Thursday, 26 June 2014


As most of you know (and if you don't, where have you been?) Toben and I are getting married later this year. You'd think this would have been what has sparked all the discussion about marriage in my life this year, but actually it has been inspired by a couple of other completely non-related things.

The first was synod. We went to the Argyll and the Isles Episcopal synod earlier this year. Toben was wearing his Warden of a retreat house hat and I wearing my I'm randomly tagging along for the discussion hat. I was mostly interested in the last thing on the agenda: Where do we stand with same sex marriage? I had images in my head of it not going too well, handbags at dawn and all that. I was pleasantly surprised. Apart from one man being inflammatory for the sake of it, everyone was pretty much agreed that it's a church, we're supposed to welcome everybody. One woman at my table even asked why on earth we were spending time on this when there are food banks to run and homeless people to shelter. Toben then went to a conference in Pitlochry to be one of the representatives of the diocese. It was more of the same. Really heartening, positive stuff. The tiniest scrap of faith in the organised church returned.

Then yesterday I was learning about some of the smaller church groups around the world. I find myself infuriated again. Yet again the argument that marriage is between a man and a woman because of the children reared its ugly head. I find this so insulting on so many levels. This is terrible for anyone in a same sex relationship to hear. But there are so many others that churches slap in the face with this.

The widows and widowers trying to raise their kids as best they can after the death of their spouse are turning up to church and being constantly told it takes two to raise children or they become damaged, unstable adults.

The couples who have chosen not to have kids are getting the message that their marriage is irrelevant because the church only supports breeders. What if these people are struggling with being told they are infertile?

A lot of churches seem to be really good at isolating those who need support most, and making them feel alienated and even more fragile. Good job guys.

Also, the idea that gay people can't raise children is ridiculous. I am friends with two women who are in an incredibly loving relationship and are completely devoted to each other. They have a son. He is one of the most well-balanced, accepting, and friendly little blonde haired moppets I've ever known. He is loved and cared for. He is happy. How is this wrong? I am friends with a straight couple whose son I would like to smack across the head every time I see him. I'd like to give him a lesson in no, sit down, please, thank you, and if you push me one more time I'm going to throw you off the jetty. Is this the ideal we're aiming for?

The whole notion of a marriage being solely about procreation is the ultimate insult for any couple that love each other and want to declare that in front of all their nearest and dearest. In all the vows we make during the service, we don't declare that we're only doing this so we can have children. The promises are made towards and about your spouse. If you are willing to devote yourself to one person like this, who cares what bracket you fit in?

Gay, straight, transgender, bisexual, tall, short, fat, thin. Love is love. Get over it.

Monday, 23 June 2014

I'm Tired Of This Game

Before you read this I need to say that this may be about Scottish independence, but it will not include long winded political ramblings. I'm writing about, dare I say it, how I feel about this. A novel idea, I know. I am also aware that not everyone in England can be represented by the English Government's media strategy. I am not anti-English. I am anti-anti-Scottish for the sake of it-English. If you know what I mean.

So today I was delighted to see a lovely leaflet from HM Government in with our mail. It was about the benefit to Scotland to stay in the UK, or as I read it "Why England is awesome and you should be grateful". I read it, I spotted the holes in their arguments, I felt the condescension wafting from the pages. I put it in the bin.

When all this started I was undecided. I felt like I didn't know enough to make a good decision. Then the No Campaign got started. I will admit I don't know all the information still, but I'm no longer undecided. Want to know why? Well gee, I guess I'll tell you.

The constant stream of bile and hatred that has flowed from No Campaigners has not exactly won me over. I also don't understand. If you don't like us that much, why do you want us to stay?

The lack of information has been astounding. From both sides, admittedly. I do feel however that the Yes lot have been trying to answer questions fairly, and have published a few papers recently giving more info. The leaflet I read today told me on page one it had all the answers, but then produced very generalised statements. There are 5 million businesses in the UK and Scotland will benefit from that. Excellent. How?

Seeing how much time, effort and money Westminster have put into trying to convince Scotland to stay indicates to me that Scotland is worth a lot more than they are letting on. We keep getting told we are a drain on England's resources and a financial burden, and that we offer practically nothing in return. If that's the case, why aren't you excited to get shot of us?

David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband, George Osborne, Alistair Darling. I just can't vote for these people. Alex Salmond quipped once that David Cameron is the best thing thing that ever happened to the Independence movement. He really isn't wrong.

I am fed up of being treated like a child who needs their hand held. The leaflet ended with "This is a big decision" written in large idiot-proof letters on the back page. Oh really, I hadn't noticed.

And the last thing, which is by far the best to me. I very much get the feeling that most of Scotland doesn't actually expressly want to be separate from the rest of the UK. I think that what we really want is more devolved power and the ability to decide for ourselves what happens within our own country. I thought that was obvious when we built ourselves a swanky new (ugly as sin) parliament building. If Westminster had listened to this in the first place we might not be here. If the reaction had been more like " Ok, well Independence is a bit of a leap from here, but what about if we devolved more power to you and we compromised?" instead of the resounding no, followed by threats of confiscating toys and no pocket money. Independence feels like a last resort, like it's the only way Scotland can get what it needs.

All in all, I'm a bit done with all the propaganda, big generalised claims, and name calling. Can we just have media silence from now until the vote? Can we talk about something else? It's the year of Scottish Homecoming. The Commonwealth Games are in Glasgow this year. There are awesome things happening in Scotland that need more nationwide coverage. Maybe if Scotland felt like England cared we might not be in this mess.