Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The Speech That Never Was Take 2: Equal Marriage #LDConf

Just about now if things are going to schedule item number F35 Equal Marriage in the United Kingdom is being debated at Liberal Democrat conference. Here, slightly modified, is the speech that I am not able to present for a second time (the first at Scottish because I moved the transgender amendment, now because I am absent).

Conference, it is with great delight that I am able to dust of this speech that I didn't make at Scottish Conference this Spring, on this very matter. Especially because lines 4-5 and 29-31 look very happily familiar to the Transgender amendment I moved there. But I stand before you today to commend the motion as a whole. a

Whilst the coalition government is making moves to allow ceremonies for LGBT couples to be performed in religious buildings. The Prime Minister has said that these will be civil partnerships.

That means that these will not have the appearance of a Church marriage ceremony that you or I would attend for our heterosexual friends, because a civil partnership is not allowed to contain any religious elements. It is just that a civil ceremony. Yet at present if our heterosexual friends want a civil marriage they can do so at the local registry office alongside those self same civil partnerships.

This assumes that I and other gay Christians or members of other faiths are happy just to have a civil partnership in a location that we feel is like home. That is why like our own leader has said we shouldn't me so hung up with the word marriage.

There are some who say that allowing people of the same-sex to have the right to marry will debase the sanctity of marriage. That would be the same sanctity as Britney Spears 24 hour marriage in Vegas.

Love is a many splendoured thing and when I find the man I wish to spend the rest of my life with I want to have the option of marrying him in a church and having our friends sings the hymns we have chosen and the readings we want. That is of course if he says yes and also wants a religious ceremony.

To misquote the bard of Stratford

I am gay! Hath not a Gay man eyes?
Hath not a gay man hands, organs, dimensions,
senses, affections, passions?
Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons,
subject to the same diseases, healed by the same
means, warmed and cooled by the same winter
and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we
not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you
poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall
we not speak out?
If we are like you in the rest, we
will resemble you in that.

You know something conference, as a gay christian I'd love to settle down with the man of my dreams. I'd love to enter the house of my God and join that man in union. But I want the words in the presence of God to be part of that ceremony. Not as a civil partnership in a religious building seems to me, sneaking in when the lights are out and God isn't home.
I want the choice.

I have the choice to be with the man I love.
I have to choice to be partnered with them.
I'd love to have to choice to invite God to the wedding.

And conference you know something else. As a Northern Irish man if the biggest dilemma is whether to have a ceremony that is protestant or catholic or some combination of the two I wouldn't mind. I'd be very happy just as long as I had that choice.

Conference, support this motion and I'll let you know when you can start shopping for hats.

There are some other blogs about speechs. This one from Sarah that similarly was never made about the issue of Gender recognition. Then there is the speech that Sara Bedford actually made yeah if you've read the above you can tell I was that Northern Irish friend.

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