amounts of flowcharts will be required to accurately capture whether you do in fact have a right to get married, where and to whom. Of course the one thing which could actually DESTROY the sanctity of marriage, civil partnerships, was proposed only by opponents of gay marriage in an attempt to wreck the bill. So even breeders get a raw deal out of this.
The amount of pure BILE we’ve been subjected to is truly odious and a reminder of just what terrible human beings many of those old bastards in Westminster are. I firmly believe David Cameron (who is also a bastard…did I mention that?) thinks gay people should be allowed to get married and probably dislikes those in his own party who oppose this. He is still happy to play games with the lives of LGBT* to appease these fools, just like Labour did before him with the repeal of Section 28. Rather than the war on bigotry which is required in these situations, we’ve had reverence to total fannies. This creates a climate in which dangerous ideas flourish, which can only breed violent homophobia and transphobia. Adults behaving like this can have an incredibly traumatic effect on young LGBT* people and gives fuel to the more active and dangerous homophobes who make our lives difficult.
Before we pop our corks and down the pink champagne we also need to spare a thought for the trans* community who have been sold out yet again. Provisions have now been dropped, which would have allowed married couples who were forced by the state to have their marriages annulled in order to allow one partner to undergo gender alignment, to get their marriages back. Couples will now be forced to get married again if they wish to have the rights they had before the state started interfering in their lives. It’s disgusting that again trans* people are the victims in a trade-off over gay rights. I could just shout at Tories but I have a feeling not all the gay men who were fighting for equal marriage really cared much either.
It’s important to assess what giving oxygen to homophobes and constantly compromising to placate them has actually done (other than create a much worse piece of legislation and make sure gay people get a hard time). The 2nd reading of the Bill saw 400 MPs vote in favour, to 175 against. After all the trade-offs, spin and capitulation the final bigot count was 161. The actual majority was less but that was mainly because some MPs just skipped the vote. Why did we act like this was some massive political turmoil? Nothing Cameron will do will ever be this popular again. Feeding gay people alive to the gods would not have made most of these terrible MPs suddenly support gay rights. If he’d fought harder for it then maybe he’d get some respect. In the end we have more bad law made by spineless politicians.
I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that as an older, more battle hardy and relatively privileged member of the Homo Army, I can’t help finding some of the nonsense we’ve been subjected to very, very funny. I feel we should pause and giggle at some confused Tories just for a bit. There is the familiar turf of insisting that respecting human rights would clearly lead to a situation in which anyone could marry anyone with inevitably terrible consequences. Norman Tebitt offered us,
Why shouldn’t a mother marry her daughter? Why shouldn’t two elderly sisters living together marry each other? I quite fancy my brother!
Of course he couldn’t resist linking this to the other great liberal conspiracy – abolishing the law of succession. Allowing gay people to get married + allowing the first daughter of the monarch to be queen can only lead to one outcome – the artificially inseminated spawn of lesbian queens running Britain.
When we have a queen who is a lesbian and she marries another lady and then decides she would like to have a child and someone donates sperm and she gives birth to a child, is that child heir to the throne?
If this is what happens I think that may be enough to make me throw the towel in on decades of turgid republicanism and belief in independence. I may go and join Norman (and his brother, who’s hopefully as much of a hottie as he is) over on the Tory side.
Since we first raised our queer heads there has been constant fear that extension of rights can only lead to more, as yet unspecified, STUFF (which is probably bad). Shockingly, ancient MPs are never quite sure what this stuff is. Since homosexuality was decriminalised in 1967 they have been warning of this slippery slope to who-knows-where. Continuing this trend last week, Gerald Howarth MP declared,
there are plenty in the aggressive homosexual community who see this as but a stepping stone to…
Since 1967 we have witnessed dire consequences like LGBT* people being allowed to go to the shops and not get jumped, hold down jobs and not be driven out, and pump each other without getting arrested. Parents have not married their children, birds have not married horses, the sky has not fallen in.
Much as I love Tory bashing, I feel I also have a responsibility to call out those a little closer to home. The far-left has a consistent history of being shit to gay people which it has dressed up in various guises over the years. It used to just being saying we were a “deviation” like everyone else did. Now it’s much more subtle. If you’re using what’s happened with the equal marriage bill as evidence that the homos were definitely wrong to want to buy into the bourgeois, patriarchal hierarchy that is marriage then you can also squarely fuck off. Those on the left who’ve suddenly decided now is a great time to talk about how much they oppose marriage should have a word with their smug selves. I’m personally against getting married for many reasons which are none of anyone’s business. I do not however post an essay about it when I see pictures of my pals tying the knot on Facebook because I’m not that much of an arsehole. I also don’t recall anyone saying they were opposed to mixed-race marriage because marriage is just wrong. Those of us who understand what it’s like to have the basis of your love consistently delegitimised also understand why people may be glad of some legitimacy at last.
There’s also the not insignificant turmoil we constantly seem to cause in once unshakable institutions (Tory Party, Church of England, Catholic Church) every time we even get a wee menshie. Watching them ripping each other to pieces because other people are happy is surely a sight anyone who wants a better society should be lapping up. Eventually, these organisations will either get there or be DESTROYED. While I’d like to dwell on the latter possibility, the fact that even the Church of Scotland is finally coming around to the idea of gay ministers suggests otherwise. In the end the actual politics of a society in which LGBT* people are empowered will mean homophobes will be forced to shut up and get on with it.
The “lefty” wranglers share a common feature with their Tory chums, in that they both believe that them being right is more important than other people having rights. Those who mock the extension of rights on the basis of their imperfection can only do so from a position of strength. The reality that the weak may not wish to be fed scraps from the table, but will still have to eat them, is always lost on the ideologues. Manarchists and liberals, who hide behind thoroughly unradical strands of “feminism,” to attack gay marriage should learn when to shut up.
We shouldn’t be saying this change in the law – however imperfect – doesn’t matter, because it does. Thousands of people will have a right to choose to get married. I also believe that equality must mean gay people have an equal right to be wrong about marriage, a right currently reserved for straight people. If they want to be miserable then let them. It’s not my job to tell anyone they have to be full time radical warriors against patriarchy and social injustice because they happen to kiss boys/girls/both. The demand for perfection is bad enough when we impose it on ourselves or other gay people. It’s just wrong for straight people to demand that gay people be somehow “better” and live some self-sacrificing existence for someone else’s benefit. It’s also been a wake up call for me to see just how little people realise (care?) how important this is to some gay families.
People like myself have a right we’ve never had before either. The right to say we don’t want to get married instead of just not being allowed to. This is not a moot point for the LGBT* community because it actually gives us the right to reject marriage on our terms and join the aforementioned smug brigade. I couldn’t really give a shit how other people structure their love lives so I’ll not be rushing over to the grumpy corner any time soon.
Did I mention none of this applies to Scotland? I could lecture you about tell-tale signs of the decay of British politics, the obsession with an essentially far-right minority in Westminster and the possibilities for a new Scotland. I’ve been enjoying just listing different people I dislike and telling them to fuck off far too much for all that. But… Alex Salmond would do well to take note and realise there is little to be gained by watering down equal marriage legislation when it finally comes to Holyrood to placate a few tossers on his own benches.
And he would do well to heed the words of Gerald Howarth. Until we get meaningful change in our society, the aggressive homosexual community will keep coming back. We know real equality needs to be fought for every day of our lives and not just through legislation because we’re already doing that. But when the law needs to just be adjusted will be back with our central demand – something even further. Every time we will fight for and win it. It’s the dinosaurs who are dying out whilst the gays just keep on gaying. Look at the demographics of homophobia vs. being a massive queer if you don’t believe me. Our politicians just need to get on the right side of history or get out the way.