The word difference says so much. But how much are our differences spoken about or unspoken?
I am going to speak. If you have differences with me, then go ahead and speak too. If you agree with me, then go ahead and speak too.
As somebody who has been working for and living with the Iona Community for the past few years I think it's only right if I share something from them. The Iona Community response to same sex marriage makes for an interesting read. When I first read these responses I was very proud to be part of this organisation. But it wasn't until a few days later when I read them again that I wondered how many other organisations, especially from a faith-based perspective, would be so strong in making their views known. The world makes it difficult at times to be strongly opinionated. There is a lot of opposition, no matter what the issue. But there is also a lot of support. However, how will you ever know who agrees with you if you aren't willing to share your point of view? Sometimes all it takes is one person to speak out for others to follow suit.
With the Ipsos results just being published and The Equality Network appearing on Sunday Politics show today I have to wonder how many conversations are floating around Scotland about equal marriage. (I am not excluding the consultation in England and Wales in this deliberately, I am just focusing on what I have seen in the news these past day!) I know that many of my friends and people I am connected to do not agree with same sex marriage, and I am not in any way trying to anger you by writing this and being strong in my opinions. I do, however, hope that maybe eyes can be opened even in the slightest. I am not going to ask you to change your opinions and beliefs. I am not going to force you to engage in debate. I am not going to ask you to agree with me. I ask you to treat everyone the same, whether you accept their life or not, because they are still human. Everyone has the right to their opinion and their beliefs and their way of leading their lives. And this is exactly why I agree with same sex marriage. Whether I 'label' myself as bisexual or not, I have had this view point on this matter since I was old enough to understand it.
There is debate as to whether or not allowing same sex marriage will force religious organisations to perform same sex ceremonies, whether they want to or not. There is debate about how the law will be brought in to force to stop this from happening. There is debate around who can and can't perform these marriages. And I agree, these things need to be sorted out, so that nobody should be forced to do anything they don't want to. That is very possible with good wording and enforcement of the law. And in the same way, everyone needs to be able to act how they want around this issue. For the religious organisations who don't want to be a part of this, they can opt to never perform a single same sex marriage, and for those people who want to get married to the person they love, they can opt to do so. Choice. Free choice. If the law allows marriage between two people who love each other then everybody should be happy. Those who want to get married can get married. Those who don't want to get married don't get married. Those who want to marry couples can marry them. Those who don't want to marry couples don't marry them. Tell me what is wrong about that, about free choice.
The other thing that has got me stirred up in to writing this (not only because I have a day with no plans but drinking tea and tidying!) is that my flatmate, my friend, my dad and I watched the film Milk last night. This film follows the life of Harvey Milk, gay activist in the 1970's, through a few years of his life as the first openly gay elected official to the day of his assassination. (The best line from this film, for me: "If it were true that children emulate their teachers, we'd have a lot more nuns running around"!) I think this is a film more people should watch if they want to understand more about gay rights and how this debate all began.
So, here I am, sat at my desk sharing my opinions with you. I know my opinions may be different from yours. But at least I'm speaking out. Are you? Go on, say what you think and maybe even tell the government. I have.
p.s. This isn't the only issue I relate to that I could write about, but it is the one that stands out the most with the public eye watching the parliamentary debates. Refugee and asylum seeker discussion next?