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February 2011: Editor’s Words

Now that we are well into 2011 many of us will be turning our thoughts to the warmer weather and anticipating a holiday in the coming months. The fact that the recent court case concerning whether a ‘Christian’ couple, who owned a bed and breakfast, had the right to deny a same sex couple a double room for the night means that we can book a room now, here in the UK at least, and know we should be treated the same as a heterosexual couple. It was an absolute shame that it came to a court case to have a judgement tell those who feel the need for religion, that their beliefs, do not out-weigh the law. Unfortunately, the church (and I include most religions in this) have a tendency to put their ‘faith’ (and I use the term loosely) above the rights of everyone else… unless you subscribe to the same cult, dogma, creed or belief system as they themselves. The law says that a civil partnership is regarded as the same as that of marriage… and that’s an end to it. As many people said at the time: “Peter and Hazelmary Bull (the owners of the B&B) were offering a service to the public by providing hotel accommodation. Everyone who provides services to the public should do so without discrimination. That’s the law. People of faith cannot legitimately claim exemption from equality laws that apply to everyone else.”

There is a very sinister re-emergence of the religious right and we must challenge its dubious claims wherever they appear. We must object most vociferously when laws and prejudice are used to pillory people for loving each other… and the reason for that prejudice is simply the fact that the two people who love each other are the same sex. What kind of religion bans anyone loving anyone? Makes a mockery of the phrase “God is love” doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, in an interview with Gaydar Radio, TV host Jonathan Ross told listeners that his eldest daughter was a lesbian. He wasn’t bragging, he wasn’t outing her, it was just a matter of normal chat as he said that she regularly tweets about being a lesbian so it was well known and ‘out there’. The interviewer asked how he would feel if his daughter brought a woman home. Jonathan replied: “Well… that’s a question I’ve dealt with on a regular basis already and providing it’s a nice woman, I’m thrilled.” On the back of this ‘revelation’ I was asked to appear on local radio as they wanted to explore how gay and lesbians came out to their parents. I’m afraid I had to decline the request but it did get me thinking about how I broke the news to my mum that I was gay. Many (many, many) years ago I’d been seeing this lad, I was 25 he was 23, and it came to that moment when I wanted to introduce him to the only other people that meant anything to me. Alas, I wasn’t very subtle. I said to my mum, who I was living with at the time, that I was bringing a friend home, he’d be staying the night and we’d be sleeping together. I didn’t ask, I just made it a statement of fact as it never occurred to me that there would be any objections. I think my mum took all of three seconds to take in what I’d said and then her only comment was “O.K.”. The relationship with my mum, my step-father, me and my boyfriend was fantastic and it was like we were the best of friends from the word go. I don’t know if this approach would work for everyone but since that time, and until my mum’s death, Colin, my partner was treated as one of the family and we never had a harsh word between any of us.