A quick rant on correctness

In case you didn’t know, today there is a debate in the British parliament about legalising gay marriage. We already have civil partnerships for same sex couples, which give some of the same rights as marriage, but there is still disagreement in society about the rights of homosexuals to actually marry. (This is just background for my little rant today.)

I have a great deal of respect for the BBC, and especially for the Today program on BBC Radio 4. But everyone is fallable and this morning John Humphrys (or his script writers) irritated me just a little.

An item on today’s parliamentary debate was introduced as follows. (Please excuse me if it’s not an exact quote, but it’s close enough to make no difference.)

“In the life time of half of us, a man could go to prison for sleeping with another man.”

I’m pretty sure I’m right in getting up on my soap box and saying No they bloody couldn’t!

In 1967 the Sexual Offenses Act decriminalised homosexual acts between consenting adults, but it had nothing to do with where they slept.

(For those who are not explicitly familiar with British popular culture of the 1970s, and to whom this picture means nothing, look up Morecambe and Wise. They were very funny.)

Yes, I’ve ranted about this on at least one previous occasions, and I know the news item was being discussed at a time when families would be sat around the breakfast table, so explicitly talking about sexual acts is arguably inappropriate. But come on! Can we please just ditch the unrepresentative euphemism of sleeping together! Sleeping with someone is not a sexual act. It never has been. It never will be. And to use such metaphors in the context of a news item about the law and sexuality is ill judged and repressed at best.

Rant over.

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