Thursday, 10 May 2012

The momentous news

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

The rain fell. I rather oddly ate quiche for lunch. I never eat quiche, not through prejudice, but mostly because I do not much fancy it. I had a sudden seventies moment and had some. It rather reminded me why I don’t eat it very much. There’s nothing wrong with it, but there’s nothing hugely right with it either. If I were a whizz at pastry, I might make my own, but I’m mostly in ham sandwich territory just now, on account of the book.

I did work. I snuck a peek at the Chester Vase. I was dimly aware that Andy Coulson was saying things to Lord Leveson which seemed to be making people on Twitter snigger and make naughty Rebekah Brooks jokes. And then I, rather randomly, followed a link to MOMENTOUS NEWS. I mostly shun the erratic use of capital letters, preferring the quiet dignity of italics. But sometimes capitals are the only things which will do, and this is one of those times.

The MOMENTOUS NEWS is that Barack Obama has declared himself in favour of gay marriage.

This is huge for about twenty-seven reasons. The farther reaches of the Republican and Religious Right have been saying many disobliging about gay people lately; Mitt Romney even let a spokesman go, apparently because of his sexuality. North Carolina recently added an amendment against same sex marriage to its constitution. There appear to be some people who genuinely believe that homosexuality is the work of Satan. I do not think they are being metaphorical.

So, for President Obama to say this is a truly historic thing.

When I read the story, I felt incredibly happy. I also felt oddly relieved, as if I had been holding my breath. I had not realised how much I minded about this. I watch a lot of Rachel Maddow via the miracle of the internet, and she covers the darker shores of the argument quite a lot, so perhaps it had gone into my consciousness like a thorn, and lodged there.

I’ve never really understood the argument against gay marriage. There are lots of arguments with which I do not agree which I understand perfectly. I am a fairly big government person, but I completely get the small government side, and think it makes some good points. (I believe in government on quite an emotional level, and am willing to admit my faith in it may sometimes be misplaced.)

But the idea that two people may love each other and want to commit their lives to each other and then are told they may not because of their gender seems to me inexplicable.

I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, say the true believers. But why? Marriage used to be between a white man and a white woman; interracial matches were outlawed. No one could explain that either. History moved on; it moves now. The young people do not understand the fuss. (This is when I love the young people very much.) They have gay friends, they have straight friends; the vast majority of them cannot see the difference.

Oh, civil unions, people say. There is a faint whiff of the throwing of a bone. Chew on that, Gays, and let us get on with our day. You can have your piece of paper, but you can’t have real marriage, because you are not good enough. You are not quite up to it, like the Straights are. It slightly reminds me of the time when women were not allowed a university education, because it was felt their intellects were not up to it. The ladies were sentimentally lauded as the angel in the house, but could not go to Oxford in case their tiny pink brains exploded.

I was really pleased about civil partnerships, because it was so much better than what went before. One of the happiest days of my life was going to one, in the blinding sunshine of south London, holding a fat bunch of tulips. I called it a marriage; it felt like a marriage; it is being lived as a marriage. Now I think: come on, let everyone have the real thing. This odd first class, second class situation makes no objective sense.

I felt incredibly proud when David Cameron declared his support for gay marriage last year; I like very much that some Tories are calling it a truly Conservative argument instead of harrumphing about tradition. There is some backwoods backlash, but I really hope the Prime Minister sticks to his guns. They are great guns.

Beyond anything, it is a simple matter of fairness, and I think the British like fairness very much.

Love is love, says my wise sister. When you see love, why would you try and tell it it comes in the wrong variety? We need more love, not less. If people are so devoted that they wish to promise love in sickness and health, for richer for poorer, we should put up bunting. The human heart beats and yearns and lifts and falls just the same in the chests of all sexualities; it knows no difference.

All the same, there are people for whom there really does seem to be a difference, and that is why I think what President Obama did was brave, and fine, and, most of all, true. So I am hanging out more flags.


Despite the rain, I took some garden photographs:

10th May 1 10-05-2012 10-21-43 3024x4032

10th May 2 10-05-2012 10-21-49 3024x4032

10th May 3 10-05-2012 10-22-25 3024x4032

10th May 4 10-05-2012 10-22-42 4032x3024

10th May 5 10-05-2012 10-23-49 3024x4032

10th May 6 10-05-2012 10-28-04 4032x3024

Red the Mare, from yesterday, when there was some light:

10th May 10 09-05-2012 09-37-24 4032x3024

Myfanwy the pony:

10th May 12 09-05-2012 09-35-11 4032x3024

Their view:

10th May 10 09-05-2012 09-38-58 4008x1156

Pigeon, with patient, waiting for the ball face:

10th May 11 10-05-2012 10-26-14 3024x4032

And yesterday's hill, as today it is hiding bashfully in the murk:

10th May 15 08-05-2012 19-07-12 3094x1599


  1. There's a brilliant column by Hugo Rifkind on the subject, the main thrust of which is "'Ewww' isn't an argument." Your sister is quite spot on.

    (I do love a good quiche, especially with really fresh eggs and plenty of good cheddar in the mix. Delish.)

    1. Blonde - I love Hugo Rifkind. He makes me laugh a lot, and I think writes exceptionally well. And ewww is really not an argument; how clever he is to point that out. Going to read now. :)

  2. I am so proud of Obama in this. I have remained convinced that while he may not be especially good at navigating some political waters, he does want to make the US a better place. That's difficult when you run into the wall of mindless opposition he has, not only from Republicans, but sometimes from his own party as well. To see him say, virtually, "To hell with it; I don't care how many (Religious Right and Tea Partiers) I offend--this is the right thing to do" restores hope.

    It is, as you say, about love. No one should have the right to deny that for others.


    1. Bird - so agree. I think he does a pretty good job in very difficult circumstances. I also have increasing faith in his long game; I think he is a strategic rather than tactical thinker, which may pay off in November.

  3. Definitely worth the all-caps, and hooray for the educated young people who don't understand the fuss. I've felt the exact same way for years. I have always prided myself for being able to look at all sides of an argument, and although I am opinionated, I can look at an issue from the other side and relate to other positions. On this topic, however, I have always been stumped. It makes absolutely no sense to me why someone would want to deny a couple this right.

    North Carolina is where I grew up, and I was so sad to see the results of their recent election. That said, I am optimistic by the fact that the statistics are moving in the right direction. And President Obama's support is a hugely important step as well. We'll get there - not fast enough, but we'll get there. Similar to interracial marriage, we'll get to a point when all those who were against it won't publicly admit it.

    Oh dear. I've gone on, haven't I? Sorry - guess it's been top of mind for me too! I'm so happy and proud to live in one of the few states where gay marriage is legal.

    1. Mary - fascinating comment; thank you. And so interesting to hear from a North Carolina native daughter. And I agree; there is steady progress, I really do think.

  4. So glad to hear this news on Obama, especially at a time when North Carolina has chosen to impose this horrible ban. What message does that send to young gay people in that state? It's just too awful. I do hope that the Obama view is the one that endures. I mean oh my goodness, it's LOVE ffs, it's a good thing.

    As always, I appreciate your blogs so much. Sending happy thoughts your way, and to the Pigeon and lovely Red.

    Jonathan, Devon (formerly Warwickshire, you may remember)

    1. Jonathan - how lovely to hear from you. I had been wondering whether you were still reading. And how delightful that you are now in beautiful Devon. And I love: it's LOVE ffs. Exactly. :)

  5. All those little stones chinking the dry stone wall--lovely. Well, our president has burned the last bigot bridge to reelection. I salute him and I pray those of us who support him can reelect him.

    1. Joanne - that's the part of the wall that the wonderful old gentleman fixed for me. Didn't he do a brilliant job?

  6. Yes, yes, yes. We should be celebrating the fact that two people are choosing to commit themselves to a lifetime of love and faithfulness, not turning our backs on them. I'm proud of Obama and I'm not even able to vote for him.

    1. Lillyanne - could not agree more. :)

  7. I bloody love the idea of pink brains exploding; that's the favourite thing I've read all day! And as for gay marriage, I agree, there is no objective justification for it not being equivalent to straight marriage. Lou x

  8. It's exactly what I think too, Tania, but the alterations and redefinitions of socially acceptable coupling will not be endless. We cannot legislate against love, I utterly agree. Unless, of course (I hear a chorus cry in five-part harmony from the wings) one of the people is under 16 and the other is well over 20. In which case it is wrong. Well, the love is maybe not wrong, but any sex is. We still have limits, personally and as a society, and I don't see that particular barrier being broken any day soon.

    Lines in the sand, and all...

    1. Oh, BTW, I am booked in for my first riding lesson in forty years next week, on a handsome black gelding who showed his affection for me, when I visited the various possibilities in the yard, by shoving his nose in my shoulder bag and then nipping my wrist because I had nothing to offer him! The teacher took it that we had bonded because all I did was laugh indulgently.

      I blame you, and Red, and all your endearingness. What have you started?

  9. It is absolutely Momentous News. I did some tricky driving when I heard it on the news as I was so excited; rapidly flipping through the radio stations to hear the whole story while doing a parallel park!
    I feel the same way about Obama. I wish we had someone of his calibre.
    Gorgeous three, by the way.:)

  10. Can you believe it to be the same country where two cuddling women are an issue?

  11. I, a dedicated apolitical personage, applaud our president. I'm not sure the words that came out of his mouth were engendered in his own heart (he sounded rather as if they were being pressed from him unwillingly) but I'm glad that his support of letting people be equal and free may change things for the better.

    Love is love.

    So glad Obama finally put it out there (wondering if bumbling Biden had anything to do with or was he deliberately sent out to pave the way...No matter! Also find the phrase "civil marriage" to be almost oxymoronic; how many marriages are always "civil"!?! However, this is not the time to make cheap jokes...)
    Witnessing this from Philadelphia, aka the "City of 'Brotherly' Love" with a (soul) sister from our early days in Brussels.


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