Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tie the knot for Elton John

Give Caesar what's Caesar's, the old saying decrees. Normally the run-up to Christmas is stacked with vacuum jollity formulas. This time, though, we approach the festive season in the knowledge that this government (for once) deserves its credit for making the UK a fairer place.

This week the Gay Partnership Scheme comes into effect in Great Britain and Northern Ireland with thousands of civil ceremonies. After decades of struggle, at last, same-sex couples will enjoy the same rights for matters of inheritance, pensions provision, life assurance and maintenance where children are involved. The Scheme also provides next of kin rights for couples, such as in their dealings with hospitals.

Lots of organisations, what I refer to as "the religious freaks", continue to oppose the Bill as they preach their sheer hatred for homosexuality in the abstract name of God, whatever happened to christian compassion. Yet, praise goes to Rabbis with the Liberal Jewish tradition as they have publicly said they will conduct services for gay couples.

One thing for sure. Today those dark, seemingly interminable, days of Section 28, Norman Tebbit and Margaret Thatcher seem a touch more distant. We won't hold a candle for them.

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