Make absolutely no mistake about it, homophobia lurks among us in places and inside people who you would perhaps least expect.
There are still those who think it’s funny to trot out Alan Partridgisms such as: ‘God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve’, and until now the system hasn’t done very much to discredit such nonsense. For too long, the gay community has been forcibly held in the second class citizen bracket, because if two people of the same sex had previously wanted to commit to one another until death they do part, they were prevented from enjoying love and marriage. Instead they had to make do with love and same sex civil partnership. Not quite as romantic, is it? But all that is about to change, and Sheffield will be at the forefront of that when Kyle Emerson, 25, and Richie Wood, 28, tie the knot at midnight on 29th March. And I heard the guys giving an interview on local radio, where they were asked about their motivation for being the first in Sheffield: was it political? Were they making a stand? Were they looking to satisfy the voracious attention seekers inside themselves? Can you imagine those questions being asked were it not the matrimonial union of two chaps? The lads met at midnight seven years ago during a fateful clinch as Robbie Burns’ Auld Lang Syne rang in a new year, so the opportunity to pledge their beings to one another – as does every other couple in the land when they marry –was an opportunity too good to miss for them. The fact that they’re going to be splashed all over the papers, TV and radio stations with the opportunity to bear the standard for equal rights for all must surely be a mere bonus of a sideshow. And so to Kyle and Richie I would like to raise the first toast. Not to being ‘brave’, or ‘making a stand’, or ‘politicking a cause’, but for sticking together for longer than many marriages do these days, and for being stand-up Sheffield blokes!