I got a response from my MSP this morning. It was slow in coming but detailed, reasoned and courteous all the same. I know him and he is a good guy. But it told me what I already knew. He had made his mind up and would not be changing. He would be voting for the bill when it comes to parliament. It was a matter of justice, of equal rights, of inclusiveness and while those with “deeply held beliefs” would be respected and would be protected in law, there was no going back.
For a long time now we could see it was a done deal, as the leaders of all parties were in line on this issue and the voices against restricted to a small minority, it was inevitable that the legislation would pass into law without a hitch.
Looking back, you cannot but be impressed by the way those agitating for same sex marriage went about their campaign. Any group wanting to change the way society works could learn much from it. It was planned and executed with great skill and meticulous care. First the population had to be softened up and this was done with the introduction of civil partnerships. Once this act was safely embedded in, then the main campaign could begin in earnest. An early tactic was to change the words from “same sex” to “equal”. It was so simple, clever and effective. No one could be against equality. Next, the pre-emptive strikes on anyone who would dare to oppose the change- witness the ferocious attack on John Mason for having the temerity to suggest that no individual should be forced to approve of same sex marriage. But the real weapon was the threat of the “H” word (homophobia). This weapon, more than any other, strikes fear into the heart and, the mere possibility of its use, silences the opposition and turns nerves of steel into quivering jelly. With the public softened up, the lone voices ridiculed and the sensitive cowed and intimidated, there remained the rump of the opposition in the shape of the church and the mosques. Here the campaign was handed a series of gifts. An alliance of disparate religious groups (Unitarians, Quakers, Pagans, and Liberal Jews) lead by a celebrity cleric the former bishop of Edinburgh declared their support. The Church of Scotland dithered, wobbled and fudged their way through consultations, commissions and debates and the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, while stoutly defending the case against all odds, was effectively torpedoed with the disgrace and demise of its leader and most vocal advocate. Pockets of resistance remained in the Muslim community and the evangelical church but astonishingly, in the later, cracks were beginning to show. Many evangelicals spoke of not coming to a settled view on the issue. Well known media evangelicals like Tony and Peggy Campolo could parade their doubts and uncertainties in a series of presentations disguised as a “dialogue” . The lack of any clarity was all that the campaign needed to push home its advantage and secure the victory. It was a campaign of breath-taking boldness, and speed and one of which Norman Schwarzkopf would have been proud. The instigators will be mighty pleased that it was carried off with such aplomb and in such little time. It is now left to the people of Scotland, to our children and their children, to come to terms with the reality of what this will in fact mean. For it is abundantly clear that none of the protagonists have the slightest idea of where this might lead or what they have so casually unleashed.