Last week a tiny minority of the country was variously quoting Leviticus, shouting “bigot!” at each other, or tweeting that it was “Literally crying at Jane McOily MP’s speech. So proud to be Labour and in favour of equal marriage”. Some had a punt at bizarrely claiming that this was all a massive conspiracy against that most maligned minority: white, straight men. Meanwhile the Online Wimmin Mob declared the whole thing was “heterosexist cisgendered biphobia” or something similar and settled into their favourite position: being outraged on the internet.
Believe me folks, you missed nuffink. However, some of us took the bullet and watched the debate so you don’t have to. Here it is in full.
SPEAKER: Order, order! We come to the second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. I call the Secretary of State.
SoS: Well, I mean, why not? It’s not like we’re living in Tudor times any more, and let’s not forget that old Hal wasn’t adverse to a bit of marital reform himself. We’re only suggesting that consenting adults who love each other should be able to get wed, rather than attempting to abolish the entire shooting match and starting again with a completely new church in order that our head of state might bend one in Anne Boleyn. Amirite, Chris Bryant, who appears to be leading on this for the Opposition, for reasons that no one can quite fathom?
CHRIS BRYANT: Cross-party high-fives from us, Secretary of State. I will now make a short speech outlining the nobility of the cause whilst looking noble myself. The physical pain I’m manifesting as a result of being in consensus with a Conservative on this subject is, at this point, not dissimilar to an extremely unpleasant hernia.
SPEAKER: I know many Members want to speak, and I am determined to get though as many as possible, if not all. There will be a four minute limit, therefore, on backbench rantings, references to sodomy, and barely disguised fear of “The Gays”. If you are going to be quoting the Bible, please reference chapter and verse for the benefit of the Hansard stenographers, and the Speaker’s Trainbearer is on standby with a cold cloth that can be applied to the temples if any Hon. Member gets overexcited by their thoughts about buggery. I call Mr Robert Windbag!
WINDBAG: Without reverting to hyperbole, this is the end of civilisation as we know it. The logical conclusion of this is brothers and sisters marrying. I never thought I’d see the day when this House would legislate in favour of incest. It is, verily, the end of days: the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, clad in pink feather boas, are upon us. Shame!
[Cries of “Shame!”]
SPEAKER: Mr Harry Puritan!
PURITAN: I know that many of my colleagues who sit with me on the Labour benches are in favour of this measure. Let me be clear: I am not necessarily against it. However, we need more time. Therefore, I am suggesting that the Programme Motion be amended in order that we can have three hundred more days debating this measure, followed by a Committee of the Whole House and, if the ayes still have it, a referendum. On an issue of such constitutional importance, it is only right that it isn’t rushed through, and a long and thoughtful period of consultation is undertaken ensuring that the measure is balanced, fair, and comes into force slightly after hell freezes over.
[A few muttered “Hear hears!”]
DUP MEMBER: This Bill is an abomination against all that is just and right. For does the Bible not say that homosexuality is a sin?
DUP MEMBER: And is it not written that righteous men should sally forth, and smite sin and sinners, wheresoever we might find them?
ALL: Yea! Yea!
DUP MEMBER: Stand with me then, brothers and sisters – well, mainly brothers. But not in a gaymosexual way – and strike it out!
ALL: Strike it out!
DUP MEMBER: LET IT BE STRICKEN!
ALL: YEA! YEA!
SPEAKER: Order! OR-DER! I call Peter Bone!
BONE: I believe there should be a referendum on gay marriage at the same time as the poll on the exit from the European Union. Rumours that I am, in fact, a Labour sleeper cell, and am proposing this motion so on that day in 2017 the Tories self-implode in an orgiastic frenzy of hatred for The Village People, eating pastry for breakfast, manbags and the French ... are wildly over-exaggerated.
SPEAKER: Labour MP!
LABOUR MP: I’d like to read to the House this email from my constituent. “Dear Labour MP. I completely agree with your stance on equal marriage. Please vote in favour of the Bill.”
SPEAKER: Conservative MP!
CONSERVATIVE MP: I’d like to read to the House this letter from my constituent. “Dear Conservative MP. I completely agree with your stance on equal marriage. Please vote against the Bill.”
Question put, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
... and if you think that was medieval, wait until the Bill hits the House of Lords!