Background for non-Finns: Finland is the only Nordic country that hasn't legalized same-sex marriage and adoption. In 2013, more than 166 000 Finns signed a citizens' initiative for a new marriage law. The bill went on to the Parliament and then to the Legal Affairs Committee. Three days ago, the majority of the Committee voted against the bill, but the final decision will be made by the Parliament, hopefully this Autumn.
While the Legal Affairs Committee's decision does not yet mean a definite "no" to same-sex marriage in Finland, it is still incredibly frustrating for people like me who would love to see our country getting a move on and taking this important step towards equal rights, like so many other European countries have already done. I understand that altering the marriage law is a big enough issue that it has to be seriously discussed, and that people have very strong opinions on these matters, but I can't understand how allowing same-sex couples to get married would ruin anybody's life.
So, finally getting to the point, as this was not meant to be just a political rant post – I would like to celebrate some couples who, though fictional, are beautiful examples of the fact that love between people of the same gender is just as authentic and right as love between a man and a woman.
One last thing before I get on to my list. Like I said, I know that many people feel very strongly for and against gay rights, but I will not have a political war of words on my blog. Civilized conversation is always appreciated at Music & My Mind, but hateful comments will not be tolerated (not that I believe any of those who have regularly make comments here would do such a thing, you all seem such an intellectual bunch). My motivations behind this post are the important values of love and acceptance, and I sincerely hope that anyone who visits here will respect that.
Now let's finally give the spotlight to... my personal favourite LGBT couples from the world of fiction!
Kurt Hummel and Blaine Anderson (Glee)
Since Glee's fourth season the show isn't quite what it used to be, but they still get the credit for creating one of my favourite TV couples ever: Kurt and Blaine. They are both such funny and touching characters by themselves, and when they are together there's a genuine sense that they both give something to each other in their relationship. At least, before the fourth season and the weird writing (in my opinion) came along. Also, they sound great when they sing together, and are always admirably well-dressed. Especially Kurt.
Hiram and LeRoy Berry (Glee)
Hiram: LeRoy! We agreed to sing it straight! No vocal runs – that's how Jennifer Hudson got kicked off American Idol!
LeRoy: I would love to hear you sing something straight.
Misters Berry made their first appearance in the 13th episode of the third season of Glee, finally giving us the chance to meet the parents who raised (and spoiled) Rachel Berry, running their family by the principles of "honesty, respect and dance". It was worth the wait, because their introduction was one of the most entertaining scenes I have ever witnessed on TV. Jeff Goldblum and Brian Stokes Mitchell work together brilliantly, delivering a lovely, quirky version of the "old married couple" relation. (Though it's never mentioned if Hiram and LeRoy are officially married, but that's not really the point.)
Gary and Billy (Sherlock)
Billy: What with the monster and the ruddy prisoner, I don't know how we sleep nights. Do you, Gary?
Gary: Like a baby.
Billy: That's not true. He's a snorer.
These guys don't get a lot of screen time on The Hounds of Baskerville, but they're still a lot of fun to watch. And you have to give them credit for running a vegetarian restaurant in a sleepy Dartmoor village. (Why can't I find a picture of them together anywhere in the whole wide world of the Internet??)
Angel Dumott Schunard and Tom Collins (RENT)
RENT is one of my Top Ten favourite musicals, and these two are the most beautiful thing in it. Angel and Collins know how to appreciate each other, and they set an inspiring example to their friends. I'll Cover You (video above) always makes me smile and believe that there are good things in the world – until it's time for the I'll Cover You Reprise, aka tears and heart ache.
Maureen Johnson and Joanne Jefferson (RENT)
These two get into a lot of petty arguments which really is quite irritating at times. They have to see horrible things happen to their closest friends before they can look past each others' differences. But at least they do get there in the end – and when they have an argument, they do it by singing one of the most awesome female duets in the history of music. If people have to have a row, it's always better if they can sound fabulous while doing that.
Callie Torres and Erica Hahn (Grey's Anatomy)
Something odd happened with this TV romance. Apparently, some high-chair bosses didn't approve of having a lesbian couple on their show, so Erica Hahn was quickly written off the show just as she was getting happy with Callie. But then, a couple of episodes later, Callie ended up in a relationship with Arizona Robbins, who is quite clearly a woman too. Anyway, I liked Callie and Erica a lot more than Callie and Arizona. That's probably because I was a tremendous fan of Dr Hahn to begin with!
Patricia Mollison and Melly (The Casual Vacancy)
'Melly's fine, thanks for asking,' said Patricia.
'Oh, good,' said Shirley.
'I liked the invitation,' said Patricia. 'Pat and guest.'
'I'm sorry, darling, but that's just what you put, you know, when people aren't married -'
'Ah, that's what it says in Debrett's, does it? Well, Melly didn't want to come if she wasn't even named on the invitation, so we had a massive row, and here I am, alone. Result, eh?'
(from The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling)
Listing Patricia and Melly's relationship might be a bit unconventional, as only one half of this couple actually appears in the book. However, I love it how pointedly offended Patricia feels on Melly's behalf about the wording on their invitation. Besides, I wanted to include at least one couple from a literary work, and it turns out there are not an awful lot to choose from!
++ Edited on 28th Nov 2014 to mark the occasion of the Finnish Parliament voting about the legalization of gay marriage and adoption, an addition to the list:
Freddie Thornhill and Stuart Bixby (Vicious)
There isn't much that could go wrong if you cast Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi on the same TV show. Having them play a long-time couple that has fallen into the habit of displaying their mutual affection by insulting each other in the most British manner is absolute comedy gold. No matter how much Stuart pokes fun at Freddie's acting career while Freddie insists he's the "looks" in the relationship, the fact that these two have loved each other for almost 50 years is very believable and touching. It's really delightful to see an older couple with such an extensive history on TV! I'm writing this up on a train on my phone so I can't add videos, but you should all go to YouTube right now and look for the "This is Ke$ha" clip on Vicious. It's priceless. Sirs Ian and Derek just rock.
What do you think about my list? Do you know of any other inspiring, well-written LGBT couples that I haven't listed?