Same Sex marriages – March 29th is the day

wedding ringsThe Government have today announced that Same Sex marriages can commence in 2014.

One of the ways of finding out who I was, who I might be and what shaped my thinking and existence was to speak to older relatives about themselves and my forebears.

Their memories are linked either to very small specific instances or to the large set piece occasions. In this cascade of history weddings stand out large and strong.

In photographs it is weddings that are posed and formal and vibrant – and yet – up to now I would have been deprived of that chance – but no more. With effect next year I – along with hundreds and thousands of others in England and Wales – will be able to marry our same sex partners.

This is no small thing and is party of a larger change and shift in public opinion across the world.

And so it’s good to take the time to pause and think – before the wedding planning commences – to thank those who have fought over many years for equality. In parliament Lord Lester has been heroic in advocating equality, supported more recently by Baroness Barker, Baroness Sal Brinton, Stephen Williams MP, Stephen Gilbert MP, Rt Hon Alastair Carmichael MP, Julian Huppert MP and many more.

But particular thanks are due to the person who drove the Bill forwards through parliament – Lynne Featherstone MP – her contribution in securing this shall stand the test of time. For my own part she will ever have my thanks and gratitude and the LGBT+ community owe her a huge amount.

Lynne, thank-you – your wedding invitation will be in the post this week.

* Ed Fordham is a party member and activist in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.

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  • About time, too.

    Interesting coincidence: 29 March is Norman Tebbit’s birthday.

  • Also my mother’s birthday. Poor old mum. Sharing a birthday with Tebbit.

    YAY for same sex marriage, tho.

  • Ed has put his finger right on a particular facet of marriage and how it plays to the human condition and hence why it “is somehow better than the committed relationships of friends who are not married”.

  • Eddie Sammon 11th Dec '13 - 12:25am

    I support equal marriage, but the viciousness of how the campaign was conducted takes some of the shine away from it. I had supported the policy for years, but withdrew my support during the campaign after realising how divisive it was and preferring to be a “uniter” rather than a “divider”.

    More respect should have been shown towards the people who weren’t sure about it or were worried about its consequences. We want to create a happy society and the route to this is show tolerance and respect towards people with different opinions, who are equally trying to do the right thing.

    I am happy for the campaign winners, but some of that happiness has been taken away by the way the campaign was conducted. Words were used to describe political opponents that should not have been used.

  • @Eddie Sammon

    1) But telling Ed he can’t get married isn’t being a uniter. You are going to make someone unhappy whatever you do.

    2) Can you tell me the nice word for someone whose political ambitions relate to other people’s domestic arrangements?

    3) If your opinions on legislation are contingent, not on their possible effects on society, but on the personalities who happen to be arguing for them at any particular point in time then you are spending too much time on websites like this.

  • Eddie Sammon 11th Dec '13 - 6:33am

    Richard, I wanted to explore the route of compromise. You say I don’t care about the effects on society, but if you implement divisive policies then the divisiveness itself has an effect on society, so I think you need to consider both.

    You attack me like a fanatic, but other fanatics will attack you for your opinions, so the solution is to stay away from fanaticism. Fanaticism often leads to violence.

  • Eddie Sammon 11th Dec '13 - 6:50am

    Do you hate people who are against equal marriage, Richard? This is what you imply if you think any words to use against them are justifiable. The vast majority are loving people and it is not fair to use such terms against them.

  • Eddie Sammon 11th Dec '13 - 6:53am

    I don’t want to be provocative, I know that you don’t hate them, but please let’s be nicer in the way we speak about people.

  • @Eddie
    I took your comment more of an observation and lessons to be learnt; I hope those responsible for the “Don’t Judge My Family” campaign take note.

  • lynne featherstone 11th Dec '13 - 10:59am

    Thanks Ed – and I look forward to your wedding!

  • Russell Eagling 11th Dec '13 - 11:22am

    Thanks Ed – and I look forward to the wedding too!

  • @Eddie: declaring that your support for equality is conditional on the behaviour and personalities of the group of people asking for equality is a really unpleasant and overused silencing tactic – c.f. “I support votes for women but only if they stop setting fire to postboxes”. During this debate, I only noticed angry rhetoric from LGBT people in response to far more extreme rhetoric from opponents of same-sex marriage. There’s only so much you can take of being told that your relationships are “unnatural”, “deviant”, and just like bestiality (by Lord Maginnis), or a “gross subversion of a universally accepted human right” (by a cardinal), or that you are unfit to be a parent (by multiple peers), especially when it is coming from people who dishonestly claim to support equality for LGBT people but in reality have opposed it at every opportunity (which seems to be true of most of the opponents).

  • Though I am ambivalent, I can understand why those who were against same-sex marriage feel deceived, having been repeatedly assured at the time of the introduction of civil partnerships that they represented the limit of campaigners’ ambition. No wonder no-one trusts anyone – politicians or campaigners – any more.

  • Eddie Sammon 11th Dec '13 - 6:34pm

    J, when did I say declaring my support for equality was dependent upon the personalities in the group? I said my happiness for them was reduced because I remember the words a lot of them used to describe loved ones and this behaviour was not condemned by the official campaign.

  • Eddie Sammon 11th Dec '13 - 7:07pm

    By the way, I share nothing but delight for same sex couples getting married, specifically my problem is that Ed Fordham was one of the leaders of a campaign that got nasty. My happiness for people is not contingent on the personality of others.

  • @David – “having been repeatedly assured at the time of the introduction of civil partnerships that they represented the limit of campaigners’ ambition”

    Utter rubbish. Almost all equality and LGBT campaigners made it very clear that they wanted full equality but CPs were a step in the right direction. There were and still are a small group of people who wanted CPs and nothing more, but they are a small minority and it’s absurd to pretend that was the whole movement.

  • @Eddie Sammon,

    Sorry, I don’t think my post is in any way non-standard for an internet forum of this type. I don’t know why you are reacting that way to it.

  • Eddie Sammon 12th Dec '13 - 7:31am

    Richard, firstly I was hurt by your defence of calling people against gay marriage nasty names and secondly you attacked me for a belief I never had and then questioned whether I should spend so much time on here because of it.

    I have always believed in gay marriage, but from a political point of view I thought too many people in the country were against it so thought perhaps a compromise was better. I get my beliefs from myself, but I think it is best to also consider public opinion.

    My main point in commenting was not to mention my personal position, but to ask for nicer debate.

  • “Can you tell me the nice word for someone whose political ambitions relate to other people’s domestic arrangements?”

    The nicest word I can think of is “illiberal” – and after all the arguments I’ve read about this, I still haven’t seen an argument against same-sex marriage which is consistent with the essential principle of individual liberty.

  • @Eddie

    Sorry if I misunderstood what you meant by saying you had withdrawn your support. Obviously as Lib Dem Voice is moderated I perhaps haven’t seen some of the language used in the debate that you have seen. It is though an issue with strong feeling on both sides so compromise isn’t necessarily possible – either Ed’s wedding goes ahead or it doesn’t.

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