A couple of weeks ago Patrick Harvie, a Green MSP, introduced the following "motion" (a completely non-binding instrument used to convey an opinion rather than further a legislative agenda) to the Scottish Parliament:
Equal Marriage, Equal Partnership—That the Parliament welcomes the commitment by Ed Miliband to equalise marriage law for same-sex couples, the recent decision by the Liberal Democrat party conference to back proposals to allow same-sex marriage and mixed-sex civil partnership, the longstanding support of green parties in the UK for this position and the support that has been expressed by a number of SNP and Conservative politicians; believes that this step is necessary not only to ensure equal legal rights irrespective of sexual orientation but also to convey the equal dignity of relationships and the equal respect with which the state recognises relationships; regrets that civil partnership is portrayed by some in society as a lesser level of commitment or recognition, and calls on the Scottish Government to investigate the practical steps necessary to allow legislation in the next session of the Scottish Parliament to create equal marriage and partnership in Scotland.Every mention in official surroundings is music to my ears after years (literally) of complete and total silence on the matter.
Of course we have Stonewall making a rather awesome u-turn on their marriage equality position. Many will shrug their shoulders and say "So what?" but they underestimate the stupidity of our elected representatives who often still think Stonewall speaks for all LGBT people. I will never, ever support Stonewall but I still think it's a major victory to have them on board so they shouldn't (they are very slippery people, and we need to keep our beady eyes on them) undermine other campaigners work on the issue quite as much as they have been previously. Whilst I'm on the subject of Stonewall, I urge you to read this absolutely excellent blog post which says everything I ever wanted to say about Stonewall but does it with far more style and intelligence than I ever could.
And the really big story of the week was Tuesday's launch of the Equal Love campaign. Despite what many will tell you about our recent LGBT history, most advancements in terms of our rights have begun as a court case and this campaign follows in that grand tradition. Opposite sex couples will try to get civil partnerships and same sex couples will try to get marriages. And if/when refused they will begin the process of taking the matter to court. I must say, based both on previous British and EU rulings on the subject, it's very unlikely to succeed but it has already drawn the attention of a great many media outlets. BBC News' most read article on Wednesday was about Tom and Kat, the straight couple who have been campaigning on this for over a year (and from my own experience Tom is a jolly nice man). The idea of heterosexuals wanting civil partnerships is the angle that was needed to start a debate. I've already heard of Scottish newspaper looking for straight couples wanting a civil partnership for a feature article. I've seen a lot of comment on Twitter from straight folk who were either unaware of the ban on opposite sex civil partnerships, or completed flummoxed as to why anyone would want one. This can only be a good thing, even if my never ending quest to educate folks on the differences just got a whole lot harder. You can support the campaign on Facebook here.
So what's the outlook for marriage equality in the near future? Rosy, and getting rosier by the day.
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist