Seeing Through the Statistics
Its easy to get caught up in celebrating marriage equality's big victories: the changes to the law; the success of new campaigns or the increase in public approval. We applaud the release of statistics showing the benefits of marriage whilst deriding those who wish to deny it to same-sex couples.
It's easy to forget however, that, behind the headlines and Parliamentary committees, underneath the stonewall t-shirts, and newspaper editorials, same-sex marriage is more than just an ideal - it's something very real. People (actual human individuals who live and love like anyone else) can finally marry their partners. This is something tangible. You can reach out and touch these people. You can witness their happiness. They are no more of a statistic than you are just 206 bones in a skin suit.
Recently, The Office for National Statistics revealed that 1,409 same-sex marriages had been registered in England and Wales since March. At the time we celebrated and cheered because isn't 1,409 a big number? But 1,409 doesn't exist in any tangible way - it's a statistic. To understand it and what it means, we need to colour it with the stories, experiences and with the faces of those who had added to it. We need to make 1,409 more than just a number because 2,818 people finally got the day they deserved.
And there have certainly been some beautiful examples of in the last week.
In the US, Vivian Boyack, 91, and Alice Dubes ,90, have married after celebrating 72 years together as a couple. PinkNews.co.uk reported that the two women met and began dating in 1947, had enjoyed "a good time" together, and took their vows before friends and family.
Closer to home, PinkNews also reported that the first same-sex marriage in a Spiritualist Church had taken place between Yvonne and Susan Pace, 60 and 66 from Tamworth. The Spiritualist Church has long been a proponent of same-sex marriage and although Yvonne and Susan didn't realise that their wedding would be a first for the religion, they're pleased to have made history for the religious group.
It's important to remember that whilst it's amazing that younger couples are able to seek out and marry their same-sex partners, we should also remember that older people are enjoying the fruits of progress, too. For Vivian and Alice, in particular, being unable to openly declare their love, to have its validity denied and their legal rights removed is something that can now be corrected.