Saturday, November 28, 2009

Scottish Parliament Committee to consider Equal Marriage Petition

When my husband and I met and fell in love 22 years ago, there was little doubt that we would eventually get married. It actually happened a lot sooner than we thought, just over a year later, and the only barrier that ever really got in the way of us establishing that legal and social partnership was my mother losing her lip gloss and me nearly being late for the ceremony. Thankfully, it miraculously appeared, order, and lip shine were restored and Bob and I were able to plight our troth.

Actually, thinking about it, it took an age to sort out the legal practicalities due to my sister-in-law having a very long and complicated Italian address, but we got there in the end.

These wee hiccoughs, though, are nothing. If, however, I'd fallen in love with a woman, life would have been very different. There would simply have been no way for us to join and share our lives legally. I was horrified by experiences of friends who found that at times of crisis, such as death or illness, it was the family of their partner who had all the legal rights and made all the decisions. If they didn't approve of the relationship, they could simply exclude the person who shared their relative's life and there was nothing that the partner could do about it legally. How cruel and unjust is that?

If you read this blog regularly, you may have noticed the Equal Marriage button on my sidebar which is there to show my support for the idea that same sex couples should be allowed to enjoy exactly the same for of marriage as I am. To me it's a simple question of equality. I don't get a law which allows Bob and Caron to marry but not Iain and Stephen.

Civil partnerships were, I think, a step forward in at least they gave same sex couples a way of conferring similar rights to marriage on each other to ensure that they were able to be treated as next of kin, but why should their union be segregated and called something different? Love is universal, why shouldn't marriage be?

I was very moved by this speech given at Edinburgh Pride earlier this year by the Provost of St Mary's Catherdral, Kelvin Holdsworth, a great advocate for marriage equality.

For some months now, the Scottish Parliament Petitions Committee has been considering a petition for equal marriage filed by Nick Henderson. They've spent the last 8 months collecting information from various people and it comes up before them again on Tuesday.

If you feel strongly that all should have the freedom to marry the person they fall in love with, do contact the members of the Petitions Committee to let them know your views. Their contact details can be found at OUTfrontUK, here.

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