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Times have changed that’s why gay marriage laws make sense

 Published on: 6th February 2013   |   By: Nik Allen

If two people want to say “I do” does it matter what sex they are? In my mind it makes no difference whatsoever.

In an excruciating display of narrow-mindedness more than half of all Tory MPs failed to support the same sex marriage bill in parliament this week.

Many of these MPs – who should be concentrating on the economy, schools and hospitals – were frothing at the mouth in their desperation to decry same sex marriage.

Some of the views expressed during the debate were downright balmy. Some Tory MPs said legalising gay marriage would bring about a massive cultural and social change.

I have no idea where they have spent the last few decades but it certainly wasn’t living in modern Britain. The cultural shift has well and truly happened and the bill only reflects what the average person on the street thinks already.

I was not raised in a liberal household. I was educated in a convent (more of that another day but in short it was the strict, hellfire and brimstone Catholic education that was common back in the day) and later served with RAF. In that sort of testosterone-fuelled environment homosexuality wasn’t accepted and wasn’t discussed.

While I wasn’t homophobic, I still raised an eyebrow some 20 years ago when my nephew who lives in America “came out”. But on visits to the States I saw how happy he was, and my views changed. I fully supported him when he entered into a civil partnership.

The fact is times have changed and the law needs to reflect that.

In my capacity as editor I meet people from all walks of life and natter about all sorts of issues. But no one ever stops me to say they have an issue with same sex marriages. The most common gripes I hear (in no particular order, but politicians please take note) are the economy, trains, potholes, speed cameras and the paltry sentences handed down to serious criminals. On the issue of gay marriage I never hear a peep. So why are some MPs in such a pickle over it?

Does the Tory party think it will attract dynamic young thinkers to its ranks by carrying on in such a hysterical fashion? And with traditional churches struggling to get bums on pews, isn’t it about time they started to reflect the broader community?

If my son or daughter came home and announced they were gay, my immediate reaction would be to offer them support and hope that they could live in a world without prejudice. Unfortunately, judging by some of views espoused in parliament this week, that time has not yet come.

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