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A gay day

Posted on July 25, 2012 by

Just seven months ago, we ran a piece castigating some of Scotland’s nationalists for their ludicrously churlish and negative assessment of the SNP’s first half-year as a majority administration. Several high-profile pro-independence bloggers had attacked the Scottish Government for an opening programme that was variously described as “despairing, girning, partisan, vacuous and dreary”.

We criticised them at the time, and today we feel thoroughly vindicated in the light of the news that the SNP will indeed bring forward a bill to legalise gay marriage in Scotland, making it the first part of the UK to do so.

The bill will be the third major seriously contentious one to be put before Parliament by the majority government in barely over a year, following hot on the heels of the anti-sectarianism bill and minimum alcohol pricing. All three were faced with considerable political and/or public opposition, and it seems extremely likely that the sectarianism bill cost the SNP a significant number of votes in May’s local council elections, particularly in and around Glasgow.

The equal-marriage bill, opposed by around 65% of respondents to the consultation, may very well cost it more, particularly among the Catholic community it only recently won over after years of work. And it won’t win many in compensation from the gay community, which is noisy but vastly smaller than the Church and in any event spent most of last week engaged in a colossally ungrateful and petulant sulking fit that the Government hadn’t made the announcement on the exact day they wanted it to.

But even with an independence referendum to win, Alex Salmond’s cabinet has pressed ahead with doing the things it believes are in the interests of the people of Scotland, even if that means damaging their own party and jeopardising the thing some of them have fought their whole lives to achieve. This blog can think of no greater tribute to bestow on any government than that it’s prepared to lose votes, and considerable numbers of them, to do the right thing. We salute it without reservation.

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    57 to “A gay day”

    1. Morag says:

      I’m not gay and I’m not married and have no desire to be either, but this announcement makes me very happy indeed.  It is something that will add significantly to the sum of human happiness, and I can’t see any downside to it at all.  Why shouldn’t people in same-sex partnerships be able to live normal lives with their chosen partners, settled and secure and accepted in their communities?
       
      And did I mention that I’m a fully paid-up, card-carrying, regularly attending member of the Church of Scotland?

    2. Jim Campbell says:

      The Scottish Government is doing what is RIGHT for the country and not just what will give them votes in the next election.  In fact they will lose a few votes to some of the  “narrow minders” out there.    
      The SNP are the only governing party in the UK to put their countries interests before their
      own party ideology or political  advantage.    

    3. jimmyarab says:

      Can’t agree Rev. 3 Disastrous own goals that certainly aren’t ‘in the interests of the people of Scotland’ and are widely deplored in Scotland.
      Oh and all 3 are still open to a multitude of legal challenges and millions in legal fees ( paid for by us as usual ).

    4. Doug Daniel says:

      I find it interesting that the Catholic church has managed to make it seem like the only people who are against this are catholics, and that all catholics are against it. In reality, I suspect there is opposition of fairly similar numbers amongst most/all christian congregations. Certainly, my parents are against this, and they’re Church of Scotland. But they’re old, and therefore their backward views are rightly ignored.
       
      It’s annoying, because you can’t help feeling like you look like a Sevco Scotland fan when criticising the Catholic church online. They’ve fairly shot themselves in the foot with this, though. Imagine somehow managing to make the Catholic church look even MORE backward than usual!
       
      Just waiting for some unionists to claim this is the SNP trying to buy the votes of gay people in the referendum, much in the same vein as Lord Foulkes’ “they’re doing it on purpose!” criticism when the SNP were committing the sin of making things better for people last term. And the volume of “well, yeah, that’s good, but what about…” tweets was sadly predictable. Our country has done something good here, and we’re getting recognition around the globe for it. Can’t people just wallow in a bit of smug satisfaction for a while before looking for holes to pick at?

    5. Cuphook says:

      Congratulations to the SNP for doing the right thing. I’m sure this’ll firm up the leftwing vote that’s been sceptical about ‘links’ to Murdoch etc.
       
      I don’t think that the Catholic church speaks for the majority of their followers on this one. The few I know, and one attends chapel every week, have no problem with gay marriage. The definition of marriage has changed numerous times and this is just another administrative change.
       
      What’s with the pic btw? Is this the acceptable face of gayness? How about a couple of hairy, obese, middle-aged guys in that pose?

    6. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Purely egalitarianism, man – the pic in the last gay-marriage piece was all blokes…

      http://wingsland.podgamer.com/equal-marriage-a-modest-proposal/

    7. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Can’t agree Rev. 3 Disastrous own goals that certainly aren’t ‘in the interests of the people of Scotland’ and are widely deplored in Scotland.”

      We’re going to have to agree to disagree, Jimmy. Sectarianism, booze and prejudice are cancers on the face of our society.

    8. jimmyarab says:

       We’d just go around the houses if we started to debate the subjects Rev..then agree to disagree at the end anyway 😉

    9. Juteman says:

      Well i’m straight, and i think it’s a great picture. 😉

    10. John Lyons says:

      I think equality is right. If I’m responsible for my companys recruitment and choose not to employ gays, I’m breaking the law. It’s called discrimination. Why is marriage any different?

    11. mogabee says:

      As a practising RC, I’m delighted at this decision. In fact I’ve got a spring to my step!

       Times change and attitudes do too. When I had my first child, unmarried, and no intention either! there were people who stopped acknowledging me, seems ridiculous now!
       Being in a commited, secure and loving partnership, whether that be with a slip of paper or without is what matters to me, but I do have gay friends who wish to have that choice and that is what’s so brill. about this decision for me and them!

    12. Peter A Bell says:

      It is probably not productive to dwell over-long on the “colossally ungrateful and petulant sulking fit” that certain people indulged in last week. Quite deplorable behaviour that I too feel totally justified in having castigated in appropriately strong terms – “Petty in pink” http://bit.ly/MIfXRx. But while it may be better to move on from this regrettable episode I would like to think we do so with lessons learned.

    13. Morag says:

      Various people are saying, is Gretna prepared for the onslaught?

    14. Marcia says:

      Good. Hopefully we will hear less of the SNP being in Soutar’s pockets with this one but I don’t think it will. Long overdue announcement in my opinion.

    15. james says:

      I think it’s a bit unfair to say the gay community was engaged in a “colossally ungrateful and petulant sulking fit”. Can you reference this for me? As far as I could see there was some mild frustration, shared by many commentators outside of the gay community. I think we gays have actually done a pretty good job of keeping our cool in recent months given the increasingly vehement attacks from the religious right. Tom French, in particular, seemed to have the patience of an Angel when dealing with, among others, John Deighman and Peter Tearney in television interviews. Let’s not forget, equal marriage wasn’t really a massive issue for most gay people and it was a fight started on our behalf by the Scottish Government. It became an issue of great importance for me and, I suspect, most of the gay community when I saw the absolute hatred and contempt for gay people still harboured and exhibited by the religious right and some others in our society. Essentially what happened is that the Church in particular mobilised the whole gay community against it when it decided to attack gay people instead of a government policy.

    16. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I think it’s a bit unfair to say the gay community was engaged in a “colossally ungrateful and petulant sulking fit”. Can you reference this for me?”

      It exploded all over Twitter more than anywhere else. I saw more than one person say they’d cancelled their SNP membership in disgust, for example, and lots of similar. It was a ridiculously overblown and stereotypical reaction to a complete and utter non-story, and it really hacked me off. But it’s over now, so let’s all just be pleased.

    17. Doug Daniel says:

      Hopefully we will hear less of the SNP being in Soutar’s pockets with this one but I don’t think it will.”

      Well, Salmond has made himself into Donald Trump’s number one enemy, and yet people still accuse him of being in cahoots with Trump, so I wouldn’t hold my breath about accusations of the SNP being in Soutar’s pocket stopping any time soon!

      The kind of people who make such accusations tend to have an alarming capacity for doublethink…

    18. Juteman says:

      Lets be serious here.

      Joe MacPublic  couldnt give a toss about this. That probably goes for 98% of us.
      The only folk  bothered are the 1% of loonies at each end of the issue.
      Even my gay sister thinks its a non issue. 

    19. pa_broon says:

      A quick note on this ‘petty in pink’ thing.

      These are the actions/words of a gay lobby group, not the wider gay community as it is sometimes refered to. I would also posit the notion that the press played it up too.

      Most gay folk I know, don’t give a toss about marriage, its the equality aspect of it that riles them. Those same people probably won’t get married in a church, if at all so its a bit over-played in the media.

      This is a good move, I’m not sorry when I say this deals a blow (if I can use that phrase) on behalf of thousands of young folk growing up outwith what the catholic church (among others) deems ‘normal’. Its a vote of confidence, a vital message to our young folk that says; its not you that’s weird, its them.

      I’m just sorry I wasn’t around to see the look on Cardinal O’Brien, Bishop Tartaglia & John Deighan’s face when this went out.

    20. R Louis says:

      This single move by the SNP Scottish Government, against a pretty well organised resistance group of homophobes, is a very good thing.  It shows, that unlike Westminster, and the anti independence parties, the SNP Government will do what is RIGHT for Scotland.

      They are not in Souter’s pocket, they are not homophobic, but are clearly committed to a modern progressive, wholly inclusive modern Scotland.  That unswerving commitment to Scotland, even if it loses votes is EXACTLY what I want my Scottish Government to do.  

      That commitment to what is best for Scotland, is in my mind, the single biggest reason why London corrupted rule needs to end.  Let us have FULL powers for OUR Scottish parliament, and leave the rank stinking hole that is Westminster, far,far behind.

      Vote YES in 2014, for a  modern progressive Scotland. 

    21. These are my sentiments exactly, Rev. A government’s first responsibility is to the governed, not to itself.

    22. Colin Dunn says:

      Love the photo. I’m straight, and this just makes me smile.

    23. tony j says:

      Gay marriage was not on thier manifesto.  I would never have voted for them if they had put it in there.

      Now I will vote against their independence referendum, if this is what they are about.

       

    24. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Hi Tony. You’re an idiot.

    25. Holebender says:

      tony j, are you seriously telling us you’ll vote against independence because of equal marriage legislation? What are you going to do when the rest of the UK follows Scotland’s lead? Will you vote against the union as well?
       
      What’s a homophobe to do when both sides are against his bigotry?

    26. Morag says:

      I note all the discussion is going on about the fact that 65% of the consultation responses were against.  The BBC pointed out that if however you remove the responses which are only signatures on petitions or mailed pre-printed postcards, it’s 65% in favour.  Apparently the government took this to indicate that organisations opposed to the move had been quite successful in mobilising people to add their names without actually engaging with the debate, but that those who were engaged with the debate were generally in favour.
       
      This highlights the fact that a consultation is not a self-selecting opinion poll.  An individual response putting forward a personal viewpoint will be considered, but a signature on a petition from someone who can’t be arsed to articulate their own position is relatively valueless.  If we want an opinion poll, we commission one.  And when we do, and the respondents aren’t self-selecting, again the majority is in favour apparently.
       
      The parallels for the independence consultations are interesting.  The Labour party were going all out to get people to send in pre-printed responses by one click of the mouse.  Remove them, and what’s left?

    27. Juteman says:

      O/T.
       Why are most pro-independence folk banned from NNS?
       Regular Unionist posters like ‘excel’ and ‘ituna’ seem free to post whatever they like. It is impossible to have a reply to any of their comments posted.
      I think the NNS forum is a Unionist plant to subliminaly(sp?) kill enthusiasm amongst the Independentista?

    28. Thee Forsaken One says:

      I’m afraid for this particular debate I was firmly in the ‘don’t care’ camp. So long as celebrants were protected (which was what I put in my consultation response) then I was fine with legislation being brought in. It’s just a change of name for civil partnerships with those churches who want to solemnise gay marriage being allowed to do it. I see no reason why not to let them.

      @Juteman: I don’t have any problems commenting on NNS on the rare occasions that I do. In fact, I’ve directly refuted Ituna on a couple of occasions without getting into trouble. I’ve also had a few shots loosed off at UpSpake for his delusions about the SDA and the sort of powers he thinks the First Minister has.

    29. peter says:

      writing as someone born and living in paisley and raised a catholic. archbishop tartgalia does not speak in my name.

    30. Juteman says:

      @TFO.
       Obviously my comments on NNS are not intelexshual enough.
      Or straight to the heart of the matter?
      Maybe my comments might upset the advertisers?

    31. Cuphook says:

      I was out drinking tonight with a friend, a 22 year old lesbian who wants to marry her gf at some point. She has no real political affiliation but said that this is the sort of country she wants to live in and mentioned how it had reinforced her vote in the referendum. She then went on to say that kids today have it easy. Times are moving fast in Scotland.
       

    32. Barney Thomson says:

      “And it won’t win many in compensation from the gay community, which is noisy but vastly smaller than the Church “

      Are you sure about this? Some members of the gay community are certainly noisy but I suspect many more are fairly quiet.
      The Roman Catholic Church has a number of (celibate) noise-makers too. It’s impossible to say how many of the quiet (non-celibate) supporters of that church agree with them.
      Anyway, it is futile to compare the population of gays to homophobic bigots as the numbers of each community are obviously unknown.

      Juteman – Got to agree with you about NNS. Haven’t had a comment get through for ages. Even my non-political one about the Rangers fiasco earlier seems to have been deemed subversive to whatever agenda they are pursuing.

      Re the picture – tasteful, expressive and intriguing. I appreciate it so much I have come to the conclusion that I must be gay.

        

    33. Macart says:

      @ R Louis

      “They are not in Souter’s pocket, they are not homophobic, but are clearly committed to a modern progressive, wholly inclusive modern Scotland.  That unswerving commitment to Scotland, even if it loses votes is EXACTLY what I want my Scottish Government to do.”

      I think that just about covers it RL. You don’t just govern some of the people, you govern for all when you are put in office. You are put there to make the hard and often contentious calls as well as the easy ones. I’m quite proud of the SG right now.

    34. sneddon says:

      Just listening to ‘Call Kaye’ and can’t believe the rockets calling in.  Not a good example of christians tho’ they should get representatives of the church’s in favour of gay marridge on the show at least.  I get the feeling they’d be happier in the 15th century and their understanding of what a consultation is for is sadly lacking.  
       

    35. jimmyarab says:

      When the London parliament churns out new laws that it never mentioned in it’s manifesto and that were against the wishes of the majority of the people they are rightly criticised in certain media and on blogs such as this.
      When the SNP government constantly churns out new laws that it never mentioned in it’s manifesto and that were against the wishes of the majority of the people they are lauded as enlightened and forward thinking in the same media and blogs.
      Anyone who puts their head above the parapet and questions this is instantly labelled a bigot, rocket, idiot, racist, drunk, cancer on society, climate denier, homophobe, sectarian supporter etc…
      I don’t think this is Scotland moving forward. I think it’s taking us into a dark period where independent thought is repressed. I certainly don’t feel any freer than I did 30 years ago. How can we be free if we have to constantly think before we speak and take care not to be seen doing anything or saying anything lest the 24/7 surveillance society is waiting to pounce ?
      I expect the engineers of this new society are quietly pleased.
      ‘Common Purpose’ has come of age.
      Enjoy…
       

    36. Peter A Bell says:

      Drawing a discreet veil over your raging paranoia, I would just point out that the proposed equal marriage legislation enjoys almost unprecedented cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament and the approval of a broad swathe of Scottish society. You and the ranting religionists are the ones who are out of step. Which, despite all the repression you imagine, you are perfectly entitled to be. Just as the rest of us are perfectly entitled to form our opinions of you as a consequence. And I, for one, am unlikely to have much regard for somebody who considers thinking before they speak to be an unacceptably onerous expectation.

    37. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I don’t think this is Scotland moving forward. I think it’s taking us into a dark period where independent thought is repressed. I certainly don’t feel any freer than I did 30 years ago. How can we be free if we have to constantly think before we speak and take care not to be seen doing anything or saying anything lest the 24/7 surveillance society is waiting to pounce ?”

      I’m absolutely bewildered as to how you connect this not-entirely-unfounded fear with the the bringing forward of the equal-marriage bill. In what sense does gay marriage relate to “the 24/7 surveillance society” or to “independent thought being repressed”?

      I’m also interested in your earlier use of the word “constantly”. What are the numerous other non-manifesto policies the SNP has brought forward since last May?

    38. jimmyarab says:

      Pete..
      When you regularly see two old folk in the street chatting and then they turn around guiltily and ask ‘ oh should we be saying that’, then you know we’re in trouble.
      I don’t believe in sky pixies so couldn’t care less about the gay marriage thing. Do what they want for all I care. It’s the attitude that’s adopted against anyone who dares to complain that winds me up. From the sneering BBC Scotland ‘reporter’ ( use this word lightly) who can’t hide their disgust with anyone who isn’t ‘on message’ ( hint 3,000 BBC staff have graduated from Common Purpose- £3k each paid for by your tv tax on threat of prison). To the instant dismissal of people as ‘idiots’ who disagree with the story. People who have bothered to read the article and to comment aren’t even given the decency of a decent reply.
       
      Rev..you immediately dismissed someone as an ‘idiot’ for making a perfectly legitimate comment.
      I’m not sure where to begin on the SNP policy U turns. Suffice to say they will be indistinguishable from all the other socialist states in the totalitarian EU.

    39. Stewart William says:

      What a ridiculous and inaccurate piece this is.

      No study has been done on exactly the number of gay men and lesbians in Scotland – however, even if you did the rounds of bars/clubs and other gay outlets – then added family and friends – then added those who do not go to bars and clubs – then add the members of the public who are in the majority and do favour gay marriage – the number is I am fairly certain HIGHER than the vocal and hateful religious bigots in Scotland and SOME of their followers – not all, by any means, of the, dwindling, congregations in Scotland agree with O’Brien and his ilk.

      So please before you go off make wildly inaccurate and unsubstantiated claims on who ha the largest number of supports – get some facts rather than your own prejudice or ignorance – or both!

    40. Dunc says:

      “How can we be free if we have to constantly think before we speak”
      I know, it’s terrible that other people can form opinions about you based on the things you say. Truly, this is the greatest injustice the world has ever known.

    41. Dunc says:

      As for whether it was in the manifesto, there wasn’t a clear commitment to bring forward legislation, but there was a commitment to “begin a process of consultation and discussion on these issues”. Usually that implies that you might actually do something about it if the “process of consultation and discussion” indicates that it’s warranted.

    42. fitheach says:

      @ Doug Daniel
      Certainly, my parents are against this, and they’re Church of Scotland. But they’re old, and therefore their backward views are rightly ignored.

      But they’re communists, and therefore their backward views are rightly ignored.
      But they’re trade unionists, and therefore their backward views are rightly ignored.
      But they’re jews, and therefore their backward views are rightly ignored.
      Do you see where you are going with that idea?

    43. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “No study has been done on exactly the number of gay men and lesbians in Scotland – however, even if you did the rounds of bars/clubs and other gay outlets – then added family and friends – then added those who do not go to bars and clubs – then add the members of the public who are in the majority and do favour gay marriage – the number is I am fairly certain HIGHER than the vocal and hateful religious bigots in Scotland”

      It may very well be. But what I said was that the gay community was smaller in Scotland than the Catholic Church, not that subset of Scottish Catholics who are prejudiced against gay marriage. So please, before you go off making wildly inaccurate and unsubstantiated claims about what I said, learn to bloody well read properly.

    44. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Rev..you immediately dismissed someone as an ‘idiot’ for making a perfectly legitimate comment.

      No, I dismissed someone as being an idiot because they said they’d vote against independence on account of the gay-marriage bill. If the latter somehow changes your opinion of the former, you’re an idiot, because there’s no connection between them whatsoever. Especially given that the Westminster government is bringing forward equal-marriage proposals too, so voting for the Union won’t save you from the unspeakable horror of gay people getting hitched.

      I’m not sure where to begin on the SNP policy U turns. Suffice to say they will be indistinguishable from all the other socialist states in the totalitarian EU.”

      You still haven’t told us what this has to do with surveillance. Having an opinion at odds with the majority doesn’t mean you’re being censored. If decent people think you’re a bigot and shun you as a result, that might not feel very nice, but it’s not oppression. And to be honest, Jimmy, phrases like “all the other socialist states in the totalitarian EU” mark you out as something of a dick anyway. Sorry.

    45. Jeannie says:

      I think everyone can benefit from this legislation -ironically, even those religious people who are against it.
      If a country has, as its guiding principle, the equal rights in law of ALL of its citizens, then it becomes harder, for any government in the future, to oppress ANY particular group without being legally held to account.  Equality can therefore be a protection for all of us, irrespective of which particular grouping we belong to.
      The Nazis didn’t cnly attack Jewish people – they just started with them. Then it was any other “minority” – gays, gypsies ,even Roman Catholics! And it wasn’t straight to Auschwitz either – it started off with the eradication of their rights as citizens, a bit at a time.
      So let’s afford equal rights to all and just treat everyone the same, so no-one is easily “picked off”.  We are all better protected that way, now and in the future.  For who knows, maybe a child or grandchild of your own will turn out to be gay or belong to a minority that some future government decides they don’t like.
      You may not be in favour of gay marriage, per se, but there is a greater good involved – the protection of everybody.
      For myself, I’m very proud of this Government. 
       

    46. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “For who knows, maybe a child or grandchild of your own will turn out to be gay or belong to a minority that some future government decides they don’t like.”

      I have nothing to add to that, I just wanted to quote it.

    47. Doug Daniel says:

      fitheach: 

      “But they’re communists, and therefore their backward views are rightly ignored.
      But they’re trade unionists, and therefore their backward views are rightly ignored.
      But they’re jews, and therefore their backward views are rightly ignored.
      Do you see where you are going with that idea?” 

      Yes, I see you’re going off into a bizarre tangent that has nothing to do with my assertion that people who refuse to accept that times change should be ignored. If a communist, trade unionist or Jew claimed gay people shouldn’t be allowed to get married because it would cause society to implode, their backward view would indeed be best ignored.

      When I am an old man who has fallen into the trap of spouting reactionary views because I refuse to accept that things don’t stay the same and belligerently harden my stance on issues when I see common opinion changing against the outdated beliefs I grew up with, I would hope people ignore me too. 

    48. Holebender says:

      jimmyarab, my mother used to unthinkingly call black people “darkies” and my father would even say “nig-nogs” until their children (or at least this son of theirs) told them such language was not acceptable in today’s society and certainly not in my house. So, yes, people, even old people, have to think before they speak and have to consider if what they just said or, preferably, what they were about to say is acceptable. And I believe we are all a bit better for it.

    49. Juteman says:

      Yeah, nicely said Jeannie.

    50. sneddon says:

        ‘Jimmy, phrases like “all the other socialist states in the totalitarian EU” mark you out as something of a dick anyway. Sorry.’

      Rev no need to say sorry, the man’s a rocket, he’ll be spouting pish about the one world government next  or even the Lizard people or the Bilderberg group.

    51. Morag says:

      You mean, like the rubbish about “chemtrails” he came up with, as the first comment on Scott’s excellent “Olympic Rallies” article?
       
      I posted a link to the article in another forum.  It was immediately dismissed, together with the entire WoS blog, by people who had scrolled down to see what commentators were saying, rather than read through the entire article.  I realise the attitude that one dingbat comment condemns an entire article and indeed web site is shallow, but people do it.  If a dingbat is reading this and commenting on it, then it’s dingbattery, seems to be the logic.
       
      RevStu needs Jimmy like a hole in the head.

    52. maxstafford says:

      Must have forgot to put his tinfoil hat on!

    53. James Morton says:

      The last person executed in this country for being gay was 1852. In 1988 section 28 was passed in the UK, at the same time Sweden passed laws protecting homosexual rights. it would be a long time before section 28 was repealed and it still exists in one form or another in different parts of the UK.

       This is not the victory that you think it is, as there will always be those seeking to narrow the meaning of freedom or to take away rights from one group or another based on race, sexuality. But it is clear to me reading a little into the history of gay rights that those attempts to narrow their rights or remove them entirely are diminishing.

      Could it be that the Human race is beginning to act it’s age and grow up – at least were sex and religion are concerned? perhaps.

    54. Juteman says:

      Nah, hang the poofs.
      Roll on handbagnicht. 🙂

    55. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      It’s obvious from previous tweets that you’re joking, Juteman. But all the same, I could do without having comments like that sitting on the blog waiting to be misinterpreted by hostile onlookers.

    56. Juteman says:

      My apologies Stu. Please remove it. It seemed funny after a few pints.

    57. Stewart William says:

      Lets face it – religion itself is an evil and outdated practice – mainly adhered to by those unwilling to think for themselves and listen and learn objectively



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