The Scottish Government, bless it, has recently held a public consultation on whether or not to legalise same-sex marriage. The usual groups are protesting that marriage is only between one man and one woman because that’s the way god wants it. I can’t be bothered going into why I think that’s a crock of shit, or why I think “but it’s always been this way” is not a reason to consider changing things. Instead I want to talk about a gay couple I know.
I know this couple through work. They are in their 30s, they have been together for at least ten years, to my knowledge. One of the couple, let’s call her M, was diagnosed with a hereditary progressive neurological condition in her late teens. It’s a condition which will eventually be fatal. Her partner, H, is fit and well. I don’t know if the couple were together before M was diagnosed, but I first knew them in 2002ish when M had been diagnosed and symptomatic for a couple of years, and they were together then and I think had been for a while.
The condition M has is not curable and not really treatable. People who have the condition don’t usually start showing symptoms until their 30s, 40s, 50s – M was very unlucky to be symptomatic so young. I’ll be surprised if she’s still with us in 5 years. H has stayed with her, loving her, helping her and caring for her for at least the last ten years and shows no signs of not being around for whatever the future brings. Like I say, I don’t know how long they’d been together when M became ill, but they certainly didn’t have 10 or 20 or 30 years of commitment behind them, or the legal and moral obligations of a marriage. Lots of couples, married or otherwise, split up under the strain of debilitating illness. Lots of people feel unable to cope with the reality of their role changing from partner to partner and carer. Some people with an illness don’t want to continue their relationship, because they don’t want to be a burden (as they see it) or other reasons. For an unmarried couple who hadn’t been together very long to still be together, devoted, and dealing together with the shit that is this condition, in some ways seems to me remarkable. The bonds they have together, the commitment they have shown to each other and to their relationship, the care and support and assistance that H provides for M, all of those seem to me to be what the commitment of marriage demands. I absolutely feel that those things can and are found in relationships which are not married relationships, of course, I’m just saying that this relationship exemplifies what marrying couples vow to do for each other. And yet, the law says they cannot be married because they are both female.
I don’t understand why Kim Kardashian being married for less than 2 months to a man is more acceptable than H and M being married to each other for years and years and years. I don’t understand why J-Lo’s apparent need to marry every bloke she goes out with is ok, but H and M being married would make a mockery of the institution.
I’ve never had any strong desire to get married (I would, however, love to have a wedding 😉 ) – I think it’s perfectly possible to be committed to each other for life without marriage. I’m not anti marriage, and I’d accept a proposal if I felt that level of commitment anyway, but I wouldn’t be waiting for a proposal, if you see what I mean. But it’s absolutely ludicrous that any old arsehole can get married to any other old arsehole, with no commitment to making it work, no real thought going into it, no determination to be faithful and loving, as long as they’re different sexes, but loving, committed, devoted, caring couples who happen to be of the same sex can’t.
I really hope the Scottish Government makes it legal, no matter what the religious groups say.