July 25, 2012

IconIt’s a nice day for a gay wedding!

It’s not too often I feel proud to be Scottish. We’ve not qualified for the World Cup since 1998, our accents have to be subtitled abroad and we’re always up the top of those horrible lists for teenage pregnancy, obesity or being generally bloody miserable.

But today (Wednesday 25th July, 2012) being Scottish felt amazing, because we’ve done a fantastic thing. It’s a progressive thing, a fair thing, the right thing. Within three years, if they want to, LGBT people will be able to get married. No inverted commas, no hierarchy, no arguments over semantics. Just equality.

My wife and I, we had two weddings. Not because we’re extravagant attention seekers (we are) but because although we wanted a humanist ceremony it wouldn’t have been legal. So, we had a really simple, intimate gathering of only our closest family at our local registry office and the next day did it all over again, this time with a much more meaningful and personal ceremony that allowed us to express and share our love with more than just legal jargon. The decision today means that in future, couples like us will have saved a bit of money and avoided the stress of trying to find two outfits.

After a long and hard fought battle, Scotland is set to become the first part of the UK to introduce equal marriage. The government has also said it will work with ministers in London to amend equality laws to protect the religious freedom of those who do not wish to conduct same-sex marriages. Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We are committed to a Scotland that is fair and equal and that is why we intend to proceed with plans to allow same-sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships – we believe that this is the right thing to do.”

And without a shadow of a doubt it is. Don’t listen to the Catholic Church in Scotland when they say this is a “dangerous social experiment” because the consequences of this decision are nothing but positive. Contrary to what they believe, the world will not end because of this. The ice-caps will not melt. Nuclear missiles will not be launched. The Scottish government have shown that they’re not afraid of bully boy tactics and cheap bribes from a certain Cardinal. Your homophobic bile didn’t work. We’re not scared of your ‘backlash’. Alex Salmond and co. have finally stood up for what is right and not cowered away from a difficult decision.

This is about much more than the sanctity of marriage or which venue you want to say your vows in. I feel so, so proud that when my wife and I decide to have children, they will grow up in a more enlightened country.

It’s impossible to say how many couples will take advantage of the change in the law when it does happen, but I’m excited by the prospect of my friends Nathan and Rob getting married again. Nathan said: “I am delighted that the government have made the right decision today. Opening up marriage to all, regardless of gender, is a sign that all LGBT people are equal citizens. My partner and I have the same love for each other as other couples and we can’t wait for our marriage to be the same as well.” I better buy a hat.

It gets better, they said. This is proof that it does. Feel free to thank the Scottish government here.








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Carrie Lyell


Pussy Riot video

Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot were jailed for two years on 17 August 2012 for “hooliganism”. This video features their latest song and images of the band and their supporters. It was created by The Guardian.

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