Thursday, 21 November 2013

Just for reference: fifteen MSPs to fire

Yesterday was surely one of the Scottish Parliament's finest hours. A non-partisan, thoughtful and often moving debate took place on the principles of gay marriage, as MSPs prepared to vote on legislation for the first time to make equal marriage a reality.

For the first time in my life I found myself roundly applauding and agreeing with  both Ruth Davidson and Jackie Baillie. I half expected to see a pig whoosh past my window into the night sky.

While the first hurdle to enacting this legislation was passed by a pleasingly crushing 98 - 15, just as a point of reference, here are the fifteen who voted against homosexual couples having the right to marriage:

Alasdair Allan (Na h-Eileanan an Iar - SNP)

Gavin Brown (Lothian - Conservative)

Roseanna Cunningham (Perthshire South & Kinrossshire - SNP)

Nigel Don (Angus North & Mearns - SNP)

Fergus Ewing (Inverness & Nairn - SNP)

Alex Fergusson (Galloway & West Dumfries - Conservative)

Murdo Fraser (Mid Scotland & Fife - Conservative)

Alex Johnstone (North East Scotland - Conservative)

Richard Lyle (Central Scotland - SNP)

John Mason (Glasgow Shettleston - SNP)

Jamie McGrigor (Highlands & Islands - Conservative)

Nanette Milne (North East Scotland - Conservative)

Margaret Mitchell (Central Scotland - Conservative)

Elaine Smith (Coatbridge & Chryston - Labour)

Liz Smith (Mid Scotland & Fife - Conservative)

While we're at it, there were also five abstentions, but perhaps they just couldn't make it. These things happen. If you want to see who they were as well, you can do so here.

I'm not trying to start a witchhunt, by the way. I'm just reprinting these names as a point of reference, namely for the purposes of the 2016 Holyrood Election. Unfortunately, a significant number are List MSPs. Nonetheless, they all need to go in 2016.

As Alex Neil pointed out at yesterday's debate, naysayers can no longer hide the "protections" gambit - the rights of religious bodies and celebrants have been fully respected and protected within the bill. The only reason to oppose gay marriage in Scotland now is simply because you don't want it in principle. It saddens me that in twenty-first century, outward-looking Scotland, some of our elected representatives still try to impede equality - albeit less than 10% of them.

My uncle has been with his partner for thirty years. In fact, I call them both "Uncle". I think I was around fifteen or sixteen when they had their civil partnership ceremony. It was a beautiful service out on Arran. I remember I was certainly under-age for drinking alcohol, but somehow wound up quite drunk.

They're the same as any married couple I've ever met. They love each other the same, they bicker the same and at the end of every day they go to bed in the same bed.

I don't respect, nor have any time for, anyone who would deny them the rights of any two people who love and care for each other to have that reflected in law, equal to any other couple.

If you feel the same, remember the fifteen who said No. Because they need fired.

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