The government has announced that same sex couples will be able to marry in England and Wales from March 29, 2014 which is earlier than expected. While certain rather backward members of the establishment and society will undoubtedly be indignant, the move is right and just and will bring a welcome boost to the wedding industry.
The Bridal Industry
I have worked in the bridal industry for over 8 years and have seen steady decline in the health of my business as the numbers of weddings decline gradually year on year. Add to this the impact of the recession on people’s pockets and the increasing tendency to purchase only when a bargain is on the table and many bridal shops have been suffering. The new law now brings the prospect of more weddings and so all businesses in the industry could stand to gain considerably from the move if a significant number of couples decide to take the plunge.
Business aside, the most important considerations are fairness and equality. I totally respect the rights of anyone whose religion or moral beliefs prevent them from favouring same sex marriages but it is not acceptable for those beliefs to bar others from making the commitment to marriage if that is what they want to do. The law should ensure that the same rights and privileges are available to all and those who do not approve can decide to have nothing to do with the events if they feel strongly about the issue.
Why anyone could be so concerned about the relationships of others I can’t imagine. It is the diversity of humankind which makes life interesting and frankly tolerable at times and I have never understood why anybody would seek to perpetuate prejudice. It is a position of extreme arrogance to propose that your way or the way you are is the right one and that anybody else is inferior or morally reprehensible because they are different. What kind of world would it be if we were all the same and wanted the same things? There would be some very long queues for one thing and we would all die of boredom from lack or variety and anything to talk about.
This week saw the passing of Nelson Mandela who did so much to strengthen the fight against racism. Whilst his memorial service was packed full of people celebrating his achievements there are many more people around who have singularly failed to learn a single thing from his life and teachings. One wonders how many generations must pass before the human race is prepared to fully accept its own diversity and offer equal rights to all.
One Small Step
The new marriage laws are at least one step towards a better world and I wish I could live long enough to see the day when people look back and marvel at how stupid the world was with regard to sexuality. I know that I won’t live that long but at least we are making progress and I am sure this is turn of events that will bring nothing but good to our nation. Couples will have the opportunity to demonstrate their love and commitment, bridal shops, venues, entertainers and party shops will see an upturn in business and the publicity surrounding the new marriages should do something to relax outmoded attitudes. I can’t wait for March!
Sally Stacey is a keen writer and business owner who divides her time between writing and running her bridal shop.