Big Ben looked down as MPs passed the marriage (same sex couples) bill on July 16, 2013. It was late evening, but if the ghost of Oscar Wilde was walking by, he would have remembered the shame when he was found guilty of gross indecency and sentenced to two years hard labour on 25th May, 1895. The prosecutor asked Wilde what he meant by “the love that dare not speak its name.” and here is part of Wilde’s response.
Wilde: “The love that dare not speak its name” in this century is such a great affection of an elder for a younger man as there was between David and Jonathan, such as Plato made the very basis of his philosophy, and such as you find in the sonnets of Michelangelo and Shakespeare. It is that deep spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect. It dictates and pervades great works of art, like those of Shakespeare and Michelangelo, and those two letters of mine, such as they are. It is in this century misunderstood, so much misunderstood that it may be described as “the love that dare not speak its name,” and on that account of it I am placed where I am now. It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of affection. There is nothing unnatural about it. It is intellectual, and it repeatedly exists between an older and a younger man, when the older man has intellect, and the younger man has all the joy, hope and glamour of life before him. That it should be so, the world does not understand. The world mocks at it, and sometimes puts one in the pillory for is indecency and sentenced to two years’ hard labour.The judge described the sentence, the maximum allowed, as “totally inadequate for a case such as this,” and that the case was “the worst case I have ever tried”. Wilde’s response “And I? May I say nothing, my Lord?” was drowned out in cries of “Shame” in the courtroom.
Now, in 2013, the legislation will now get royal assent before becoming law later this week. The first gay and lesbian weddings will take place next summer.
Opponents were still angry at the passage of the bill and there are fears in Tory HQ that it will be a continued sore point with elderly Conservative voters.
The bill allows religious organisations to opt-in to holding gay weddings, although the Church of England and Church in Wales are banned from doing so.
There will be additional protections for transgender couples, who will be able to change sex and stay married.
There will also be a review on whether humanists can conduct marriages. There are concerns that allowing this might triggered legal demands from other groups, such as self-identified ‘Jedis’, to be able to conduct weddings, but supporters say humanists are entitled to the same rights as religious groups.
There will also be reviews of pension arrangements for gay couples.
Now, the UK becomes the 15th country to legalize same sex marriage. Well done, GREAT Britain, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.