Interestingly, there were more arguments against equal marriage than I expected to see. I was surprised by the volume of people who spoke with such furore and passion about an issue I assumed had become fairly accepted in this modern day age. For example, Conservative MP Nadine Dorries gave a very passionate but bizarre speech focusing almost entirely on sex, whereas Conservative MP Roger Gale suggesting if equal marriage is bought in, we may as well legalise incestuous marriage. It seems homophobia is still deeply rooted within the minds of some, and even well educated, 'normal' people cannot get past the idea that homosexuality is nothing more than a perversion of society. However it is with great pride and happiness that my future wife and I sat together as the majority vote was announced. 400 for, 175 against. Although it is not yet 'legal', we are now safe in the knowledge that ONE day, and one day fairly soon, we will be treated with exactly the same rights as those in a heterosexual relationship, and we will be able to get married.
As many people will know, L and I have always, and will continue to refer to our big day as our wedding day. We will continue to call each other a fiancee, a wife, and two brides, even though our day will technically be a Civil Partnership as it will happen before the first same-sex marriages will take place. But for us, even as we enter in to a civil partnership and will consider if we are going to convert our commitment to a marriage when the time is right, we will never see the day we exchange our vows as being anything less than the wedding it is. Our relationship will be cemented in marriage, regardless of the specific words we are legally allowed to use. But with the passing of this bill brings full and true equality, and for that we are very grateful. We feel a huge sense of pride to be included in the approximately 100,000 couples who have had a Civil Partnership since 2005, and as we saw it put on twitter 'whose love would not wait for the law'!
We have at times worried that our ceremony would feel different, as there is no romance wrapped up in the announcement that you are now civil partners, but we now realise just little difference it will make. The words chosen for our ceremony are beautiful, and could not be made any more heartfelt or special by the addition or change of a couple of extra words or legalities. We have chosen our beautiful dresses and sparkly shoes, we have our bridesmaids, our pretty pink flowers, our vows, we have chosen suits for our dads to wear so they'll look smart as they walk us down the aisle, and most importantly we'll have the people we love there to see us make this everlasting commitment to each other.
To us, and to our guests, it's a wedding. If we choose to, in the future, we can have our civil partnership converted to a marriage, although I understand why this isn't of importance to some couples already in civil partnerships, and we haven't decided what our stance is on this. It may be that we simply make an appointment to sign the papers at a registry office, with our very close family, and then go for a lovely meal afterwards. It may be that we decide to do nothing at all, but then that goes against all that we believe, because we really do want to be equal, and we really do want to have a wife, not a civil partner. But one thing we agree on without certainty is that we will not have another 'wedding day'. Regardless of the words we use, on July 4th 2013, the day we stand there and say our vows, put our wedding rings on each others fingers, and celebrate with all our family and friends, that will be our wedding day.