Monday 9 July 2012

Reasons to Be Cheerful... ish

Christian marriage has been unchanged for hundreds of years:

“The doctrine [canon law] enabled an Englishman to lock up his wife and not be liable for the tort of false imprisonment. He could beat her and not be guilty of assault. The same principle permitted him to rape her without the law recognising it as rape. A wife could not proceed against her husband, nor be called to give evidence in court against him. Most such constraints were done away with in Britain by Acts of Parliament in 1935 and 1945 in the teeth of fierce opposition from the organised Churches.”

1306 Byzantine Emperor Andronicus II declares gay marriage, along with sorcery and incest, to be unChristian.
1563 Council of Trent makes marriage a sacrament
2012 Coalition government is making forced marriage a crime.

Women priests and civil partnerships have rapidly become “entirely unremarkable”, says Robert Shrimsley,, March 2012.

Cheerful News
The world is less authoritarian than it was in the 50s. You can’t just order people around as if they were squaddies. Or make decisions for them. You have to give them reasons, and consult their wishes. Families are far more democratic. Children’s opinions are considered. Or at least, that’s the theory.

1609 Bohemia granted freedom of religion

1881 Flogging abolished in the army

1930s Anglican Church cautiously accepts artificial contraception at a conference of bishops

Since 1965 the statute law revision team has culled 2,000 obsolete laws.

2004 UK mobile phone operators block porn

2007 UK ISPs block child porn

It’s unlawful to give a child under 5 alcohol.
It’s unlawful to give a child over 5 alcohol if the child is harmed.
It is unlawful to be drunk in charge of a child under 7 in a public place or on licensed premises.

2012 Scientology membership has fallen from 200,000 to 40,000.

Not So Cheerful
1179 The Lateran Councils of 1179 and 1215 prohibited Jews from living close to Christians

1533 Buggery made a felony punishable by death in England and Wales.
1861 Buggery no longer punishable by death.
1885 Sex between men criminalised.
Homosexuality was legalised in “England and Wales in 1967, in Scotland in 1980, Northern Ireland in 1982, Guernsey in 1983, Jersey in 1990”. (Wikipedia)
1990 World Health Organisation removes homosexuality from its catalogue of mental diseases
1992 Homosexuality legalised in the Isle of Man.

1775 last execution for witchcraft in Germany

Until 1971 “women were banned from going into Wimpy Bars on their own, after midnight, on the grounds that the only women out on their own at that hour must be prostitutes”. (The BBC says “as late as 1971”, as if change ought to have happened faster than it did.)

What Took Them So Long?
The first women’s club in America began meeting over lunch in New York in 1868. They met at Delmonico’s because, like most fancy restaurants at the time, Delmonico’s did not allow women in unescorted for lunch. So they just walked in and sat down, and that was the start of the womens’ club movement… In 1969, Betty Friedan led a group of women to lunch in the Oak Room at the Plaza, where they still did not serve women who were not escorted by men. They sat there for two hours and the waiters wouldn’t go near them. The Plaza changed its policy within a few months. ( Advice to travellers in 1967 says British women do not dominate the conversation, and do not go into pubs unescorted.

1948 Women get degrees on an equal footing with men in Cambridge

“Until the early 90s, the Association of Travel Writers was male only, with an annual ladies' luncheon.” Linda Grant

2008 England’s Blasphemy Law repealed

Women need their ex-husband’s consent to revert to their maiden name if they change their name by enrolled deed poll. (Ordinary Deed Poll doesn’t have this requirement.)

Yet More Reasons to Be Cheerful.
More Reasons to Be Cheerful... ish.
More Reasons to Be Cheerful here, here and here.

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