Tuesday, 6 May 2014

What A Difference A Kiss Makes

Chatting with internet friends today, I bothered to check and see that 17 of America's 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, have ratified gay marriage. So has Uruguay, so has France. So has the UK (well, apart from Northern Ireland, which only seems to be united when it wants to be). It was only in 1996 that the America Congress passed the "Defence of Marriage Act", which the Supreme Court has since declared unconstitutional. And, although I sulk about the retarded crassness of the Churches to be part of this revolution, and in particular, my own Church of England's insistence on being protected by law from having to look reality in the face, I also see the amazing steps forward that people all round the world have been making, for the sake of a small (but let's admit it, glamorous and rather wonderful) minority.

And with such thoughts on my mind I was hobbling towards Cowley to sort things out at the building society which can only be sorted in person, and I saw two forms in the middle distance. At first I thought they were a girl and boy. Obviously teenagers, dressed from school, it was that time of day. But no, on coming into closer focus I saw that the willowy dark one was a tall black boy of perhaps Ethiopian ancestry, the other a meatier white Barton chav. They were clinched in the tightest embrace, sealed, before they parted with a passionate kiss.

What were they? 14, 16? I can't guess that. They weren't full-grown, but they were adult height, at least as tall as me. And I wondered as they parted their separate ways to go home to the "tea" (this is Barton) their mothers will have ready for them, whether their mothers know, and if they do, what they think, and if they don't, what they might.

And then I thought it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks, because that kiss in broad daylight on the street said it all - that it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks any more. We are free to live and love and pursue our happiness however we choose.

This is what we have fought for. It is happening. The truth is making people free.

Richard Haggis
Barton-upon-Bayswater, Oxford
May 2014

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