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I Do.

The theme of this year’s Pride parade is marriage.

As 2017 will see the introduction of same-sex marriage in both Jersey and Guernsey, the theme of this year’s Pride parade is marriage. This long-awaited piece of legislation demonstrates in the most tangible way possible that the governments of the Channel Islands believe same-sex partnerships to be the equal of opposite-sex partnerships. We celebrate those who argued for this equality over the years and we commemorate those who would have dearly loved to be married but did not live to see this day.

Marriage means different things to different people. The debate surrounding the introduction of same-sex marriage demonstrates that very ably. Within and outside of the LGBTQ community there are those who think that marriage should be between a man and a woman only; that marriage is a patriarchal construct that has had its day; or, that if marriage is to be open to same-sex couples, civil partnerships should be available to opposite-sex couples, too.

The debate has been passionate on both sides, but we must now come back together again. Just as the Brexiteers and the Remainers must work together to figure out what a Britain looks like outside of the European Union, so must we too work together for the benefit of all. We must not allow differences of opinion, over marriage or any other subject, to blind us to the good in those with whom we differ. We may not always agree with our partners, families, work colleagues, teammates, or friends, but we must always listen respectfully and find ways to accommodate other viewpoints. Difference is challenging but, if embraced, it also makes us stronger.

Marriage, in whatever form, represents a potential force for good in the world through the support those two people give each other, through the children it might produce, and through the strength that comes from being in a partnership that can be then shared with others. There is a reason why the traditional Church of England marriage service says: “It enriches society and strengthens community.”

However you feel about the institution of marriage, we hope you agree that a loving, committed relationship between two people is always something to be celebrated. If you do, then this year for Pride, please help us celebrate love in all its forms by getting involved in the parade, and sharing your day on social media using the hashtag: #IDo

Photo by Natalie Mayer

Channel Islands Pride is sponsored by The Co-Operative Society

Channel Islands Pride is sponsored by The Co-Operative Society