"Each competitor in a Royal List must be fighting for a prospective consort of the opposite sex unless the Crown has elected to permit a competitor to fight for a prospective consort of the same sex."
What that means is that two men or two women can now fight to be King and King or Queen and Queen of their kingdom, with the caveat that the currently reigning King and/or Queen has the option to deny them entry to the competition.
This is what we're calling "inspirational equality," as the idea behind it is to have the ability to fight for the one who truly inspires you, regardless of who it might be. It's also not just an LGBT issue - who says a daughter can't fight for their mother, or a brother fight for his brother, if that's who truly inspires them to greatness?
Given this dialogue only seriously started just a couple of years ago (something we queers in Clan Blue Feather had been kidding around about for 20 years), this is a huge first step. Alas, the BoD didn't take a more decisive forward step by leaving that caveat in, but based on what I know of their deliberations, they felt like they hadn't gotten a clear mandate like they'd hoped (they recently did a Society-wide census and although a majority favored equality, there were clearly areas of the map that did not). Given that, they came up with this imperfect (ha!) step. I'm hopeful that it will prove to the nay-sayers that not only is it not a bad thing, but it's actually a very good thing for the SCA, and the Society won't crash and burn because of it. (Similarly, the SCA got better when they made other changes, such as letting women fight, making positive changes for the disabled to access events, etc.; we're supposed to be re-creating the best of the Medieval period, after all.)
So, being all excited, a lot of people started celebrating this victory, even while acknowledging there is still more work to be done (it will definitely be interesting when the first royal couple decides to deny a same-sex couple the right to fight, which will likely end up back in the BoD's lap and we'll have to re-evaluate yet again, but I'm confident equality will win out in the end). And certainly there were those who were opposed to the idea altogether that have rumbled and threatened to boycott any same-sex reign and whatnot. What I found most disappointing, though, were the ones who supported IE but who were also grumbling about it, that it didn't go far enough, that it wasn't really a victory at all, etc. Certainly they had a point, but I felt their timing was kind of shitty.
After getting into a couple of online discussions about it, I wrote this to a friend on LJ:
"... I'm more concerned that [so many people] were so quick to jump on the news as bad rather than good. Not only did it feel like my feelings were being shit on, but [also on] all those who were taking a moment to celebrate the progress before buckling down for the next wave of work to be done (not saying you or anyone did it intentionally, that's just what came through my filters). It also kind of struck me that the first person I saw post about it was Master Guiseppe (joeguppy), who has not only worked hard for this change (as in personally in touch with members of the BoD discussing the matter passionately), but is also the husband and co-Baron of the first same-sex baronial pair in SCA history (along with Master Giles). When a whole bunch of people come down quite vocally and basically say, 'Stop celebrating, this isn't a win at all!', it read to me like a backhanded slap to [them]. ([They] didn't take any of it that way, but I did.)"
I'm more than willing to admit that some of this also stems from other things going on of late (as in several people, friends and strangers alike, both disrespecting me and feeling free to shit all over my feelings), but the whole idea of one group of people telling another group of people that they were wrong for feeling so happy about what they saw as positive change just struck a nerve. Then again, maybe I'm just a cranky old man... MAYBE. :P
Regardless, I, personally, am quite pleased with this step, and I realize there are more steps to take to make the SCA a better place for all those involved. Onward! :)