It’s my Opinion

ATTITUDES towards gay people have changed quite dramatically in my life to the extent that I am surprised there has been any doubt about parliament voting to allow same-sex marriages.

But there again it is hard for me to forget the bias, the bigotry, bordering on irrational hatred existing towards homosexuality when I was growing up in my native Scottish Borders.

Even the language of the day legislated against any person of doubtful sexuality. For those of you who like me grew up in the 1950’s you will recall the taunting, dismissive words that made me squirm.

Goodness knows what it was like to be gay. Persons of such persuasion were not likely to come out in the face of such biased, provoking, hostility. They existed, but must have lived thoroughly miserable lives in the face of such nastiness.

So this being the case, when did we start to adopt more rational, sympathetic views towards gay people of both sexes?

Probably in the mid 1960’s when I was a student, involving myself in discussions in which our sexuality was freely discussed, and certainly in the 1970’s when I had a number of gay friends, though mainly among the male species. The female revolution came later, and I am happy to say some of my strongest, loving relationships are with women of gay persuasion.

Such an admission would have once upon a time brought the house down on me, even now I suspect there will be those among my less liberal contacts who will be horrified by my frankness.

But such is their cowardice not one of them will openly confront me, instead retreating to the comfort of their ignorance among like-minded bigots.

No the decks are now clear for a more open debate, particularly in church circles where massive doubts still exist in the minds of the few who still attend church.

I would be particularly keen to know if the issue same-sex marriages came up in the Ellon Parish Church meeting held last week in which the future was being discussed after the trauma of losing a minister.

I wish the same church well, but would welcome a more open attitude from those responsible for taking it forward. Will they for example welcome comment from the secular side of the town?

I would love to participate in such an open forum, and as a former lay preacher, and employee of the Church of Scotland, believe I have something to offer.

In the meantime I applaud the courage of David Cameron for daring to stand up to his out-of-touch back-woodsmen who would, if they could, bring him down. The same applies up here, where Alex Salmond has taken a similar stance on same-sex marriages, incurring the wrath of more than a few.

To those who still have doubts about such marriages I would say the institution of marriage has evolved over time. It will continue to evolve even further, there is no going back.