I would like to stop and pause for a second, on something wonderful that has recently happened stateside. I do not think it has had the massive hullabaloo it deserved, so I’d like to raise a metaphorical rainbow flag and stamp my feet in celebration.
In the November elections,state voters for the first time approved same-sex marriage by popular vote, in Maine, Maryland, and Washington.
They joined Connecticut, Iowa,Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont,as well as the District of Columbia, and 2 Native American tribes, to legalize same sex marriage.
December 9th was the first day same-sex marriages could take place in Washington, and Maryland and Maine will follow suit in early January. And at midnight, same sex couples were able to stand up, in front of friends and family, and say to their partner, with the full backing of the law, I love you. I want to be with you. You’re mine and I’m yours.
LGBT history and the fight for equal rights has been going on for a very long time. The United States only allowed a national-wide legal status of same sex activity in 2003! Less than 10 years later, 9 states have legalised same sex marriage. It’s incredible isn’t it? That because of the way you chose to love, some people will say it’s wrong. Some people will say it’s not right and not “proper”. To that I say: Bollocks!
Imagine, if you will, that it wasn’t a matter of sexuality. Imagine it was something slightly simpler…more polarised…imagine if your rights to marry depended on something like Marmite. If all the Marmite lovers in the world were allowed to marry, and all the Marmite haters were not. Can you imagine the conversations over dinner:
” Mum, Dad, I’ve got something to tell you. I love John, and we’re moving in together!”
“Oh David, that’s wonderful!”
“And I hate Marmite!”
“What?! How could you do this to us?? We wanted you to adopt! We wanted grandchildren! You’ll never be allowed to marry!”
Here’s some USA LGBT statistics to think about:
1970 – First LGBT Pride Parade held in New York
2000 – Vermont became the first state to recognise civil unions.
2003 – Repeal of Sodomy Laws – USA
2011 – Same sex marriage laws passed and comes into effect in New York
As of 2012, 9 states have legalised same sex marriages…9, out of 50.
Now, I’ve got gay friends, lesbian friends, bi-sexual friends, and straight friends. Through colleagues and work, I’ve met the entire LGBT spectrum, couples, singles, of every race, age, colour, and shape imaginable. Living in today’s world is hard. Having to come out, or live a different lifestyle to the norm, even with today’s slightly more enlightened culture, takes a courage I cannot even begin to understand. It’s hard enough being single, so I try to cheer whenever a friend finds someone they can connect with. It comes down to personal choice at the end of the day, and I really can’t understand how love, any kind of love, can be hated, feared or persecuted by anyone.
I will always think that finding someone is hard enough, and when we do, we should celebrate it! Maybe that’s why what’s happening in America is such a big deal. Those couples have been given rights that they should have automatically…they can now love, and marry who they choose, without worrying about what will happen long term, or if one of them passes away. They have the full back backing of the law, and for the first time, they are being treated as equals of heterosexual couples who want to marry. But again, we’re only up to 9 states…out of 50.
You may think this is a small step, and you’d be right. Universal rights should be universal. No question, no excuses, no room for small minded bigots, bullies, or prejudice. But, I will quote a man I saw do a guest lecture, several years ago. Our opinions on politics may have differed, but his attitude towards solving the problems of the world was inspirational:
“If all I have ever achieved, is to improve the world by an inch, then it is one inch better”.
Even if we move an inch at a time towards equality, no matter who you love, or who you sleep with, surely that’s worth some patience?