Tomorrow you will make a vote that most likely doesn’t immediately affect the majority of you personally. I want to talk to you about those of us it does affect. And what it means in the grander scheme of things.
Currently I can (providing we get the visa sorted for her to come over) enter into a civil partnership with my girlfriend. To us, if marriage is denied, it’s the closest we’ll come to it and we will still call each other wife. But we will both be aware that in the eyes of the British Government we are still second class citizens. That we are not privy to the same rights and protections as a married heterosexual couple, most of them, yes, but not all of them. We’re not asking for religious marriage, which is a highly different thing entirely, but legal marriage. We are asking for the same rights and privileges as the rest of the British population.
Imagine if you will, growing up in a world where you are denied the same civil rights as those around you because of who you are, who biology deemed you to be. You are taunted by your classmates, your ‘friends’, your family, denied the chance to live in the family home because you love someone who is deemed inappropriate just because you are of the same sex. The religion you grew up in tells you constantly that you are a sinner because of who you love and deems you’re going to hell. You wonder why the government hasn’t at least said you are one hundred percent backed by law and you begin to wonder why the way you were born deems you a second class citizen even in the eyes of the law.
I have come to terms with the fact I was kicked out for my sexuality by the parent who was meant to love me unconditionally.
I have come to terms with the fact the type of Christianity I grew up with has deemed me a sinner and unworthy of God’s love (something I personally don’t believe and am convinced of God’s love for me, else He wouldn’t have created me this way or saved my life as a child).
I have even come to terms with the fact that those who are classed as homophobic are in reality scared of difference and that for them it was drummed into them as a child.
I will never come to terms with being a second class citizen legally. I pay taxes and national insurance, I am part of the workforce that keeps this nation running, I work hard and I play hard. The money I earn goes back into the economy and my taxes help pay the wages of the Civil Servants, the Doctors, the Teachers (I have worked in education as a teaching assistant as well), the Armed Forces, the Emergency Services. My hard earned cash pays towards the running of this country. If I’m expected to pay my taxes without questioning it, then surely I, and the thousands of people like me deserve recognition from those who use our money to pay those bills.
I don’t care if the Church of England, the Catholic Church, the Mosques, and whichever other religious institutions won’t allow me to marry under this new law, I’m merely asking that as someone who contributes to this society in the same way as the majority of the population I am given the same rights when it comes to legal protection under the eye of the law.
The chances are you know a Queer person in your personal and or working life. We are your parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, doctors, nurses, emergency service providers, bankers, subordinates, we walk in every step of daily life, and all we want is to be seen as equal to you in the eyes of the law.