Tuesday, 1 April 2014
Last Weekend we saw a historic occasion in the UK the first Same Sex marriages took place up and down the country. For the first time Husband and Husband and Wife and Wife were sharing their vows and becoming legally united in marriage in the eyes of the law.
As someone who has campaigned long and hard for equal marriage it was a happy moment to realise that if I ended up in a relasionship with another woman that we would have the choice to marry in the same way I would have if I had a relasionship with a man. Love is an empotion and a value that should be valued in society and marriage is an important insitution that creates stability and focuses committment, which are all positive outcomes that those in a marriage and wider society benefit from. I want everyone regardless of their sexual orientation to be able to benefit from the advantages marriage brings and for us as a society to also benefit as a result of their choices.
However the cloud was not all lined in gold. There are some people who still fundementally object to the concept of the term marriage being changed in law, an objection based on their strongly held religious beliefs and the definition and very basis of marriage itself. This being the case it is not suprising that on the launch of the first same sex marriages in the UK that they may wish to share their views and concerns the same way any of us would when those views are strongly held and important to our values and life. Caroline Farrow is one of those people who has a strongly felt objection to the change in the meaning of the term marriage and the introduction of same sex marriages into the UK. On Thursday Caroline expressed her views on air during the BBC Question Time show in a way that was direct passionately delivered but not directed in a hateful or personally attacking manner to anyone. Many people who hold Caroline's views feel scared and too threatened to voice their views and have welcomed Caroline's contribution giving them a chance to have their opinions form part of the ether of our national debate and discussions.
That might of been it; a passionate campaign about love and a simple belief that the legal definition of marriage discriminated against same sex couples. A campaign won by changing culture and years of campaigning by many from across the community. Then on the other hand a strongly held religious view based on the theological and not legal basis of marriage, voiced by a few confident and directly spoken individuals aired in the ethos of free speech and along side the implementation of the new same sex marriage law which is now in force.
But it was not it.
You might think having won the campaign for same sex marriage some campaigners might be content to let those that disagree with their view have their say just like they have had their say during the campaign.
You might think that a campaign with the aim of allowing the equal celebration of love would stay built on love and compassion and not hate.
You might think that those that campaign for equality and respect of individual rights would also respect the rights of people who hold religious views in a non abusive and personally attacking manner.
However this has been far from the case.
Following Caroline's comments on BBC Question Time last week she and other people who oppose the introduction of same sex marriage have been subject to the most horrendous and truly horrid abuse, personal attacks and threats. The level of this abuse has shocked many including myself despite my fundemental disagreement with those that oppose same sex marriage. I am truly ashamed of any LGBT person or ally that has felt the way to further equality or to celebrate the introduction of same sex marriage is to abuse, attack and threaten any other person simply for holding a differing view.
If we can't live in a society where we can passionetly disagree, debate and critique but still value one and other then we lose the meaning of the term civilisation and have lost the very basis of hunmanity which we should hold so dear. I want a society where respect engagement and positive debate is the norm no matter how much we may disagree with those around us.
I might be an LGBT Woman, I might be a campaigner for LGBT issues but I am also a fellow human and work hard to help make society one where everyone single person feels valued and I hope other people will join with me in working towards that goal.