Today I find myself blogging about something which can divide opinion – it’s not an issue I struggle with myself. Gay marriage is one step closer. Thank goodness.
I must admit that when it reached the House of Lords, I didn’t imagine that the vote would pass with such a majority. The fact that it did suggests to me that the time is right – now is the time.
There are some of you who will read this post who will feel very conflicted about gay marriage – and the definition of marriage being a union between a man and a woman.
I don’t find any conflict at all.
There will be people who will think that I cannot believe in God and support gay marriage. Well, I’m afraid and I do and I do. You can argue this biblical thing or that biblical thing but I will still stand my ground. I won’t shout my corner, I will just believe in it because I feel it’s right in my heart.
Why? Well, there are several reasons. I’ve always worked in an industry where many people are gay or bi-sexual. I’ve learned through years of having friends and colleagues who are this or that way inclined that being happy and true to yourself is so important.
Too many people in the past have hidden their true sexuality and done the ‘right’ things like get married and have children only to cause pain later on. I know at least one person personally who’s done that. What good does that do in the end?
Tell me, which one is gay? Does it matter?
I have friends who have been in same sex partnerships for many, many years and their relationships are fantastic. So what right do I have to say they are not entitled to be married? If that’s what they want. I’m married and I cherish the relationship.
It’s crazy to me that, only a few years ago, you could have been with your same sex partner for 20 or 30 years and, if your partner died, you could be left with nothing. Where’s the justice in that?
At the weekend I watched Lincoln and the story of the political jiggery-pokery which apparently went on when he was trying to get the 13th amendment passed which made slavery illegal. The same religious arguments were put forward then as to why slavery should stay in place. Beliefs which seem utterly disgusting now. Men who really thought that the colour of skin dictated a level of superiority and that this was dictated by God – clearly.
I wonder if our children will look back and think the same of this debate now….
Racism has been on my mind this week for three reasons.
One I’m making a film for broadcast which, by its nature, brings up issues of racism. The film is not about racism but the subject matter means that it’s inevitable that it’s discussed during filmed interviews.
There was also the case of footballer John Terry where he was found not guilty by a magistrate. That too made me think. And we’ll hear more on that one as he’s also subject to a further investigation which doesn’t require the overwhelming burden of proof that the criminal court demands.
So imagine these things are spinning around in my space.
Then the third thing happened – racism walked through my door.
One of my children was talking with a friend, who doesn’t go to the same school. Indeed, this child’s parents were so anxious to give their child the best possible education they sent her to school miles and miles away. This child doesn’t have white skin, though I’ve never even considered that to be relevant to anything.
This child is beautiful, intelligent, a positive influence who has brought my family into contact with a new culture, new beliefs and has generally enriched our lives.
But she is suffering racism at school – it’s bullying with a ‘black’ tag and it’s something she’s never experienced before. It appears she got into spat with a child who had been a friend and it’s escalated, involving other voices and messages on Facebook and texts which involve racist comments.
This child appears at a loss to know what to do, we’re not even sure she’s told her parents. We feel that this is because the family have sacrificed much to send her to this school and she doesn’t want to let them down. In her primary school life this child didn’t have any moments like this so it’s come as a real shock.
And it came as a shock to me. I’m amazed by how terribly angry I feel and how impotent. What can I do? I don’t know her parents well enough to go around and tell them what’s going on – my child will feel like I’m betraying a trust. Something that needed to be discussed with me in confidence. I don’t know the name of the school.
But my anger is this – why would any child think it’s okay to do that? If my child did anything like that there would be such serious consequences at home – no phone, no tv, all rewards removed until earned through respect. And what about that school? What action would be taking if it was drawn to their attention?
Would they call in parents and then the police? Or will they gently talk through it, chat to the children concerned and hope it all goes away. What’s the betting it’s the latter.
There are no easy answers to this but we must make it clear that it’s utterly intolerable. A teenager today should not have to spend even one second of their life worrying about a racist slur.
What would you do?
Life isn't black or white....