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It's now legal, it can now happen.

We haven't planned on a date to do it - we were tempted to make sure we got in asap, but it felt like jinxing it - like if we made plans then we were just asking the powers that be to knock us back. Planning seemed too hopeful and I'm leery of hope

But it's here, the law has changed, it is in reach and we have so many decisions to make - on when and exactly what we will do to commemorate this - whether to go full on ceremony (and if so, does that remove the ceremony we had? Do we have two? Which one should we count for any kind of officialdom? All these little questions and poking we have to work through caused by the confusion of the broken laws)

The law has change and it's going to happen - and I don't think that will sink in until I have the paperwork in hand.
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 Looks like we need another refresher on Freedom of Speech and what that means


Brendan Eich, the now-former CEO of Mozilla has donated a considerable sum of money to a campaign to deny LGBT people equality. He is a homophobic bigot. Mozilla decided being a homophobic bigot is the perfect person to head their company when they appointed him CEO – it was a bigoted decision that proved Mozilla did not value LGBT people.


LGBT people and people who aren’t raging bigots and apologists for bigots responded with fierce criticism, blog posts, social media campaigns and, yes, OKCupid joined the campaign (they did not block firefox – they DID have a page that said, basically, “hey we’d prefer you use a browser that doesn’t support raging bigotry” which did have a clickthrough if you really did want to continue with firefox.


Brendan Eich stepped down.


Would people have been happy with less? Honestly, I wouldn’t have been – and I still look leerily at some of the man’s apologists in Mozilla as well. But Eich didn’t even try. Mozilla threw around policy statements – which addressed nothing. They were so poor that they released several to try and patch the gaping holes – but never addressed the fact they’d chosen a bigot to lead them


Eich himself made vague statements – but adamantly refused to address his donation to a hate campaign. More, he wouldn’t rule out doing the same again, even when expressly asked. Eich is a homophobic bigot who has campaigned against the equality of LGBT people – and plans to continue to do so. Yet he expected LGBT people to have faith in him for the future.

This wasn’t even LGBT people refusing to accept an apology (which we wouldn’tbeen obliged to do) or trusting him to learn and do better – because he didn’t make an apology, made no indication that he had learned and adamantly ruled out not doing the same thing all over again.


And let us be clear here – LGBT people did not sack Brandon Eich. We do not have that power. We did not ban him under law – we do not have that power. We did not destroy his code or his company or have his website banned – none of these we can do. No-one physically attacked him. No-one put a gun to his head.


We spoke.


We spoke against a man who would spend money to deny our humanity. We spoke against a man who wished to deny us equality and treat us as lesser citizens. We spoke against a man who refused to even rule out doing the same thing again. We spoke against a company – a company that even prides itself on its principles - that decided such a man was ideal to be their leader and figurehead. We chose not to use the products of that company. We chose not to associate with a man or a company


Why is his “freedom of speech” which, by the American interpretation, also includes copious amounts of money to fund denial of our rights – so damn precious that OUR freedom of speech must be silence – or be considered “out of line” or “going too far.”


Why is his speech perfectly reasonable but ours is a “lynch mob”?


What do you expect us to do? Do you think we have some kind of duty to shop at Chick-fil-a, use Firefox or read Orson Scott Card? Lest our refusal to associate with a bigot somehow “oppress” you? At what point are we ALLOWED to speak up against bigotry? When do we get to defend outselves, oh straight people, do tell?


Why are LGBT people – all marginalised people – presented as being vicious, angry and oppressive because we won’t lay down silently and let privileged people oppress us?


Brendan Eich is not a victim. Brendan Eich was the man trying to victimise LGBT people – and clearly planning to do so again in the future. LGBT people chose not to lay down and take it, LGBT people fought against being victimised, LGBT people refused to smile in the face of yet another straight, cis person hitting us.


All you people squealing about how so-very-mean we’ve been to this bigot? You are like the men who hold some poor guys arms so someone else can punch him. Eich is the one who attacked us – we’re defending ourselves. It’s your choice whether you stand aside, help protect us – or try to hold our arms so we’re defenceless. 

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 The president of Uganda has signed the brutal and truly evil homophobic bill which strengthens the anti-gay genocide in his country. It is deeply wounding to see that there are so many people and so many places that want nothing more than for GBLT people to be completely eradicated from the planet; we have a long way to go until our very right to exist is universally accepted.

 We need to keep fighting and campaigning, of course, though I doubt any of the rhetoric will be backed with any kind of action – if Sochi tells us anything, it’s how little the cishet world really cares about GBLT bodies – but we keep fighting because it’s all we can do.

 Of course, I’ve said “genocide” which usually has someone bustling in to tell me how very wrong I am to use that word. Do not – this is genocide beyond any doubt.

 In fact, let’s look at the convention’s definition of genocide:


In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:


(a) Killing members of the group; 
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; 
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; 
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; 
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.


So yes, countries that executed people for being gay are committing genocide.

 Countries that flog, torture, starve, electrocute, force emetics on us, or otherwise brutalise us (and that definitely includes “conversion” therapy) most certainly fit under B

 So are countries that imprison people for being gay – not even long sentences since you can’t STOP being gay so you are an inherent “repeat offender”. They are definitely filling C on that list and, frankly, are fulfilling A in all but loopholes. In fact, life imprisonment for existing is hitting on B as well

 Countries that break up our families and take our children (including but certainly not limited to that vile new law Russia is proposing) are definitely going for E. And we’ve got to mention the forced sterilisation that more than nods at D.

 These are just the blatant ones – and my gods there’s a lot of blatant examples for these alone. But the reality on the ground has a whole lot more genocide - creating a climate where mere mention of us is a sinful or obscene – or even a crime? That’s B – that’s driving us to suicide by any means necessary. If that were applied to political or religious groups there wouldn’t be the slightest doubt of genocide. Making our existence an obscenity is trying to erase us from society.

 Raising GBLT kids to believe they are sinful, obscene and sick? That’s driving them to suicide, that’s trying to deny their personhood – it’s another part of the GBLT genocide that is pursued in every country around the world.

  The legal definition of genocide isn’t ambiguous. It’s not really controversial either – and it cannot be sensibly argued that the crusade against GBLT people is not “almost genocide” – it is genocide, outright genocide. But we never ever use that word – not about Uganda’s  evil law, not about the evil laws that already exist in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria and so many other nations, not about the genocide practices and rhetoric happening on our doorsteps every day.

 Why, half the time it’s damn hard to get people to admit that gay people were the victims of genocide during the Holocaust.

 Because the cishet world does not see gay genocide.

 Look at that law again, the only reason why this does not fit the legal definition of genocide is simply because the cishet world doesn’t think killing GBLT people is genocide. That’s it. We are not included Locking up a group of people for existing, locking them up for life for not magically vanishing, is genocide.

 And you can’t even put this down to anachronism any more – it is 2014 and there has been no push to recognise GBLT genocide – but then, maybe I’m asking far too much of straight, cis folks given how long it took to recognise the pink triangle in the concentration camps.

 We need to plug this hole. The UN can make pretty speeches but the UN doesn’t follow that up with anything resembling reasonable action – witnessed by this gross void in its most fundamental of laws. This is the very bare minimum of international human rights protection – protection against genocide.

 But genocide continues against GBLT people not only unchecked, not only completely sanctioned, but without the cishet world even recognising it is genocide. Our deaths don’t count. And until the powers that be can do the bare minimum of recognising that trying to eradicate us is genocide, then what the hell is the point of them?

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 Finally, after a long and painful battle, the equal marriage law has past its final hurdle in the commons and the lords and it’s heading for royal assent


Royal assent is a rubber stamp, even though there’s a petition from the homophobes to try and encourage Her Maj not to sign it – that’s just ridiculous. Even I, at my most paranoid and cynical (which is very very paranoid indeed and cynical beyond measure) don’t believe for a second that royal assent isn’t going to happen.


David Burrowes, the eternal homophobe, was the last one to try and derail this and he failed. It has been an exhausting and soul destroying fight. The homophobes in the media, on the net, in parliament, in daily life and most certainly from the churches have been overwhelmingly vicious. It has been a trial these last few months while the bigots did everything they could to hurt us, to attack us, to say grossly unacceptable things about us, to do everything they possibly could to stop our rights advancing.


Their fight shows that our fight cannot stop- there are still so many battles to fight, we still have to battle for our place in society, our place as full members and our place as people due respect and even safety. We also have to expect that they will push back against us, they will launch their stealth attacks, their exceptions, their loopholes for bigotry – and they will certainly try to claim that homophobia has disappeared.


Remember how ridiculous that claim is. Full legal equality (which we don’t actually have due to some holes) does not mean prejudice and persecution dies, nor does it mean we’re going to live in a country that fully respects us as people. In truth, full legal equality merely brings us to the same place that other persecuted minorities already occupy in the UK – and only the most privileged, delusional or bigoted (Daily Mail readers) would claim that sexism, racism et al have disappeared and there’s no problems left in the country.


We still have to fight – but this battle? This battle we won. I can still scarcely believe it, at every stage I expected one of the innumerable attacks to succeed in derailing us… but we got there.


We’ve taken a step forward – but there’s a long way yet to come. But I’m going to stand on this step and feel the joy for a while.



We will be able to get married in summer 2014, most likely. I don’t think it will truly sink in or I will be able to relax until it actually reaches then – but we’ve passed the hurdles.

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 After numerous recent brouhahas (there’s always numerous), the Freedom of Speech wars are raising their ugly heads again, and like a compulsive whack-a-mole player, I simply have to hammer them down, because it’s amazing how much the people who scream “freedom of speech” the loudest are the ones who seem to understand it the least.
Freedom of speech – the freedom to not have the government come along and censor you without good reason (yes, good reason – it has never been an unqualified right). Are the people “silencing” you the government by law? No? Jog on then, your right is not being violated.

Of course, some people have severely missed what the freedom of speech actually means – or, rather, they’re trying to stretch it into weird and not very wonderful shapes to cover their scabby arses which has left it rather deformed.
Firstly, no-one has to give you a platform from which to speak. You can say whatever you want – but I don’t have to repeat it. I don’t have to let your words appear in my spaces, I don’t have to let you use my blog to spread your words to my audience, an editor isn’t obliged to print your letters or your articles, a TV station isn’t required to point a camera at you and spread your crap far and wide.  You can speak – you can stand on the street corner and speak, you can open your own blog, publish your own newspaper, write your own book, whatever; but no-one has to do these things for you. We didn’t sign up to be your publicists; if we don’t want to allow your voice on our spaces then so be it
Secondly, no-one actually has to listen to you. It doesn’t matter how wise and erudite you think you are, it doesn’t matter if you think you have are the bestest expert ever, no-one is required to listen to you. No-one has to take time out to see what you have to say, no-one has to visit your blog, listen to your excuses, accept your apologies or believe a damn thing you say.
Thirdly, no-one is required to go down in flames with you. If you open your mouth and all kinds of bigoted foolishness comes out, no-one is required to stand by you or defend you. No-one has to speak up for you. And you’ll probably find a lot of people dropping you – including employers, and advertisers – especially anyone who has been using you as a “spokesperson”.  That’s their prerogative, they’re not silencing you when they flee the sinking ship you just scuppered.

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 Congratulations - another step forward in the US towards removing injustice. 


Remember to the haters - this is a right owed, an injustice corrected and equality denied. Nothing has been given, nothing has been granted - this is taking one more step to gaining what all straight people have every day. Anyone trying to imply unfairness, or - bogglingly - favouritism or injustice from this needs to wake up and see that truth.


As far as I can see it's a first step. Prop 8 only applies in California and DOMA being struck down will grant federal benefits to states (and DC) that acknowledge marriage equality - but not to states that are still bigoted

I don't THINK that bigoted states need to acknowledge marriages made in equality states - but I can't be sure on that


Still, another step forward - keep on fighting!

And to the haters - keep on crying!

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Beyond those 3 that are attracting a whole lot of attention and are designed to destroy the bill entirely, there are a number of other, more genuine, amendments as well, some of which are worth commenting on

 Religious freak outs. We have a whole load of amendments that say, basically, the churches need protecting from the icky icky gay folk. These are pretty much redundant since the bill already lets religious groups be bigots over and over again including with that ridiculous quadruple lock. There is no need for these amendments and their inclusion just adds fuel to the fire that poor religious groups are being forced by the nasty gay folk.

 Chaplains. A provision to protect chaplains from the icky icky gay folk. I vehemently oppose this. It’s one thing for private religious bodies to practice their bigotry (which I strong disapprove of anyway) but that goes beyond the pale when chaplains provide services for the government and are paid with tax payer money. My tax money shouldn’t be paying for bigotry against me.

 Adultery &Consummation. These archaic concepts are, at the moment, defined by penis-in-the-vagina (PIV) sex and are generally inapplicable to same-sex couples. But, to be frank and as I have explained before, they’re also pretty ridiculous for opposite sex couples as well. The amendments would remove all mention of both of these outdated concepts from the law – I approve wholeheartedly.

 Trans provisions: there are a number here. Firstly one that preserves pension rights for couples when one partner transitions – an obvious yes and needed.

 The current law allows a marriage to be voidable should one party be trans and not tell the other. The amendment would remove this – and I heartily agree. Should they wish to end the marriage there are already tools to end it. I do not think being trans is such a super-special clause that it needs its own voidable clause, nor do I like pressures of disclosure being pushed on trans people.

 The law as it stands requires a cis person in a marriage to a trans person to statutorily declare they want the marriage to keep on after the trans person transitions. This is exceedingly icky and the amendment removing it is badly needed – this sets a presumption that they will want their marriage to end, it sets a presumption that cis people automatically need an out from marriage with a trans person – it sets up an ideal that being married to a trans person is a terribad fate that people need rescuing from and that most people would – should – flee from. As I say above, nothing will force you to remain married, we already have a pathway to ending a marriage without having to impose this insulting presumption of dissolution and forcing couples to take steps NOT to be automatically divorced.

 There is also an amendment allowing the altering of marriage certificates to reflect a trans person’s gender and birth certificates of their children to reflect their parents’ gender. Definitely needed.

 In the past, trans people have been forced to annul their marriages to transition (since same-sex marriage was illegal). There is an amendment to allow these people to reinstate their marriage and have it listed as continuous. Definitely something to support – they did not want their marriage to end and had that forced on them by a bigoted law, time to correct that.


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The marriage equality debate comes up for debate again today, as you can probably tell by the number of Tories frothing and spreading bigotry on various news channels – and someone’s rattled Lord Carey’s cage again.

 We now go into the amendment stage. When we did this with Civil Partnerships, this was when the Tories did everything they could to scupper the law by throwing as much mud at it as possible in the hope that it would stick and drown the law – things like sibling marriages et al. No doubt the same is going to happen here.

Some ones that have pinged the radar:

  Referendum. Yes, we need to turn out the whole country to vote on whether or not we get to get wed. Referenda in the UK are reserved for major constitutional changes for the most part, they’re not things we do casually and certainly not things we do for people’s basic human rights. So far, referendums and proposed referendums have been confined to things like EU membership, devolution, the voting system; constitutional structural changes all. We have only had 11 of them – ever - and none of them have ever concerned human rights being put up for popular vote. Even bigoted MP David barrows admits he’s only introducing the amendment to try and sink the bill.

 Needless to say, the very idea of the whole nation of predominantly straight people voting on my rights sickens me and infuriates me. Add in the complete lack of any constitutional basis for such a referendum and it’s a blatant, nauseating piece of homophobia.

 Discrimination Immunity apparently for registrars and school teachers and who knows what else – all will be given a pass from our current equality laws to be raging homophobic bigots under this amendment. No. Really fucking no. If a registrar wants their bigoted religion to control their job then they should have become a vicar, priest, rabbi, imam, or whatever their bigotry of choice is.

And teachers most certainly should never get a pass to be bigots. The harm this does to our children – in all schools and, yes, that includes private and faith schools. It’s especially important in faith schools that are already shown to be extremely hostile places for GBLT youth. Marriage equality will exist – teachers teach what exists. You don’t get to pretend something doesn’t exist because you don’t like it. You don’t get to teach children we don’t exist because you’re bigots. And we do not tolerate teachers denigrating people by race, religion or gender – so why should we do so for GBLT people? I am sick and tired of the unthinkable when it comes to other marginalised people being the publicly acceptable with GBLT people.

 This is apparently something Cameron is considering as a concession to getting the bill passed. And that’s ridiculous – the bill will pass with the majority of Labour and Lib Dem MPs and the minority of Tories who support equality. The last vote passed overwhelmingly by over 225 votes. There is no need of concessions to pass this law. There IS a need for concessions for the Tories if they want to try and present this law as their baby, as I said previously. Whatever praise Cameron hoped for for being the prime minister who brought marriage equality is badly shattered by over half of his party opposing it and the nasty shit his MPs have been spouting since its introduction.  To claw back some of that sense of this being a TORY bill, he needs at least half of his MPs to vote for it – it’ll be weak, but something. Though snipping out pieces of the equality act to convince his party to support equality is a bit of a non-starter. Of course, he’s also running scared from UKIP and this government is deeply reactionary. In a classically-Cameron slapstick moment, he’s trying to push the “look how modern I am” while at the same time still woo the Swivel Eyed Loons (thank you Lord Feldman) who are champing at the bit and protest voting to UKIP, the BNP with better PR.

 Straight civil partnerships I have to say I am bemused as to why straight people so desperately want access to the not-good-enough-for-marriage partnerships since I can’t see one damn thing it brings you that civil marriage doesn’t - beyond the fact that straight people simply have to be part of everything and in everything. But, hey if we want to continue civil partnerships (which is probably easier and less problematic than scrapping them after marriage equality) then by all means have them open to straight folks.

 However, Maria Miller claims that this amendment would delay implementation by 2 years. I have no idea why – but then, I have no idea why it has taken this damn long to get marriage equality. I suspect it may be a derail and may be a lie or a figure plucked out of the air. While I don’t trust her, the fact that the ones proposing this amendment are the usual Tory bigots who hate all things equality and will do anything to destroy this bill makes me think that it is certainly designed to delay or derail marriage equality. I can’t imagine them supporting this UNLESS it helps damage, delay or destroy marriage equality. Much as I dislike Lynn Featherstone and her straightwashing and dismissal of Tory homophobia, she’s right when she says “beware opponents bearing gifts.” Again, this is what the Tories did when civil partnerships were first introduced – try to drown them in amendments.

 Either way, I do not support our fight for equality being derailed and delayed AGAIN by entitled straight people deciding they need the lesser-not!marriage-we’ve-been-forced-to-settle-on. The idea that our access to the full institution should be delayed so straight people can also have the lesser-institution sticks in the craw.


It’s tempting to consider this battle won because of the success of the earlier votes – but it’s far from over, especially with the Lords looming over. At this stage we need to be vigilant over marriage equality being deformed, of amendments being introduced that would gut our equality in other areas, of “concessions” that would leave us with let another unequal institution and of delays and wrangles that could see us waiting yet more years for marriage equality to actually happen. Keep on fighting.


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There are increasing movements forwards with legislative battles with our rights – a new trans bill in Canada, marriage equality in Britain, France and various parts of the US, municipal anti-discrimination laws in various cities and even a battle in the Ukraine which was rather surprising. Of course, it’s not all going forwards everywhere, far from it, but there’s a lot of excitement.

 There’s also a sense that “zomg we’ve nearly won” primarily from straight allies, coupled with a sense of “the GBLT rights movement has moved so quickly!”

 I have to burst the bubble on both. Starting, perversely with the second one.

 The whole idea of “the GBLT rights movement has moved so quickly” is based on that pervasive myth that we only appeared in 1960 and that the first piece of GBLT activism was Stonewall. Both of which are wrong. GBLT people have existed as long as people have existed – and we have been fighting for centuries. The first attempted same-sex marriage in the UK happened in 1680 and Molly houses were a fixture of the 19th century. France decriminalised “sodomy” after the revolution, Germany had, in the 1920s had a vast amount of pro-GBLT activism

 And this is from a frankly extremely amateur view of history since I make no claims of being a historian. But even the most cursory search finds not only our existence the earliest times but a centuries old battle against persecution. To call the GBLT rights movement a young or a new movement is to spit in the face of these people who fought – and who died – and who straight history has long forgotten. We have not moved quickly, it has been a long slow fight that has been denied so long that it’s only recent victories for basic LEGAL PROTECTIONS that have finally accelerated.

 Now addressing the first point. Winning these battles means we win the SIMPLE part – and not close to being done. The COMPLICATED is, in many ways, only just beginning.

 Firstly, let’s be clear that SIMPLE doesn’t mean EASY, nor does it mean UNIMPORTANT. It makes we know pretty much exactly what to do and, in many ways, how. I know how to walk to London. One foot in front of the other isn’t complex. Walking that distance in this weather would be arduous, painful and an incredible feat – Simple but difficult.

And achieving equality under law: Hate crimes protection, anti-discrimination protection, marriage equality – are extremely difficult, powerful achievements – and they’re simple. Simple because we know exactly what has to be done – the law has to change and we know how that is done. Difficult to do, but simple in terms of process

And important because these form not only essential tools, but also a foundation. It’s an impossibly powerful message of inequality when the laws treat us as lesser citizens; it’s a loud message. It’s hard to get people to listen to you demanding acceptance, respect and challenging hate when the law of the land is roaring “ACTUALLY! HATE THESE FOLKS! HATRED IS FINE! TOTALLY LESS THAN YOU! LESS CITIZENS! ACCEPTABLE TARGETS, GET THEM HERE!” It’s a foundation and without it, building anything is going to be shaky


But a house isn’t finished when a foundation is built and nor will our battle for equality be finished because we have full equality in law. Law and practice, society and culture are often very separate. If you need any greater proof just consider the fact that these legal rights we’re fighting for? Other marginalised groups already have them – and they’re still marginalised.

 On this foundation we need to fight institutional oppression. We need to change professions that are deemed to homophobic to tolerate us (or more than a few token members). We need to tackle bullying – adult as well as child. We need to tackle family acceptance and positive messages so more kids aren’t raised in self hate and familial rejection. We need to remove every single temptation to be closeted – not the closet, forcing us all to be Out is never right – but remove the motivation to being closeted in the first place. Conversion therapy needs to be banished into the past, the DESIRE to change needs to be seen as alien and weird. We need to remove the negative connotation, we need to banish slurs from the language, we need to have “gay” stop being a synonym for “bad.” We need inclusive portrayals, not be considered an afterthought or obscene, we need healthcare that acknowledges our needs, we need workplaces that have more than just policies, but co-workers and bosses and customers who won’t try to drive us out. Neighbourhoods that don’t blink to see us among them. We need a world were institutional cissexism and heterosexism doesn’t constantly fence us, drive us out or police us. We need religions that won’t preach homophobia and transphobia as morality. We need a world without hate, without contempt, without derision. We need so much more (this list went on so long I’ve had to delete huge chunks to keep it manageable), things we will not achieve by laws, things we cannot achieve by laws (but policies can certainly make a difference) but things that will rest on a foundation of those laws.

 We need a world where we are as loved and respected and accepted and included as straight, cis people. Only then will we have won

 And that? That’s going to take lifetime upon lifetime to build.

 This isn’t really something even the most optimistic of GBLT people need telling – we live our lives, we know what will and will not change, we know how we’re oppressed, we know how we’re attacked (in fact, straight people telling us what we should and should not be focusing on need to shut up, really, they do). But I’m increasingly getting the feeling that many allies are expecting to down tools and say “yay we won!” and then be really really shocked when we don’t stop fighting.

 So let’s celebrate the victories and progress we’ve made and are making – because they’re definitely worth celebrating – and then dive back in the trenches, because we’ve got a long war to right.


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I was stuck in Liverpool (also why I’m going to be a while catching up with everything – my reader just hit 1,500 unread links) when this vote passed and my bosses another then nor now could understand why I wanted to be home, watching, waiting for this result and then celebrating with Beloved. Yes, I’m not happy about that.

 But I am ecstatic about the result. Yes it was expected because of the support from the Lib Dems and Labour alone meant only a teeny tiny number of Tories needed to be on side to pass it, but it was still a fingernail biting moment. We’re getting closer – I cannot describe how much this means to me, how breathlessly excited I am and how outright terrified I am of this screwing up. This has to happen.

 Needless to say, the minute this bill has finished its winding passage through Parliament and becomes law, I will be upgrading my Civil Partnership to an actual marriage; our legal status will reflect our hearts and my faith. The law will not continue to tell me what I am not, the law will not continue to demean my relationship for a second more, I will not, for one instantly longer than I must, wear a label that says my love is not real.

 So where does it go from here? The main hurdle is going to be the House of Lords which looks like a much tougher prospect than the Commons. But it’s not insurmountable (especially not with the Parliament Act). I think a far more likely enemy is going to be delay delay and more delay followed by a shed load of bullshit amendments that are going to be used to a) delay the law, b) water down the law or c) push so much crap at the law it ends up collapsing. I think a and b are most likely. It’s similar to what happened during the Civil Partnership debate, when we had lots of junk amendments thrown in (like Brother/Sister Civil Partnership. And Business Partners Civil Partnerships). Hopefully we’ll get some good amendments as well. Still, keep your eyes sharp, lobby the lords and throw crap at the Bishops (or lions if you have them. We really need some lions. If they’re going to play the “waaaah not being able to be a bigot is persecuting me!” card so much we may need to remind them of the difference).

 In terms of the nitty gritty:

 Labour: For: 218 Against: 22, Abstained/Absent: 18

Conservatives; For: 127, Against: 137, Abstained/Absent: 40

Lib Dems: For: 45, Against: 4, Abstained/Absent: 7


(I’m not going to look at the minor parties except a brief glare at Northern Ireland’s overwhelmingly negative response. And, yes, I do consider Absent and Abstained to be much the same since absent is too often a cowardly way of abstaining). And no, the numbers don’t always add up for complicated reasons, tellers etc.

 A full list of which MPs voted aye, which bigots voted no and which were cowardly snakes who were trying to weasel round their bigotry can be found here. Name them, shame them and cast out the bigots and the bigoted weasels as the vile scum they are.

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As we get closer towards marriage equality vote more and more Tories are losing their shit in predictable ways – and among the predictable shit losing we expect from the bigots, there’s also a small crowd of “you’re going to damage our election chances!” Which really shows their moral priorities.

 But they are probably right. And wrong.

 See, in 2015? Yes, it probably will. There are probably a large amount of huffy bigots who will throw all their toys out of the pram because their hatred of gay people isn’t being backed up in law. They may stay home next election, or vote UKIP or BNP (who are still pandering to the Tory bigot vote) and damage the Tories already tenuous chances.

 At the same time, supporters of marriage equality are unlikely to turn out in force for the Tories because all three parties are supporting this. In fact, the only major opponents of this bill are the Tories themselves – it’s even possible, or likely, that the Tories won’t be able to pass this without overwhelming support from Labour and Lib Dems. And we’re not even debating their support – overwhelming support from Labour and the Lib Debs is expected. This is part of why it won’t help the Tories much – even with Tories being the ones to introduce the bill, they’re still the ones being dragged, kicking and screaming, while the Lib Dems and Labour are happily working with it. Worse, for the Tories, is that their MPs are constantly opening their mouths and saying some terrible things. Any attempts to big up their gay rights record next election can be hit by some truly horrible quotes. And, besides, too many of us are too aware of the Tories’ overall record to let one tick overwhelm a whole lot of crosses.

So, short term? Yes, I think they’re right.

 But long term? Not so much.

 See, I think we’re moving to a different era of homophobia in this country – and, perhaps, much of the west in general. It’s not going away or anything close to that – and it won’t in my lifetime or in the lifetime of my hypothetical grandchildren for that matter. But overt, stark homophobic bigotry is becoming less… favourable.

 That doesn’t mean it isn’t expressed. But it means you can’t just say “those dirty, filthy queers are attacking our children!” and not have at least a significant minority give you the side-eye.  Maybe not the majority and hate groups that express these views in these terms are still being given a powerful platform far too often, but certainly there’s sufficient disapproval of such overt hatred as to make people more cautious. Especially if they want national appeal.

 It doesn’t stop more coded bigotry, of course. And we all know and loathe plenty of mainstream politicians and public figures who are expert in coded language and dog whistles. Nor does it mean bigotry is substantially reducing – just looking at over isms where it’s no longer “polite” to openly use slurs or openly say “these people are less” and you can clearly see that the bigotry and societal prejudice is still going strong.

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I suspect our ongoing battle of marriage equality is going to cause more headaches so I suspect this may be the first of many posts until it’s a done deal – and then some. So let’s hit some more tomfoolery

 First of all, homophobes, pointing out the ridiculous, archaic elements of our marriage law does not make for a good argument against changing them. I’m bewildered as to why you’d think this was so. Specifically the laws on consummation and adultery.

 On consummation – yes, if you do not have the penis in the vagina sex after you are married it is not consummated and can be annulled. Yes, consummation becomes difficult to impossible for most gay couples.

 And this is ridiculous. Because the whole concept of consummation, what counts as consummation and what counts as sex is ridiculous, heterosexist and archaic. Defining consummation this way is akin to those purity ringed fools over in the US having anal sex and calling themselves virgins.

 Additionally – do we really want to go there? Do you really really link marriage with a single sex act? Do you really want to invalidate or devalue the marriages of those who don’t engage in this sex act? Who don’t want to? Who can’t? Because I’m pretty sure you don’t want to go there and you’re throwing a whole lot of people under the bus in an attempt to attack us.

 On adultery – which is defined as, SURPRISE, penis in the vagina sex! If your spouse engages in any other kind of sex act with someone else, it’s not adultery (you can still get a divorce under the rather nebulous category of “unreasonable behaviour” however – so why adultery needs to be singled out as a separate unreasonable behaviour is beyond me except for archaic law).

 Yeah, I call bullshit archaic law which needs changing or scrapping AND I think that the people using this argument agree with me. No, really. Why do I think this? Ok, say you are married, it’s not an open marriage, you’re monogamous and you expect your spouse to be faithful and have no nookie except with you.

 Now that spouse comes to you and says “hey, I’ve been seeing someone else. I gave them a handjob, we engaged in mutual oral sex and then had anal sex.” Do you think “they’re cheating on me?!” or do you think “Phew, they didn’t have penis-in-the-vagina sex so at least it’s not adultery”? Would you be ok with them doing this? Do you think they are cheating any less? Do you think it makes them more faithful?

 These laws not fitting with marriage equality isn’t because marriage equality is wrong, it’s because these laws are laughably narrow and archaic.



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So  people in the Church of England and Wales are all upset because the government didn’t consultthem about one of the “quadruple locks” on the marriage equality law proposal – namely that the CofE would be banned from performing same-sex marriages

Now, I’m more than happy to criticise the Tories when warranted – and it is usually so very warranted. And I think the whole idea religious exemptions to equality laws is bigoted and deeply wrong – especially for the CoE that receives so many privileges as the established church.

But for not consulting? Sorry, I can’t criticise even May and Miller for this – and I can’t stand either of them

Why did you think you should be consulted, CoE? It’s not like you hadn’t made your opinions ABUNDANTLY clear both in the past and in the run up to this law.

You have opposed every single attempt to achieve justice for GBLT people. No matter how basic, no matter how necessary, the CoE has been a united bastion of homophobia and bigotry – this is, after all, an institution that could barely bring itself to express mild concern about Uganda’s gay genocide bill (supported and pushed by the Anglican church there) while cracking down on the Episcopalians in the US (shows your priorities, CoE).

For the full duration of this consultation we’ve had nothing but the most disgusting hatred from the CoE – Lord Carey and Archbishop Sentamu have spewed the most virulent hatred and not once has Archbigot  Rowan Williams or his upcoming replacement tried to counter or stem this hatred.

Why would we need to ask what your opinion is? Your opinion has already been made abundantly clear on repeated occasions! You can’t scream and roar and whine and then complain when you finally get what you want.

You wanted the option to marry GBLT people in the future maybe? I have to say, I’m resisting the strong urge to slap any CoE member who even dares to try this. You screamed blue murder at the possibility! You whined about slippery slopes, you moaned about court cases forcing you to accept gay people as actual people! You howled at the very idea of the evil gays defiling your precious institution! You tried to get a blanket ban on ALL religions being able to bless same-sex marriages, no matter what their faith said! Your constant refrain – through lies, scaremongering and more lies – was that churches would be forced to marry gay people! That the evil evil gays would defile your precious churches! Well done, your whining was heard and you got what you wanted.

How dare you even think of whining about your religious freedom being curtailed! It has been curtailed by YOUR OWN BIGOTRY!

And all you so-called liberal CoE? Where were the demonstrations? Where was the outrage? Where was the fury you were supposed to feel at these church luminaries spreading bigotry in your name? Were you wringing your hands while you sat in the pews? Were you tutting under your breath while you marked “Anglican” on the census? Did you proudly chant “not me! Oh no, I’m not a bigot!” while continuing to lend your support and power to a bigoted organisation? Did you play the “oh, we’re not like the Catholics!” game while continuing to be as homophobic and vehement in opposing our rights? Why weren’t the supposed liberal bishops and archbishops going to the papers demanding your chance to marry gay people? Why weren’t they out there saying that Carey and Sentamu and Williams are wrong?

Because maybe if you supposed mass of non-homophobic CoE didn’t add your name and support to this bigoted institution, we wouldn’t have to fight tooth and nail against such a power every time we try to achieve justice. Maybe we wouldn’t have to listen to them squealing on the news and in the papers, spreading their hatred and dehumanising attacks. Maybe this bastion of homophobic hatred wouldn’t have the power it has.

I am beyond sick of the CoE – it’s endless bigotry and it’s ridiculous “liberal” hand wringers who constantly try to play the “but not us! Not me! We’re the good ones!” game while supporting such an unrelenting force of hatred. You aren’t the good ones, you aren’t the nice ones. You’re just as guilty, you’re just as much to blame, you have caused just as much pain and you support just as much hate.



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So the first steps in marriage equality are finally being taken and it’s looking like we may get some action next year, here’s hoping. The Official response to the consultation is in and they’re currently batting it around Parliament. We do have a provision to allow religions to marry people if they so choose so finally actual religious freedom is guaranteed.

 Reports point to 100-130 Tory MPs opposing. Labour, for some bemusing reason, has U-Turned and is now holding a free vote along with the Tories rather than a whipped vote they previously promised. Gods forbid our rights be taken as the severe issues they are (and can we stop with this talk of “morality” and “conscience” being a bigot is neither moral nor conscionable). Still, there is likely to be considerably less no votes among Labour than the Tories so, along with the Lib Dems, we have a good chance of seeing this pass through the commons. ETA The Lib Dems have also u-turned and decided not to whip this vote. Fuck the lot of them. No party will be whipping this vote, our human rights aren't important enough.

 The Lords is going to be more tricky, I feel. Both because of the Lords Spiritual and the Lords, in general, just being less progressive than the Commons. But in theory there should be enough Labour and Lib Dem lords along with what Tory supporters there are among the Lords to pill it through.

 There’s a liveblog on the whole issue here: Be warned: there are a large number of Tories saying some rather vile things as can be expected.

 I’m getting really irritated at all the prating of religious freedom for the precious bigoted church – especially considering there was so much condemnation of their bigotry not that long ago.

I am bemused why, with the guarantee that bigoted churches can still be bigoted, there is any need to BAN the Church of England from performing same-sex marriages. They don't want to, they don't intend to - so why ban them? Why not leave them with the same opt-out as every other church? All this does is mean that, should at some point ion the future the Anglican church and its supporters decide that GBLTQ people are actually people worthy of respect, there'll be an extra barrier towards changing their bigotry.

Needless to say, I remain angry that we have an established church with all its privileges that continues to deny my humanity. Disestablish the bigots.


 The government’s official response to the consultation can be found here. It’s clear that the vast majority of the opposition was religious in nature, confirming again that the majority organised churches of Great Britain are grossly homophobic and we need to continue to view them as enemies of our humanity, our rights and of justice for the foreseeable future.

 On annulment – we will not be able to “annul” our marriages due to non-consummation simply because the whole concept of consummation is ridiculously heterosexist and revolves around a very limited definition of sex. Faced with this, the government has just ticked a big “not applicable” box and, to be honest, I don’t blame them – though I would have preferred it if “non-consumation” were just struck from the law entirely as the archaic relic it is.

 I do NOT approve of leaving the adultery law where it is. Adultery only counts, again, when penis-in-vagina-sex occurs. Sure you can still get a divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour, but deciding only het-sex counts for adultery is insulting and insufficient. To be honest, just scrapping adultery entirely and going with “unreasonable behaviour” for all would suit me better

 The inequality of pensions is also not something I approve of – wives and widows will still have greater access to their partner’s pension benefits than husbands and widowers. We have some nebulous assurance of that changing – but it is still nebulous. Similarly, homophobic discrimination in occupational pensions is not being retroactively corrected so will continue as it is. The idea that this would create “retroactive costs” is failing to acknowledge that it would correct old injustice

 Similarly, I am irritated by the protection for teacher’s “beliefs”. It is not a teacher’s place to teach their beliefs to children, their job is to teach how things are. And how things will be is marriage will be legal – we don’t need to protect a teacher’s editorialising by adding “of course this is wrong and sinful.” Or at least, not if the same teachers aren’t also protected from saying “but it may not be recognised by archaic, bigoted and immoral institutions that insist on dehumanising humanity that continues to cause so much pain and suffering”

 Yes, I am beyond irritated that 52% of the respondents to the consultation were straight. I feel, again, that my rights and humanity has been put into straight people’s hands and had to be validated by straight folks before they could be acknowledged.

 At this stage I almost don’t dare to hope. There’s still so much that could derail the process and the opposition is very fierce, very unreasonable and stunning in how hateful it is. But there’s a path now – it’s not going to be pleasant to walk, the religious groups and Tory homophobes are screaming utter venom, but they have been for a months If not years. Still we’re on the path and maybe, just maybe the end is in sight.

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Privilege, oppression and marginalisation are concepts we talk a lot about in the social justice blogosphere (and beyond). There’s a lot to talk about and many nuances, intersectionality and so much more. But there’s also a creeping habit to, by intent or accident, use the language of privilege and oppression in a way that denies our own privilege, centres our own marginalisation as more vital (or universal), or gives our own marginalised group a pass on the badness. It’s a common reaction – after all, we all want to think of our people as “the good ones” and, despite it being easier to live as the oppressor, it’s certainly more sympathetic to identity with the oppressee. But it’s still not all good – because it does come down to denying privilege, denying marginalisation or dismissing marginalised people’s issues.

The most common thing I see is us just taking a rather scattershot approach to privilege – including every privilege the offender has – even the ones that are not relevant to the situation.

Rush Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke in a grossly misogynist way because of her testimony on birth control. And, thankfully, people describe what a privileged arsehat he is. This is good – but I also saw many people cursing him for his straight, white male privilege. Sounds right – after all he is a straight white male (and he’s also a homophobic racist as well as a misogynist). Except, he didn’t use straight, white privilege to (though those privileges add to his power and position, certainly) to attack Ms. Fluke; his male privilege was the relevant one. And this matters – because by adding the straight and white privileges there we’re implying that if Limbaugh were gay or POC (or both) then he would not be oppressing Ms. Fluke, he would not have privileged over her - or, he simply wouldn’t do such a thing. We know that’s not true. Being gay or being POC is no defence against being a misogynist.

It’s not that he doesn’t have these privileges – it’s that they’re not relevant to the current discussion – or the relevance they have is fraught since it also implies a pass for those groups.

Another example – in my many many fraught discussions of the problems of slash and m/m genres many people have joined me in objecting. But some of the objections are of the appropriating writers using straight, white privilege. Except I’ve a whole shed load of homophobic fail in my inbox from straight POC writers, slash, m/m and yaoi defenders, declaring their natural ally-dom to all gay men since they’re man-sex fetishisers. It is by their straightness and othering that they are oppressing – and, again, we’re giving a pass to some of the privilege offenders by bringing in these other privileges. Some of the homophobic bullshit is given a pass.

Another common tactic I see is to distort or change the meaning of words in a way that magically includes you in the oppression (something I’ve mentioned before). I’ve read a blog that has a handy little lexicon that describes “heteronormative” as a “white, middle-class, straight lens”. Which isn’t what it means – if you have a large group of straight, working class, POC then you have a heteronormative situation. This reduces diversity to racial and class lines alone, by co-opting a word used to criticise the erasure and ignoring of GBLT people and giving the show/book/culture a pass if it is seen from a racially inclusive lens even if it completely denies the existence of GBLT people.

“Diversity” is another word that often gets bandied about without qualification when the writer usually means only diverse along one axis – I’m amazed at how many utterly erased books I’ve read or TV shows I’ve watched that were praised for their supposedly vast inclusion.

Similarly to expanding the definition of oppressions, there’s also the stretching of definition of social justice movements. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve said to someone “y’know that was kind of homophobic” and received a reply of “I’m not homophobic, I’m a feminist!” And this is relevant, why? Being anti-homophobia doesn’t make you anti-racist or anti-misogynist. Being feminist doesn’t make you anti-racist or anti-homophobia etc. Don’t assume an inherent intersectionality - and, by all that is holy, do not play the “no true Scotsman” fallacy for your preferred movement either. It’s another way to deny privilege and oppression by absorbing another’s oppression into your movement. That doesn’t mean that people can’t identify as part of X movement AND be against all the other isms – but it’s an AND not an INCLUDED – it requires more than just assuming a label – especially when that label never included said oppression in the first place.

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Cameron has decided that the marriage equality vote, when it happens (if it happens, since the Tory Chief Whip seems to think it’ll never come up for a vote), will be a free vote for the Tories.

That means he won’t be putting out the Whip. Or, every tory is free to vote how they wish without pressure from the party. This is because it’s a matter of “conscience”.

No, Davey boy, it’s a matter of rights. You lose major points there in deciding our rights are a matter for personal conscience. We are due equality, equality is about our status as full citizens. It is not a matter of “conscience” excepting only that denying us rights is unconscionable.

This does not hint at Tory support for our rights. This does not point to the Tories caring about our rights. This does not show the Tories as thinking our rights are important.

And shall we make a prediction? Looking at your party, I still see marriage equality passing – because the Labour, Lib Dems, and sufficient defector Tories will vote for it. But what kind of PR/Gay rights/we’re not homophobes victory is that?

All 3 parties said they’d back marriage equality – but only the Tories (and the coalition mini-mes who re obedient little tools) decided a consultation was needed.

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The Cost

May. 9th, 2012 11:27 am
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When I first saw this video on Monday it took me several tries to watch it through - and it/I wasn't pretty by the time it finished. On Tuesday I tweeted it but couldn't really do much more. I still don't really have words for this, the horror of it, the pain of it.

I did email it to my parents though, under the subject "Don't".
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The reason he can’t be deported to Jordan is because the “evidence” used to prove that he’s a big bad dangerous terrorist was obtained by torture. I.e. it is not “evidence”. Or, to put it another way, there’s no evidence (real evidence) he has done anything wrong and

If the Jordanians can provide guarantees that he won’t be tortured or executed and his trial will be fair (no “evidence” from torture since that pretty much instantly destroys any pretence of justice) then the ECHR won’t block his deportation. Simple as.

The reason why he’s not in gaol in the UK after being charged with terrorism offences or other bad/naughty crimes is because we have fuck all evidence with which to do so. If we did, we’d have done it and would now be having smug politicians on the television saying how wonderful their anti-terror strategies are. Thankfully I am spared the urge to punch my television screen.

Or, to put it another way, the only reason why this man isn’t in prison here or in Jordan is because, legally, locking people up because the people in charge say “he’s a bad man, honest” is not advisable, ethical, moral, or even remotely sensible. As and when sufficient assurances are received from Jordan then the deportation can happen and everyone can kindly unknot their twisted knickers, please.

And to the Tories and their sympathisers whining about “sovereignty”. Kindly cease your whining, it’s giving me a headache. The court is preventing us from including torture in the application of “justice”. If the court is stopping us aiding, abetting, consenting or approving to torture then I will gladly kneel before it in a kinky kinky harness and call it “Sir”

Frankly, I’m embarrassed that we require the intervention. When we grow up and act like a civilised nation, perhaps the court will treat us like one. Until that time, the court sending us to a corner and telling us "no" seems quite reasonable. And kinky. I seem to have got distracted somewhere along the line, but my point stands.
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So, after literally years of putting it off, delays and dodges, we finally have the consultation on marriage equality! Yes it’s actually here! It could actually happen.

The consultation is here. Ye gods please go and consult and don’t let it be filled with arseholes.

And, yes, I’m squeeing because ye gods I want this, I really want this extremely badly even though there are problems. I want this, we need this. We need to end this law that says we are inherently lesser, we need to replace this law that enshrines religious bigotry. We need to be equal and at least pretend to be recognised as such!

Go, consult! Consult my winged monkeys!

Ok, reluctantly putting the squee aside for a moment, let us point out some… problems.

First of all the very fact we’re having a consultation is ridiculous. What is there to consult about? If you’re committed to bringing about marriage equality then DO IT. You don’t need to ask “how” to do it – just make marriage open to all couples regardless of gender. Why does this need a consultation?

Secondly, if this is a consultation on HOW to implement marriage equality, why is the first question “Do you agree or disagree that all couples, regardless of their gender, should be able to have a civil marriage ceremony?”

I thought this was about HOW to implement it, not WHETHER to implement it? If marriage equality is a done deal, why are we asking whether people agree with it or not?

Thirdly, this consultation is for Civil Marriage only. That means that even if your religion WANTS to perform a marriage between 2 people of the same sex, they can’t. Religious buildings and religious practices are completely banned for marriages between people of the same-sex. All religious practices. The Christians’ freedom of religion means they have to dictate the religious practices of other faiths. So scrap that “we need to replace this law that enshrines religious bigotry” because we’re still doing it! For crying out loud, we’re going to have to fight for a new law even AFTER marriage equality is passed!

Fourthly, there are apparently a number of issues that the consultation says will require further analysis depending on the outcome of this consultation. Including but not limited to:

• state pensions
• survivor benefits in occupation pension schemes
• administrative processes for marriage and civil partnership

WHY would these need more analysis? Why would my pension rights not be exactly the same as a straight married couple. What, seriously, you’re going to have marriage equality but have DIFFERENT RULES for same-sex couples? And why will it depend on the outcome of this consultation?

I’m getting a horrible feeling we’re going to need ANOTHER marriage equality law after this marriage equality law to actually achieve marriage equality.

Wow, I’ve totally killed my own squee now.

In other squee killing news – dear media, stop showing your straight, scabby backsides.

Firstly, it’s “marriage equality” not “gay marriage.” Our marriages are no different from the marriages of straight people, stop acting like it’s something weird

Secondly, I’m sick of seeing bigots being presented in the name of bloody “balance”. I’m really really really sick of it. I can’t open a newspaper or turn on the TV without some bigot telling me I’m not deserving of equality and some reporter acting like this is reasonable.

Thirdly, do your job and CHALLENGE the hatred from the clergy. It’s highly doubtful you would have allowed these bigots to get away with this level of hate speech in regards to other people’s human rights. And why are you letting them present this as a religious freedom issue

Seriously, we have Archbigot Rowan Williams instantly deciding we’re unworthy, Archbigot Sentamu saying giving us equality is akin to the actions of a dictator, Archbigot Nicols of Westminster saying our loves are just friendships and that we’re “annexing” marriage. Archbigot Lord Carey calls our love “vandalism” Cardinal Super-Bigot O’Brien compared our marriages to slavery. And don’t even get me started on the Tory MPs.

This is hate speech and the media is giving it a platform – it’s intolerable, unacceptable and there’s no way it would pass if they were talking about another religion, so why does it go through when talking about us?
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Or domestic partnered *eye roll*. Yes this is another question that came out of family mixing from an unmarried (yet partnered) cousin who doesn’t know why I bothered. But it’s come up a lot from various people over the years.

Of course, the sad thing was, as ever, the blinkers of privilege; she could have just looked round and seen the reason for herself. She would have seen how the whole family treated her relationship of 11 months as a long term partnership – but still acted like my decades long marriage was a temporary fling, a passing insanity, something I’d grow out of or all about sex. I have done everything legally possible in the UK to make my relationship “official” and I still have to fight to have it recognised even by my own family. Let alone official institutions, work colleagues or the public at large.

See, this is one of the things that irritates me when straight folk don’t understand the fuss about marriage. They can take the protections, legal rights and status of marriage for granted because they not only have them – but they don’t always need them either. Even for non-married straight folks, our society provides a level of respect and legitimacy for heterosexual pairings.

Or, to be overly simplistic, even when you aren’t married, society will often infer some level of married-ness upon you. Because straight couples are not just the norm but also the ideal, they are granted legitimacy AS couples. As a family lawyer, I have seen straight unmarried couples have more recognition and support for their relationship – or dissolving their relationship – than I have not just for unmarried GBLT couples but also for domestic partnered GBLT couples. Every shred of respect, of officialdom, of any kind of recognition I have seen for my relationship – or any relationship between GBLT people with the same-sex – had to be fought tooth and nail for and even then that’s often not enough.

Our relationships are not given the same recognition, status or protection as straight couples.

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