Tag Archives: same-sex marriage

46 years after Stonewall

On the last Saturday night of June, 46 years ago, white New York police raided a queer bar in the Village, called the Stonewall inn, and the intended victims – black and Hispanic, trans and genderqueer – fought back.

That night and the name of the bar became a gay icon: not just the US, but around the world.

In 1969, in England and Wales, sex between two men in private if both were over 21 had been decriminalised. Police harassment had stepped up: the police now believed they had been given specific limits on where and who they could harass for being gay.

LGBT people would not be allowed to serve openly in the UK armed services until 1999: until 2003, it was completely legal for an employer to fire an employee for our sexual orientation. Last year the ban on same-sex marriage was lifted in Scotland: this year Ireland became the first country in the world to declare marriage equality by majority vote in a national referendum: Northern Ireland is the standout anti-gay land in the British Isles, but perhaps not for too much longer. (Although the Supreme Court decision overshadowed it, yesterday a Belfast high court judge granted judicial review to couples who wanted to be able to convert their civil partnership to a marriage.)

On the last Friday in June, yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that nowhere in the US can same-sex couples be banned from marriage.
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Tolerance and politics

There were two big arguments going on in non-party-political politics the past two years: lifting the ban on same-sex marriage (England and Wales, 29th March: Scotland, sometime this autumn after the Commonwealth Games and this other thing: Northern Ireland as soon as they lose the court case).

Scotland: the 17th Country in the world to lift the ban on same-sex marriageMaking it legal for same-sex couples to marry, matters hugely to people in same-sex relationships, obviously, but to everyone else aside from a small number of seriously homophobic fanatics, it’s no big deal: two-thirds of the population of Scotland agreed that gay marriage should be made legal in a 2012 poll.

This other thing that is happening in Scottish politics: the referendum. In the US, where they have referendums whenever they can get enough voters to sign off on one, they went through a phase of holding referenda in which voters were invited to agree that “marriage is between a man and a woman”, which was then held to mean that marriage between a man and a man, or a man and a woman, was unlawful. In the UK we referend much more rarely, and only – so cynics say – when the government thinks they can get the public to vote the way they want.
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Filed under Currency, LGBT Equality, Scottish Politics

Because it’s my choice

Over two years ago, I wrote a blogpost outlining why I thought those who were opposed to same-sex marriage were also opposed to safe legal abortion. (Human Rights: Abortion and gay marriage).

In 2004, the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE) won the general election and had as a manifesto commitment, lifting the ban on same-sex marriage in Spain. In 2005, Spain became the third country in the world in which same-sex couples can marry. In 2011, the right-wing Partido Popular (PP) won a majority, and had in their manifesto commitments to roll back access to safe legal abortion, and to have the Constitutional Court consider re-imposing a ban on same-sex marriage.

Courts and judges, upholders of law and order, have in general proved to be supporters of keeping marriage legal, because unmaking lawful marriages is disorderly, and to the judicial mind, disorderliness in marriage law is anathema. In 2012, so it proved in Spain: rather than fall into the unutterable confusion of declaring that seven years of marriages would no longer be recognised, the 2005 law was upheld.
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Filed under Healthcare, Human Rights, LGBT Equality, Women

Humanist weddings

Atheism: A Non-Prophet OrganisationAlthough I am an atheist, I’ve never ticked the humanist box. I am an atheist because there is no god: humanists seem to want to reify that into a belief.

I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t understand people who do. What matters is not what you believe in, but how you behave towards yourself, other people, and the world in consequence of your beliefs.

Humanist weddings, on the other hand, I completely see the point of. Wanting ceremony and ritual to mark the important moments in your life is a natural human process. Civil registrars provide a ceremony if you want it, of course – within very specific bounds set by the fact that a civil registrar is a civil servant, paid to provide the legal process of marriage, and the small fee paid for a registry office marriage is not intended to allow for any very elaborate ceremony.

If you’re not religious, and many people aren’t (“no religion” was one of the largest categories in Scotland in the 2001 census, so large that the Churches lobbied to have that question removed from the 2011 census) then it’s useful to be able to have a ceremony to mark your marriage that isn’t restricted to a civil registrar’s obligations and that isn’t tied to a God of some description.
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Links round-up for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

The Unfinished Lives Project is a place of public discourse which remembers and honors LGBTQ hate crime victims, while also revealing the reality of unseen violence perpetrated against people whose only “offense” is their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender presentation.

Lady Justice and the Rainbow Flag

The ongoing story of Archbishop Cranmer versus Advertising Standards Authority. This is turning out quite fun. *popcorn*

In the real world: the Advertising Standards Authority have finally ruled that the Paddy Power “Ladies Day” advert breached their codes. Continue reading

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Visiting the sick on Sunday less Christian than the profits

Brian Souter – sorry, Sir Brian Souter – is a multi-millionaire. He’s made his money all sorts of ways, including sweating it out of his passengers, but thanks to the excellent services of LRT, he’s never been able to get much of a foothold in Edinburgh. Wherever the Stagecoach transport network runs, the public who depend on his buses find themselves at the mercy of a profiteer millionaire’s drive to get the last drop of profit: Souter isn’t running a public service – he’s paying himself millions. (Sir Brian was knighted for “services to transport”, but as the Honours committee doesn’t respond to FOI requests, we have no notion what that might mean: it certainly has no connection to Stagecoach.)

Brian Souter makes some of his comfortable millions out of public subsidies to transport. Due to the cuts, Fife Council had to withdraw a public subsidy to bus services run by Brian Souter. Souter, having just awarded himself over £50M, was not minded to himself subsidise an unprofitable bus service, so Stagecoach promptly withdrew it. Grace Craigie, vice chair of Crossgates and Mossgreen Community Council, voices the objections of the community:

to the loss of a vital bus service, namely the Nos. 15 and 30, due to the recent re-scheduling of local transport in our area which took place without any local consultation. This we understand is because of the withdrawal by Fife Council of its transport subsidies.

This now leaves the residents, not only of Crossgates but also Halbeath, Hill of Beath as well as parts of Cowdenbeath, without any direct transport on a Sunday to both Queen Margaret and Victoria hospitals, which means at least two buses in each direction.

“Not very suitable for those who are elderly, disabled and others who have no car, especially in the coming winter months. This also incurs extra travelling costs for them.

So anyone who wants to visit a friend or a relative in hospital on Sunday, who’s dependent on buses to get there – no car, can’t afford a taxi – will just not be able to go.

That’s the “sort of society” Brian Souter wants to live in: where someone in hospital on Sunday won’t be able to see a friendly face.

Souter, of course, doesn’t regard I was sick, and ye visited me as one of the “Christian values” – apparently the Nazarene church in Perth he attends doesn’t do Matthew 25:36.

These are Brian Souter’s “Christian” values; this is the “sort of society” he wants to live in:

“We are arguing here about what kind of society we want to live in,” he said (The Courier, 19 September 2011). “Are we going to be in a Babylonian-Greek type of society, where sex is primarily a recreational activity, or are we going to stick with the Judeo-Christian tradition, where procreation is something that we want to put within a marriage context?”

Visiting the sick? Helping the poor? Phooey. Christian values, by Sir Brian Souter, knighted for services to transport, are epitomised by making sure same-sex couples can’t get married. Because hatred and wealth are what Christianity is all about.

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