On Tuesday history was made, and I couldn’t be prouder. A majority of Members of Parliament filed through voting lobbies supporting the right for all people to marry the person they love. It is moments like this that lift my heart and remind me that parliamentary politics can change people’s lives for the better.
The classic narrative of boy meets girl, they fall in love and live happily ever after isn’t quite the reality for thousands of gay and lesbian couples in this country. What happens if that one person you fall in love with, the person who makes you weak at the knees, the one your heart skips a beat for is the same gender as you? Recognition of your love, your truth and your happiness has been denied equality by society until now.
Labour has a proud record on equality, from removing Section 28, equalising the age of consent and introducing the civil partnership and adoption legislation in government we moved public opinion in a generation. I’m proud to be in a party that values and respects love.
However, last weekend I was shocked, saddened and upset by the comments of one Labour Party member whilst out canvassing and I feel I have to speak out. Whilst door knocking for Labour he assumed I shared his opposition to marriage equality on the basis of us both being people of faith. When challenged with “it’s difficult for people like us when it comes to gay marriage” I was stunned to be assumed to be anti-equality, and further when he referred to gay people as “people not like us”. Needless to say, I was quick to correct him!
I am happy to be open about my Christian faith but never assume that means I share your homophobia. If anything it is quite the opposite, I believe in a loving God, who gives us many gifts the most important of those gifts is love. It’s ok to be a Christian and it’s ok to be gay, it’s also ok to be a gay Christian.
How can it be we can open the doors to our churches every Saturday and marry heterosexual couples who don’t believe, yet turn away our Christian brothers and sisters who are in loving same-sex relationships? The Church will tear itself apart over “gay marriage” until we draw a line under man-made Victorian morality and return to the message from God. God so loved the world he sent his only Son to die for our sins and give us eternal life.
If you believe you can pick and choose who you will love then you can’t know what love is.
As for anyone who considers themselves progressive, socialist or socially liberal and who opposed marriage equality this week needs to take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror. If you want to build a more equal, fair and just society that must mean equality for all. Equality for men and women, gay and straight, disabled and able-bodied, for all social backgrounds, faiths and ethnicities.
Practice what you preach and demand marriage equality for all.
Love is probably one of the most difficult concepts to articulate, which is probably why there are so many love songs in the world. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love. In the name of love, one night in the name of love. Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs. How can our parliamentarians possibly articulate in debate, or I in one column. the power of love?