It takes some getting used to – this new found state of being included and not excluded. It feels like waking up one morning to find that the barriers outside which you have camped for so long have miraculously shifted. They moved overnight without your knowing and suddenly you are no longer outside the circle but have found a place within it. What a bewildering mix of feelings – surprise, delight, disorientation, disbelief – but no, it;s true!
Overwhelmingly, in both Houses, the votes of the UK Parliament declared ‘Yes!’. The dignity of committed same-sex relationships has been resoundingly affirmed.
Yet, flicking through the newspapers, or listening to radio and TV broadcasts the day after, you might not have guessed. After the noisesome clamour of all the debates of 2003, ‘how silently, how silently’ this came. A ‘wondrous gift’ indeed for Advent. But of course! No fanfare of trumpets greets the dawn – nor did they on that resurrection morning, when a small group of bewildered women rose to find a boulder moved and new found hope dispelling fear.
Hats off to all those whose patient, painstaking, courageous work has come to such fruition. Like that other biblical story of good neighbourliness, it is not those conspicuously wearing the label ‘holy’ who have been in the forefront of shelling out the time and expense required. So ‘three cheers’ for today’s ‘Good Samaritans’ – organisations, like Stonewall, who have worked tirelessly for the good of all. And ‘ three cheers’ for all the individuals whose lives, lived courageously, have convinced their friends, family and colleagues not to fear.