Narvel Annable I'll never get married but I'll fight for the rights of other gay people to be wed
RESPONDING to Soapbox, of December 31, "Let's hope for same-sex marriage progress in 2013", I received a letter.
It was challenging, thoughtful and a well-constructed argument around speeches in the House of Commons of February 5. I found the writer's effort exhilarating, educating and clarifying.
"Narvel! What are you doing? Why are you, of all people, campaigning for same-sex marriage? Do you really want us to mimic that arcane institution?
"I don't want to be part of that establishment which has suppressed us for centuries. Your novels celebrate gay guys enjoying their sexuality and the freedom it confers.
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"You describe a golden age, the early days of gay liberation when we espoused our sexual freedom as our gift and privilege.
"Do you really want us to join the dull, heterosexual, sad, married and respectable, law-abiding bigots?"
Terry and I have probably had the benefit of a more interesting and colourful life than the average heterosexual.
We are unlikely to get married. "Forsaking all others" is alien to my very being. Accordingly, it seems a civil partnership is probably more suitable for me.
I make no apology for a pattern of behaviour imprinted by association with a 1950s secret sect hiding away from the law and visceral abhorrence from an ignorant, smug, po-faced, so-called respectable majority.
However, we had the privilege of dining with Councillor Ian Campbell, former Mayor of Retford and leading light of the gay community.
Having suffered horrendous homophobia, he has worked hard, becoming an excellent role model for young gay people.
We were chatting about relationships when I revealed our partnership to be open. Ian said he couldn't cope with an open relationship but was careful not to express or imply any criticism of my conduct.
Tottenham MP David Lammy reminded us about 1950s laws of South African apartheid.
Black people were restricted to their own water fountain, had to sit on blacks-only benches, were ordered to the back of the bus, confined to live in ghettos.
"What are you complaining about!" yelled the bigots. "You are separate, but you are equal. Be satisfied!"
In that historic Commons debate, David told us: "Separate is never equal."
Several MPs trotted out the old mantra, "What do we tell the children?" Answer – stop telling children lies.
Marriage is an institution in decline, rooted in inequality. Notwithstanding, I have campaigned for same-sex marriage for people like Ian Campbell and all boys and girls, yet to be born, who, quite rightly, will insist on equality with heterosexuals.
I've enjoyed some of my life but want a better life for those people who will come after me.