My OathJust over ten years ago, the Rainbow Parliament came to town, full of Greens, Socialists and independents. Of the new rainbow intake, just one still remains at Holyrood: Patrick Harvie. His first act, more or less the moment he’d taken the oath, was to propose legislation for civil partnerships – in fact, it was soon enough for the Herald’s cartoonist to draw Patrick with his hand in the air saying “I hereby swear my allegiance to the queens”.

The outrage was widespread, and not just from the usual suspects. Even the less reactionary parts of the media complained that this wasn’t what Greens were elected to do – surely they should just be talking about conservation or climate change? They moaned that Robin wouldn’t have done this, neglecting the fact that it had been a Green manifesto pledge, and that Robin had made the exact same arguments during the previous session.

Just three years prior to that, Scottish Ministers had been the subject of the bad-tempered Keep The Clause campaign, Brian Souter’s hateful effort to try and marginalise LGBT youngsters at school. They’d stuck to their guns, but why would anyone at Holyrood want to kick off another controversy in this area, they asked? It’s too soon. It’s not a big deal. Who cares?

Although Patrick’s Bill wasn’t successful, it did get Holyrood talking about the issue, and it helped ensure that the Scottish Parliament fully debated the issue, and voted in support of the principle, before Westminster passed legislation for the whole UK. Just a year later civil partnerships were approved UK-wide.

Today, as the Scottish Government publishes a bill to deliver equal marriage (with some flaws), supported by the leadership of all five parties at Holyrood, it’s hard to believe how radical it was just ten years ago to propose civil partnerships. This country isn’t free of prejudice or inequality, nor will it be when this bill passes, but on no other issue I care about have I seen such rapid progress. Patrick: you deserve a glass of something fizzy today.