Jake O'Kane: Think how much fun the Twelfth would be if it combined with Gay Pride
While the Orange Order has decided to not comment, calling Mr Beattie's decision a "private family matter", will they take the next logical step and accept that same-sex marriages are always ‘private family matters' and not open to discussion nor debate by organisations such as theirs?
WHEN the newly elected grand master of the Orange Order, Spencer Beattie, walked his lesbian daughter down the aisle at her same-sex marriage, he put love of his daughter above love of the Orange Order.
He is to be both commended and hopefully defended in choosing love over rules.
With the Orange Order against same sex marriage, abortion and alcohol, their conservative stance on moral issues is virtually identical to that of their sworn enemy, the Catholic Church.
While the order itself has decided to not comment, calling Mr Beattie’s decision a "private family matter", will they take the next logical step and accept that same-sex marriages are always ‘private family matters’ and not open to discussion nor debate by organisations such as theirs?
One man who seems incapable of not commenting on any issue is failed politician, David McNarry. Himself a former Orange Order assistant grand master, he applauded Mr Beattie’s decision, saying he’d acted "as a loving father". McNarry went on to say he’d do the same, even though he consistently voted against equal marriage while an MLA.
McNarry’s position can be summarised as ‘do what I say, not what I do’. Does he seriously argue same-sex marriage is wrong, except when it’s a member of his own family, when an exemption should be made?
You’ll have picked up by now that I’m in favour of same-sex marriage. You may not be, but the grand master’s conundrum is worth considering if that is the case. Leave abstract moral arguments to one side and ask yourself this – would you refuse to attend your own child’s wedding just because they happened to love someone of the same gender?
I know that, while my children are still too young to be sure of their sexual orientation, I wouldn’t give a damn who they marry so long as they’re in love and loved in return. If I live long enough, I will be a proud daddy walking my daughter up the aisle, irrespective of the sex of her spouse.
When Ireland’s same sex marriage referendum returned a landslide win for progress, we in the north were left the last dysfunctional part of these islands, holding out against equality. We’d become a Mississippi-like embarrassment, a backward reactionary backwater.
In the same week as the grand master's decision to attend his daughter’s wedding, the BBC Northern Ireland documentary series True North looked back at the history of homosexuality in the north. It highlighted the fight of gay men over decades to firstly overturn criminalisation and then attain equal rights. The vibrant gay scene in Belfast today proves the years of hiding in the closet are long over. The last battle is same sex-marriage, and while a minority in our society can frustrate that happening in the short-term, they won’t stop the inevitable.
I look forward to the day the Orange Order embrace their homosexual members – and don’t tell me there aren’t any.
Just imagine how much fun the Twelfth would be if it combined with Gay Pride; I mean, they’re so similar.
With well-dressed men marching, and wearing sashes, it’s like a huge Mr World contest. Throw in colourful banners and the parade being led by men dancing and throwing sticks in the air – come on, waken up and smell the orange lilies, it’s one of the campest parades imaginable.
Staying with the Order, you could almost feel the incandescent rage of brethren last week when the EU suggested the north could remain in the EU as a "back stop" solution to the ongoing border conundrum; a water border between Ireland and GB was quickly sunk by the PM in Westminster.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and DUP deputy leader – or is that leader? – Nigel Dodds argue that discussions around the Irish border are being used to thwart Brexit. The reality is a solution to the border question is needed, and none is coming from the UK government. The patience of Europe is wearing thin and everything is now on the table.
If there is a hard Brexit, and by some shenanigans we’re left with Europe’s solution of a ‘back stop’ water border, I’ll make sure I’m on the first Larne to Stranraer ferry the next day. There’s no way I’d miss a customs guard asking Orangemen for their passports as they travel for a parade in Glasgow.
That would be the day LOL would mean both loyal orange lodge and laugh out loud.