There’s something I wish the Scottish Government would give me a hand with.
No, I don’t mean money. I don’t want a tax break, or some kind of benefit payment, or even a lucrative new job in the corridors of power.
I don’t even mean any kind of additional personal privilege. When it comes to priorities for legislative action, it might be very tempting to place ‘removing all speed cameras from my route to work’ at the top of the pile; but I’m not asking for that.
I want the government to make raising my boy easier.
Phrased in this way, my desire may sound like a pipe dream. Parenthood is tough for everyone; it presents new challenges at every turn which are far beyond the power of any government to summarily dismiss. I realise this. I’m not one of those enlightened chaps who writes frequently to their MSP to complain about the weather.
The help I want from the Scottish Government is much simpler than the granting of a parental panacea. It’s well within their power to oblige.
I want them to help him learn right from wrong.
When I was a child, I very quickly understood that stealing was wrong. My parents told me so, my teachers told me so… And importantly, the law of land agreed with them. For a young boy, as yet unfamiliar with concepts of civil disobedience, this fact drew a definitive line under the subject. The law said it was wrong to steal, so it wasn’t just my Mum and Dad spoiling the larcenous fun: it was the position of society.
At an early stage in my development, the law provided an intuitive guide to what was OK and what wasn’t. As an adult, I understand that laws can be changed – new rules introduced, old rules scrapped – but as a child it seemed immutable, a code of legitimacy beyond question. Adults made the law, lots of them thinking about it together. My parents were almost omniscient – and there were only two of them. With all the lawyers, judges and ministers working together to decide how our country should live, it appeared to my youthful perception that a limitless supply of wisdom was bent to the task. The law was right – a true North for my moral compass to fix on.
If David is anything like me in his early years, he will probably accept without thinking that our code of laws illustrate the right way to live. That means our government have an opportunity to help shape his perception of good vs bad, normal vs strange. They can help me teach him the right lessons.
They can help me show David that the love between any two people is worth the same amount.
They can build a Scotland for him to grow up in which celebrates every wedding day with the same joyous abandon.
They can help him to understand that one family is the same as another, in every meaningful way – and that the gender combination of a classmate’s parents is as irrelevant as the colour of their eyes.
Or they can shirk that duty, leaving his mother and I to fight an ancient bigotry alone.
I don’t ask much from my Government, really I don’t. But I do ask that they back me up on equal love, by voting for equal marriage.
When David is growing up, I want him to respond with bafflement and subsequently hilarity when anyone tries to tell him that LGBT Scots should have lesser rights than society as a whole.
So do me a solid, ScotGov. Stop putting it off; do the right thing. Help me raise my boy in a country I’m proud of.