Listen Without Prejudice...
I have a letter published in the Evening Standard today:
A lot of what George Michael says about the practical necessity of gay civil partnerships but not wanting to ape the institution of marriage makes sense (5 December). And I'd be the first to agree with him that gay open relationships are poorly understood by most people.
But whether Michael likes it or not, these types of open relationships aren't the norm even in the gay world - they are just one type of relationship. I should know. Having been in a long term gay relationship like Michael I too realise that it often requires the sort of trust that goes beyond mere fidelity. After the early stages of a relationship, it's love and understanding that binds you together, not sex. Being unfaithful is not the same as losing faith.
This is precisely where the new civil partnership shines. In the unfortunate event a partnership goes off the rails its dissolution could only be based upon the grounds of separation, desertion or unreasonable behaviour; adultery is explicitly excluded. So unlike marriage - which for so many couples ends in divorce and heartbreak on the basis of a moment of faithlessness - gay couples are free to make their own choices of what being faithful means and still be recognised under the law. As George says, we should listen without prejudice.
UPDATE: To those people who called or sent me messages of agreement or support I thank you. And to those people who sent me vile messages and hate e-mail... just ask yourselves what you are so afraid of?