Today, Maria Miller made a statement on the Government’s plans for same-sex marriages. And I should have been happy, because it’s been a long time coming.
But I wasn’t, and I’m still not. I’ve been thinking about why all afternoon and most of the evening (even through two-and-a-half hour the AGM I attended), and I think I know why.
I wanted to see MPs support it, to reaffirm what many have been saying – that it’s right, that it’s about time, that it’ll get through. But that’s not what I saw.
What I saw was a statement from Yvette Cooper decrying the ‘rowing back’ of marriage when, only the day before, the Labour party went back on a promise to have a whipped vote – the very same party that held the courage of their convictions when in government and did exactly that.
What I saw was a Government minister have to respond politely to people accusing her of playing God; of being intolerant; of being bigoted; of going against her Tory beliefs; of ruining life itself.
What I saw was a Tory MP stand up and be heckled for wanting what those around him could freely have, purely because of their sexuality; watched him sit there and have to listen while the people he has to work with every single day said what he wanted wasn’t normal, an abomination.
What I saw were MPs in favour stand up and criticise the lack of equality for the straight majority* and not for the trans community; for the pro-religious freedom aspect to somehow be even moreso, when the church they attend has legal rights beyond reasonable doubt.
What I saw? Was a more than half-empty chamber, with no high profile front/shadow front benchers in sight to combat the majority letting them get away with this.
So yes, I am angry. To see such overpowering indifference from those who purport to be in favour; who let the ‘opposition’ speak long and hard and loud; who let them go unchallenged but for the minister’s constrained answer.
This? Matters. And if you believe it matters, start showing it.
(*For the record, I am pro civil partnerships for all, but once the question was asked once, why ask it again? That’s something for the first and second readings)