is back on the agenda here. Well, it never really went off the agenda but the Leader of the Opposition has used the vote in Ireland to make some political hay. He has put on notice his intention to introduce a private member's bill to legalise same-sex marriage. His move is political opportunism, nothing more and nothing less.
There are already two other bills on the same issue awaiting the consideration of parliament. We didn't need a third.
Some will consider it a political masterstroke. It will give gay and lesbian couples what they want and the issue will divide the current government which does not, at present, have a conscience vote on the issue. It will show the Leader of the Opposition to be - well, a leader.
It all sounds simple so I was surprised when a friend who is in a long term relationship with his partner said,
"I don't like being used in this way."
We have discussed the issue of marriage at length. As I have mentioned my cousin, who does not live here, is married to his partner. They have been together since university days - more than thirty-five years ago.
I am assuming that both these relationships are what people would call "stable". They appear to be happy. (I certainly hope so because I am very fond of my cousin's partner. He is one of the nicest people I know.)
But are they being "used"? The friend I was talking to feels the issue of same-sex marriage has become a political and divisive one. Legally recognised partnerships which would allow the same rights as married couples would, according to him, be enough for all but a minority of same-sex couples. He acknowledges that the length and stability of his relationship is unusual among same sex couples.
When I suggested that nobody was suggesting that people were being forced to marry if the law changed he said, "But there will be questions won't there? It will be, "When are you going to get married?" and "Don't you love him enough to get married?" - that sort of thing. There will be expectations."
I had not considered that. Perhaps there will be. My own view is that it is entirely the affair of each couple. If marriage becomes possible, as it probably will, then it is up to them and nobody else.
I wondered whether things like the "Gay and Lesbian Mardi-Gras" will remain and whether "coming out" will still be an issue if marriage becomes the law.
He shrugged but then he said, "I wonder if the divorce courts are ready for the extra work too."
It's a gloomy view. I hope the future is more of a rainbow than that.