Dear Caroline Farrow,
Last night you shared your views about equal marriage on BBC1’s Question Time. You said you believed marriage was not primarily about love but a child centric institution. That people like me should not be married and could not raise children. Your blog recounts your QT experience as well as reiterating your views on the legalisation of gay marriage – a state of affairs you state saddens you and ‘contributes to the weakening of marriage and a denial that as study after study demonstrates, unless there are overwhelming circumstances such as violence or substance abuse, children fare better with and have the right to be brought up by both biological parents’. You also write that you are not ‘advocating penalising or punishing people on account of their sexuality’ but surely to deny anyone equality in the eyes of the law or society is to do just that?
You write that you don’t believe that you will see a reversal of the equal marriage bill in your lifetime. That this makes you sad. It makes me rejoice, for in my lifetime I have seen changes I never thought possible when I came out in the late 1980s. I have campaigned and worked, like so many others, for change and equality. For the right to be who I am. To not be labelled as propaganda hell bent on perverting school children. To be able to access fair treatment and healthcare regardless of my status. To demand that those like me have the right to be safe on the streets. To be able to walk into my local police station and, without fear, report a hate crime. To be free from persecution and enjoy an equal age of consent. To stand besides those in other countries where being openly gay or lesbian is a life sentence.
I’ve witnessed the hatred in the eyes of those who would have us recriminalised, who would tattoo the HIV positive, queer bash us and banish those who practise homosexual acts to the outskirts of society or worse. I wish you could of marched in my shoes and had seen the changes I’ve seen. Then perhaps you would not greet them with horror, fearful of the equalities to come. You would rejoice. We are moving on from the days of hatred, fear and discrimination. The times demand it. I would even say your God demands it. Equal marriage isn’t just about love, its about equality. Equality hard fought for by so many before me and beside me. The many I am so very proud of today. What was it that bloke with a beard once said? Love your neighbour as yourself. We are neighbours dear lady and therefore in the name of equality I love you regardless of how you choose to live your life and who you choose to share it with. Isn’t it time you opened your eyes and returned the favour?