Sunday, June 14, 2009

A civil partnership

Humming bird pictureI hadn't ever been to a civil partnership ceremony in the UK, so when lapsed blogger HBH invited me to go to his, I was more than happy to accept. Shortly after accepting his invite, I got a little txt msg from him asking:

Would u mind being my witness as well :-)?

I was honoured that he was asking me to do that for him, so I readily consented to the request. HBH also said that I could bring a guest, so I invited to my friend T to accompany me.

On the day itself, although London's traffic conspires to try and make us late, we arrive just in time to meet a few of the other guests. Almost immediately though we're asked to go into a waiting room, and after a short wait we're soon being ushered into another room for the ceremony itself. In total there seems to be about two dozen people present, and looking around I guess that the majority of the guests are members of HBH's boyfriend's family.

It's a simple ceremony, and the vows that HBH and his boyfriend make to each other relate well to my own views on how gay relationships should be constructed. There are lots of words about life long commitments to share their lives and to care for each other, and happily nothing about that rather old-fashioned concept called monogamy! After the ceremony we all head outside to take the customary pictures, before heading off for a celebratory meal.

Towards the end of the meal, I get talking to a nice guy and his boyfriend, who're friends of HBH from HBH's home country.

"We've lived in the UK for quite a few years now," says the guy, "but if it was possible for us to live together back home, we'd move back immediately!"

"Do you mean that it's not gay friendly back home?" I ask.

"Yes, that's one way of putting it. Saying it's actively gay-hostile would probably be closer to the mark!"

"I'm sorry to hear that."

"The UK isn't perfect either, because there is racism here. It's very subtle racism though, which is hard to fight. In many ways, I prefer people to be open about their prejudices, because at least you then know where you stand!"

We're interrupted by HBH's boyfriend's straight brother, who gets up to make a speech to welcome HBH into their family:

"I don't think it came as a surprise to any of us when, a few years ago, my brother finally admitted to us all that he bats for the other team ..."

I find myself laughing because I hadn't heard that expression for being gay for quite a while! Overall the speech is excellent because it's not too long, very honest, and very warm too.

"... I must also say that my brother is the best brother that any guy could wish for. So please join me in wishing the two of them every happiness in their future lives together :-)."

Shortly afterwards, HBH responds with the usual thanks, and shortly after that HBH and his boyfriend cut the cake together. But most of us have eaten far too much already to be able to manage even a tiny morsel of cake!

In the car going back home, I ask T what he thought of everything.

"I think they're very lucky to have such an accepting family," he replies without even thinking, "even the old grandfather didn't have a problem with anything."

"My family is similar too," I reply, "indeed, myself and ex-boyfriend S regularly used to go on holiday with my family :-)."

But I know what's in T's mind. He can't possibly imagine his own family behaving in that kind of way.

Overall it was indeed an excellent day. I hope that the two of them will be very happy together, and I have every expectation that they will be :-).


Anonymous said...

Shawn L said...

Hmmmm I don't really know how the first post is related to this entry .....

Anyway, congrats to the new married! =) I have never been invited to a wedding (except followed my parents when I was a kid) but I imagine the happiness and excitements during the wedding.

Maybe I am too young to comment, but I believe family understanding and support will be additional help in maintaining a healthy marriage (at least no pressure from the family =p)

Wish them happily every after!

Humming Bird in Hyde said...

It was absolutely lovely to have you there GB. Thank you for being my witness :-)

Looking forward to seeing you at the celebrations. Walk with your dancing shoes (and the dancing partner of course) :-)

By the way, 'T' is quite cute and pleasant company. I loved the way he snook a few shots of grandad snoozing hehe.


Marcus said...

Nice blog, but unless I missed it, you left what HBH's home country is.

Anonymous said...

Came across this and thought about you, not sure why.