Even though I'm in Scotland, a lot of my queer friends are American, so I hear about the American news, things like prop 8 and all the battles for equality that are going on, and it's got me thinking about marriage.
In Scotland (I think the same applies to the rest of the UK but I'm not 100%), to get married, you have two choices. If your birth certificates states one person is male and the other is female, you can get the traditional marriage certificate (this includes transpeople who have amended their birth certificate). However, if you are a gay or lesbian couple, or if you're trans but have not yet amended your birth certificate, you cannot take this route. You can however opt for a civil partnership, which gives couples many of the same rights as a traditionally married couple. If you want to read a bit more, the government's website is pretty good. Something to note, civil partnerships are not open to male/female couples.
So we effectively have legal gay marriage here. And surprise surprise, the moral fabric of the nation has not be torn assunder by baby weilding lesbians or predatory gay men. Nobody's taken away the rights or freedoms of all the nice heterosexual couples. Nothing much has changed other than alot of LGBT people have been made very happy.
So I don't get what the problem is America? Why is it so important to restrict the rights of so many people in your country? What harm would it do to let two gay people who are in love get married? I see the church here always trying to fight these things. Trying to stop the advancement of gay and trans rights. They view it as some kind of attack on the family, on marriage, on the church, when it's anything but. We're not interested in attacking your way of life, so please stop attacking ours.
A number of years ago, there was Section 28, it was all about an amendment in the law which had prevented local authorities (like the American state system but on a smaller scale) from 'promoting' a homosexual lifestyle, the quote reads:
The amendment stated that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship".I remember at the time this was happening, some of the mail my dad had received as a minister, from the various christian groups he was a member of. I could not believe some of the stuff I read. It made my blood boil. They would view this as an attack on the church, they wanted to repress education and enforce ignorance. At the time I ID'd as gay, and I remember saying to friends at the time, when I was in school, I knew nothing of homosexuality. It was not taught to us, it was never discussed. I found out there was such a thing as being gay because a neighbour's older child told us. My parent's certinally wouldn't have told us. So where did that leave me? In school, being called a lezzy, or a dyke or a poof or any other derogatory gay name was an insult. We were not educated that being gay happens, and it's not a bad thing.
When I look at things now, 15 years on, how much it has changed, how different people's attitudes towards homosexuality are, I'm amazed. Would I have had the horrific years of bullying and abuse that I did if this law wasn't in place? Maybe.
Another thing that springs to mind from my time reading those letters was that there was to be a change in the law, preventing someone being discriminated against because of their sexuality. Now this particular change meant that the church, on finding that a member of their congregation was homosexual, could not remove that person from the church based on their sexuality alone. Is that not incredible? They were fighting to retain the right to kick the gays out of their church at will. What happened to the true meaning of christianity? When was that forgotten?
This is a big conflict I have with the church. I am a christian, I have my faith, I have my beliefs but my church doesn't always agree with me. I've yet to witness their views on transsexuals.
I don't know where I'm going with this, it's just a load of thoughts that have been swirling around up there.
On a side note, I've met someone. I'm not saying too much just now, I'm keeping this one under wraps for the moment, I'll end with this point though, my jaw muscles are getting sore from all this smiling...