The news headlines are full of news about LGBT issues today.
In England and Wales, the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill returns to the House of Commons for the next two days to go through its third reading, further debate, and a vote by MPs tomorrow afternoon. The main threat to it has been the attempted amendment to extend civil partnerships to opposite sex couples, which looks more like a stalling tactic than a genuine attempt. If the House of Commons votes in favour tomorrow, the next hurdle will be the House of Lords on Wednesday.
A little closer to home, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland happens this week and today they have been talking about the ordination of LGBT ministers and particularly ministers-who-happen-to-be-LGBT-and-in-civil-partnerships. They voted a few minutes ago in favour of a convoluted neither yes nor no option that Kelvin has explained better than I can attempt to. This has been an ongoing debate in the Church of Scotland for over a decade, but particularly since 2009, when Scott Rennie was appointed minister of Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen.
On the radio tonight, I heard a lesbian minister in the Kirk tell the General Assembly that this is painful for her because for two decades she has had to listen to the Church debate whether or not it accepts her as part of it. This is quite often how I feel about the Anglican Communion. Justin Welby shuddered theatrically a couple of weeks ago during an interview with the Financial Times when presented with the idea of two men kissing. The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church meets in a couple of weeks and we will be faced with more of the stalling and the delaying and the refusal to actually talk about any of it. The churches forget, sometimes, I think, that this is not an academic exercise but a conversation about actual people who are caused real pain by it.
And not in the news headlines but a lot closer to home, Professor John Curtice, who is professor of politics at Strathclyde University and our resident expert, as well as the resident expert of the BBC – you may know him from such niche programmes as Newsnight – on public opinion in the UK, will be speaking at St Mary’s on this coming Sunday at 12.15pm about public opinion on equal marriage.
It’s all go, here.