Progress and reform, the children of the Reformation and Enlightenment, the twin beacons of civilised modernity, is not a grand march but a plod with sudden dramatic dashes. Lest we exult, remember it was only in 1697 that Thomas Aikenhead was hanged in Edinburgh for dissing Christianity and we abolished slavery in the Empire only in 1833 and horrors went on here after that.

Nevertheless, we do progress: little boys are no longer shoved up chimneys and women are no longer the chattels of their husbands. The list is long and impressive. Of course we differ in how to realise the conflicting specifics of fraternity, liberty, and egality, but they are the defining standards against which we measure our society.

From 29 March 2014 homosexuals in Britain (but not Northern Ireland) are able to solemnise their committed relationship as marriage. This is a good day for people and equality and love. Civilisation grows. Progress and reform dash.


22 May 2013

“This bill will make a lot of people’s lives much better” Diane Abbott Hansard 21 May 2013 column 1167

The Commons passed the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill yesterday by 366 votes to 161 on third reading (Hansard 21 May 2013 column 1169). It now goes to the Lords. Details of the bill are here.

An injustice is on the way to being righted.

This is a summary of Hansard’s record of how Cornwall MP votes at second and third readings of the bill.

Second reading 5 February 2013 (Hansard division 151 column 231)
Voted for: Andrew George, Stephen Gilbert, Sarah Newton, Dan Rogerson
No vote recorded: George Eustice, Sheryll Murray

Third reading 21 May 2013 (Hansard division 11 column 1169)
Voted for: Andrew George, Stephen Gilbert, Dan Rogerson
No vote recorded: George Eustice, Sheryll Murray, Sarah Newton

Sarah Newton has confirmed she abstained at third reading: read here.


21 August 2008

Not so long ago in England homosexual behaviour was an imprisonable offence and homosexuals were vulnerable to vile bigotry and blackmail. That has happily changed, legally and socially. Yes, there are some who think that homosexual behaviour is morally wrong and, separately, bigotry still exists, especially among some religionists. However, most people are tolerant and accepting of homosexuality: civil partnerships are a fair and sensible mark of the new welcoming attitude.

This is leading me to the coming weekend and a gay pride event. In Truro, the main town of Cornwall, there will be a parade and a fair with stalls, singers, dancers, and comedians.

Significantly, police officers will take part in the parade and apparently the flag of the Gay Police Association will fly from Truro police station. The chief constable of Devon and Cornwall is supportive.

I expect there will be complaints but I welcome Cornwall gay pride and this touch of civilisation.

A year ago I wrote this post: what a change.


9 October 2007

Here are two articles, by Libby Purves and Andrew O’Hagan, which ooze civilised sense about the nature of religious and philosophic tolerance and the importance of live-and-let-live and not imposing your beliefs upon others. I wholly agree with their sentiments.

The news from Christians has been dispiriting of late. The Anglican church has, as far as I can see, gone along with those who think homosexual acts are evil and damned in their Bible and that homosexual committed partnerships cannot be recognised in their churches and homosexuals cannot be Anglican mahoffs. Francisco Chimoio, Catholic archbishop in Mozambique, has said condoms from two unnamed countries of Europe are deliberately infected with HIV, unbelievable views which leave me speechless. And here’s an item from Nicaragua on the effects of a Catholic prohibition on abortion.

Mehr Licht, said the dying Goethe. I think liberals should also take to heart his other words, Ohne hast aber ohne Rast.

This is an extraordinary account about an attempt to arrange a civil partnership ceremony in Cornwall. The registration service should investigate and publicly explain. In the meantime I wish the couple well.

click here

(Cornish Dreamer: ‘Civil partnerships and homophobia’)