Mariages homosexuels en Finlande

Du 1er mars, les mariages entre personnes de même sexe se produisent au 22e pays: Finlande. Ça signifie qu’ils se produisent dans tout les pays nordiques (y compris le Groenland mais sauf les Îles Féroé).

(Et aujourd’hui, 7e mars, c’est l’anniversaire de la perte de ma virginité. Intéressant: en ce temps-là, j’avais 22 ans. Et en juillet il sera 22 ans depuis mon dernier rapport sexuel. Je serai chaste plus longtemps qu’avant le premier …)

 

September ’16 news

The only really ‘new’ story was that of the first Church of England bishop’s publicly coming out.

The rest were either developments of old stories, mar an co-dhùnadh gun tèid an clàr-ola bho Leòdhas dhan Tuirc, the first charge in the Volswagen fraud, David Cameron’s resignation as an MP, and the approval of Hinkley Point C; or things which were expected, like the TV licences becoming necessary for legal watching of iPlayer programmes and the publication of Scotland’s legislative programme for the next parliamentary session.

Of course, as I said earlier, since the 15th of the month I’d been on a bender, so I have no idea what was happening during the second half of the month.

 

No pride flag in Abingdon … so what?

Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council decided not to fly the rainbow flag during next year’s pride parade in nearby Oxford. Oxford Pride chairman Robert Jordan is “shocked and appalled”. A Mark Holton from Swindon, Wiltshire claims that “by not flying the flag [the council] suggests it’s ok in Oxfordshire to be homophobic”. Some PinkNews commenters go even further.

I’m rarely shocked. And I think it quite possible that behind the 7 votes against the flying of the flag may be nothing more than homophobia. Yet I think it just as possible that behind the 6 votes in favour may be nothing more than political correctness. And I’m appalled by people who say “if you don’t shout out loud you love us when we tell you it means you hate us”.

This is one of the ways to ensure we remain outliers.

 

June ’16 news

Except for the EU referendum and its aftermath, which will probably remain not just the news of the month, but the news of the year, precious little happened, and none of it good. In Orlando, Florida, a religious maniac murdered 49 people in the Pulse gay bar; and a series of rail strikes began over disagreement between ScotRail and the RMT about more driver-only-operation trains. It seems obvious that at least one party is rather economical with the truth when describing the talks, but which one it is only the participants can know.

 

May ’16 news

Of course, the main news was the elections and the aftermath. Before that, Sir David Attenborough became the latest celebrity nonagerian, and the BBC White Paper was unveiled: mostly it seemed to be about money and encroaching on the broadcaster’s independence, with some specific proposals for Scotland agus moladh airson leantainn le craoladh sa Ghàidhlig.

After the elections, while in London the Queen’s Speech allegedly included fines for companies sending spam emails without first getting consent (could it still be called spam if they did?), the new Scottish government announced that for the next eight years the operation of the Clyde and Hebrides Ferries Network will remain with CalMac, rather than being handed over to Serco. Muirfield, however, lost its right to host another Open after a vote to remain a men-only club. (I’m not sure to which degree the following criticism is due to the unadmitted knowledge that if there was a women-only golf club, men simply wouldn’t give a damn about it.) Shortly after, the Kirk voted to allow ministers in civil gay marriages, although not gay weddings within the Kirk, and the Scottish Parliament obtained its first law-making powers under the 2016 Scotland Act.

Mostly good news, then. Not so across the Atlantic, where Donald Trump in the end won the Republican presidential primaries, and Alberta, Canada had to declare emergency in response to a wildfire which destroyed about a tenth of Fort McMurray and later threatened to come back to claim more. In retrospect this kind of puts the feminists’ (and my) obsession with the Muirfield vote into perspective.

 

April ’16 news

There were hardly any to speak of, to be honest. It felt as if everybody was just waiting for May’s elections and June’s referendum.

It began with a very important news indeed: on the first day of the month, the new national minimum wage of £7.20 an hour came into effect (although not for Tommy, who’s still under 25). After that . . .

The next day Kezia Dugdale came out as a lesbian, which, considering the already self-proclaimed homosexual Mundell and Davidson and bisexual Harvie and Coburn, makes one wonder when are Sturgeon and Rennie going to jump on the bandwagon. Then nothing for almost three weeks, until the Queen turned 90 (BBC News Scotland stopped short of calling her a Scots queen first and a British queen second, but only just). And after another week the news that the Birnam Oak and Sycamore were so damaged by last December’s storm Desmond that without human aid they probably will be lost. Which only merits a note here as I’d seen them with my own eyes within one of my Dunkeld trips.

Ah well, one mustn’t grumble. The good thing was that I was able to write this post in less than a hour before leaving for a night shift.

 

Gay marriage legal throughout the US

On 26 June 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in a case named Obergefell v. Hodges in favour of same-sex marriages, the decision being based on the Fourteenth Amendment to the constitution.
BBC: US Supreme Court rules gay marriage is legal nationwide
En-wiki: Obergefell v. Hodges1
Here it is at last, the finale of the story: twelve years after Massachusetts became the first US state to legalise gay marriages in 20032 (the first being held in 2004); six years after Vermont became the first to legalise it through legislature rather than jurisdiction3; two years after Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act were abolished4; the US only narrowly beaten by Great Britain5 (but not by the UK6).

Of course, many are very, very unhappy about it; Adam Gopnik gives us two good reasons why:
“What the opponents of gay marriage really cannot stand […] is being criticised in the same spirit as they choose to criticise their opponents – not as holding a morality that might be too stringent to be obeyed, but holding a morality that was never really moral at all. […] The only alternatives they can recognise as real are either power or persecution. Either you are the magistrate making rules, or else you are the martyr being sacrificed to them.”

This mindset was recently exemplified by the words of the Kenyan president, who claimed it was “very difficult for us to be able to impose on people that which they themselves do not accept”, happily ignoring the fact that that is exactly what his country’s laws impose on its GLBT people7.
 

 
1 – as of 26 June 2015, 2344 UTC
2 – wasn’t connected yet to read this but I’m positive I’ve heard about this on radio thanks to BBC World Service
3 – connected already, presumably must have read this both on the BBC and Pink News websites
4 – no longer following PN but still probably noticed as a BBC News
5 – England and Wales in 2013, Scotland in 2014
6 – Norther Ireland remains UK bigots’ last bastion
7 – en-wiki: LGBT rights in Kenya, as of 25 July 2015, 1922 UTC

Petition to pardon men convicted of homosexuality

Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, is among those who signed a petition to the effect that not only Turing should have been pardoned (which happened in 2013), but that all those convicted like him (over 49,000) should be pardoned.
BBC: Benedict Cumberbatch in call to pardon convicted gay men
And so did I, as it is estimated that about 15,000 of these victims of the dishonourable law are still alive. The petition had over 60,000 signatures when BBC published its article, over 77,000 when I read it and signed it, and as of now it is approaching 114,000. Thus, even if it does not reach the target of 150,000, it already has more than the 100,000 which according to HM Government’s website it needs in order that it “could be debated in the House of Commons”.

 

First Scottish couples married

While anti-gay attacks in Russia are gaining ground again, Scotland’s couples in civil partnerships can now convert them into official marriages, while the rest can give notice of their intention to wed, and thus be able to have their weddings starting Hogmanay.
BBC: Gay marriage law comes into effect in Scotland
Of course, those who would like to be ‘married’ in the eyes of most churches still can’t, but that’s a problem to be settled between themselves and their churches. The important thing is to have the law treat us as equals in the eyes of the state. (Incidentally, technically speaking this still hasn’t been achieved, as straight couples can’t enter into civil partnerships. But I’m told Peter Tatchell works on it…)

 

if…

I’m not sure whether I watched it for the third or fourth time. What I am reasonably sure of is that I perceive the film somewhat differently each time. There is always a certain shift in how I interpret some scenes, how much (or how little) I enjoy some, how (un)important some seem, and so on.

I even appear to find attractive different characters each time. (Although I don’t think I’ve ever fancied Travis.)

 

5 (or rather, 10) more US states marrying gays

At the beginning of October, the US Supreme Court has effectively increased the number of US states where same-sex marriage is legal to 30 (not including Washington, D.C.) by rejecting appeals against it in Indiana, Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia and Wisconsin.
BBC: US rebuff to gay marriage opponents
I can still remember when New York became the 6th such state in June 2011, with California in the limbo of Proposition 8. Somehow I stopped following the topic later, so this news took me aback a bit – and according to Wikipedia, before I got around to blogging about it the number has risen yet again to 35, with Montana being the latest.

 

Babies with three parents in 2016?

A scientific review commissioned by the UK government reported that in about two years, scientists will be ready to create babies from two women and one man. Provided it is made legal, but the government is said to have, in principle, backed the idea.

The professed aim is to prevent deadly mitochondrial diseases. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be better for everybody if the parents-to-be prevented these by adopting a child instead of procreating one, but it doesn’t bother me; people do many things beyond my comprehension. I just suspect that these babies won’t have it easy in the playground. I can just hear their peers screaming “Mutant, mutant!”

On the other hand, I’m very curious whether the main Christian churches will lead so intense and vocal campaign against this as they did against gay marriages.

 

Lewis Grassic Gibbon: Sunset Song

After reading it once again it occurred to me to check my library and it’s true. It is the only book there with a female as the main character. Which isn’t so surprising, given that all the writers there are male. Which in turn isn’t so surprising either, given that I’m a male gay.

What is surprising is that if I were forced to discard three quarters of my books, this one will be very probably among those that I would keep.

 

Same-sex marriages commence in southern Great Britain

Since Saturday, same-sex marriages are taking place in England and Wales. Scotland, not for the first time, lags behind: although the relevant Act has already been granted the Royal Assent, first marriages are not expected before October. Ah well, mieux vaut tard que jamais.

This is not as important as was for instance levelling the age of consent, but it certainly is another step towards equality. There are many who disagree with this step, and not only those who believe that they should have language trademarked. Nevertheless, it seems improbable that they would be able to make these marriages void as it happened in Californa and elsewhere.

And it is a victory not only for the LGBT community, but also for religious tolerance. That is to say, religious tolerance for those denominations that refuse to toe the line of the big churches on this matter.

 

Obree vs Uganda

After the Ugandan president signed the (albeit watered down) bill to make life even more horrendous for Ugandan gays and lesbians, Graeme Obree launched a petition against inviting “that Ugandan politicians who backed the anti-gay bill” to this year’s Commonwealth Games.

At the moment it has 2,800+ signatures. I signed it too, although, to be quite honest, I don’t believe that even with 28,000 it would have any effect on the invitations, and even with 280,000 on the plight of Ugandan LGBT.

Financial measures like that taken by the World Bank and the Netherlands might be more to the point, if they were not comparatively isolated: there is a difference between not inviting a thug to a party and between not giving him the alms he is used to.

 

Sochi

Apparently the Olympic Games have ended, because I no longer see related news headlines. I was never much interested in this kind of show business. This year, with their taking place in Russia after Putin’s analogy of Thatcher’s Section 28, I couldn’t even be bothered to look up afterwards how successful the UK team was.

 

Scottish same-sex marriages approved

On 4 February 2014, the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill has passed Stage 3 in the Scottish Parliament with 105 MSPs voting for and 18 against. After being granted the Royal Assent, it will become an Act of the Scottish Parliament, and the first marriages are expected to take place this autumn.

Official report of the Meeting of the Parliament can be found here; if you are interested in how some particular member(s) voted, you can find the vote breakdown on pages 27390-27392.

Supporters of the One and Only Truth have lost another battle.

 

In love again

If the chance ever comes to you again to fall in love, grab it, every time. You might always live to regret it, but you won’t find anything to beat it, and you won’t know if it will ever come to you once more.

(Joseph Heller: God Knows)

 

Without any warning, last week made me temporarily feel younger than my actual age.

Not the fact that on Monday I somehow succeeded in re-sealing the bath’s edges and then found a welcome sum had appeared on my account, enabling me to buy (online, that very night) a 17-litre minifridge and look up more furniture. I half-expected the money, though not so soon. Not the fact that on Tuesday I spent several hours in IKEA and eventually bought an assortment I still consider a good choice. (For once I managed not to rush when shopping.) What followed.

Because presently after my return, a friend texted, asking me whether I could put him up. I’d promised him earlier he could leave his things with me if he needed, but this was a bolt out of the blue.

Basically I didn’t like the idea at all and I told him so, although I didn’t expand on the reasons: For one thing, I’m a gay in my mid-forties and he’s a straight in his early twenties. For another, I wasn’t absolutely certain my contract allowed this. For a third, we weren’t that close. (I’ve known him for over a year, we must have spent dozens of hours smoking together, twice or thrice he’s been to my old room and once to my new flat, he accompanied me on my first walk outdoors after my accident in case I couldn’t cope on my own, but that was all.) And I’m a bitter curmudgeonly old fart unaccustomed to such intrusions on my privacy, especially at such a short notice.

But when it turned out I was his last chance not to end up literally on the street, what the fuck could I do? Even my selfishness has its limits. We were so close that I couldn’t find it in myself to turn him down under such circumstances.

So I did put him up. After all, I argued, he’d be useful with that furniture. When he came I stressed I wanted him to leave asap, and I went to sleep that night not too happy, but consoling myself with the knowledge that for once I have overcome my cowardice and selfishness and done the right thing. However, my mood soon began to shift. Because the better part of Wednesday we spent together. Assembling the furniture, eating, smoking, drinking coffee, even shopping – and chatting away with a thousand chuckles. In other words, I was living with somebody I liked a lot, something I haven’t experienced for the last five years and hardly hoped I would ever experience again.

Going to sleep that second night I realised that I couldn’t wait to see him go and at the same time didn’t want him to leave at all.

But on Thursday he finally got a room in a hostel for homeless people. I accompanied him when he went there for the first time to check in; later he returned for another meal together and to pick the most necessary things. After he left again I went to buy me a bottle of whisky and fags and on the way finally decided I loved him. Even said out loud so much. Back home I tidied the flat and then just drank coffee and whisky, smoked like a chimney and thought about him and my previous loves and life in general. Glad I was alone here again at last and sad he was already gone.

He’s still got most of his things here, so occasionally he revisits. (On Saturday we even day-tripped together, but that deserves another post.) I’m not daft though. Even as I think, now and then, “my cup runneth over”, I understand how fleeting this situation is. I don’t care. I’m not madly in love, anyway; but for a couple of years or so I wondered whether I’d lost the ability to fall in love altogether. Obviously, so far I haven’t.

And I still feel somewhat younger than my actual age.

 

Gay marriages: this time France, US & Scotland

The backlog of personal happenings I’d like to blog about has its natural counterpart in lots of links to articles I’d like to comment on here. Several are related to same-sex marriages:

A French mayor refuses to wed same-sex couples under the new French law, claiming “For me, marriage is for a woman and man to have children. I am not discriminating as a same-sex couple is sterile. It’s a parody of equality, it’s a big lie.” Well unless he also refuses to wed opposite-sex couples who can’t procreate, it’s himself who is a big liar. Despite his stance, I wouldn’t be surprised if he added he was no homophobe. That phrase has become such a mantra that even the President of Senegal claims his country is not ready to change its laws (consensual gay sex between adults punishable by up to 5 years in prison), but that “does not mean we are homophobic”.

Meanwhile, the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill has been published at Holyrood, and we can expect more Lillian Ladeles in our own country, as it’s very likely to pass. The Herald brought out a list of those 11 MSPs who have publicised their opposition. It’s sad to see there Alasdair Allan, but he probably had to if he wanted to call himself a representative of his constituency. On the other hand it’s also sad to see the format in which the names were published, which looks as if they were caught doing something clandestine.

While in the States, the Supreme Court struck down the notorious Defense of Marriage Act and effectively also the even more notorious Proposition 8. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the ban imposed by the latter unexpectedly soon and gay weddings in California promptly recommenced. This angered the other party, which claims it should have waited for 25 days, during which time they could challenge the Supreme Court ruling. I always thought that the Supreme Court was a court of last resort, but it seems that in the US you can appeal till the end of time.