Love and Marriage

Image © Ryan Somma

Dan Walsh

It was a sign of the times when Ian Paisley jnr was almost ridiculed, for his staunch opposition to gay marriage. However, he is not alone in his reactionary views. Tory MP’s did their best to block the bill they detest so much by tabling an amendment because of the contrived ‘injustice’ that a civil partnership is not available to heterosexual couples. It seems highly doubtful that any couple would actively desire a civil partnership over a marriage. After all, registry office weddings between heterosexuals are called marriages, not civil partnerships. Civil partnerships, an important step on the road to gay rights are essentially a Tesco-value marriage for gays underlining the notion (still held by the church in its various guises) that gays aren’t quite as ‘ok’ as heterosexuals. So even if the amendment proposed was genuinely put forward for the reasons claimed, which logic suggest it wasn’t given the unsound reasoning at the heart of the proposal, the Tory amendment was in fact an old fashioned filibuster and therefore hardly a coincidence that the amendment would delay the bill by years and possibly destabilise it altogether. Read more of this post

Gay marriage takes one more step forward

Dominic Turner

Image © Fritz Leiss

When President Obama yesterday announced his support for gay marriage he made an important and symbolic gesture, not merely of his own ‘evolution‘ on the issue, but of the Western world. It goes without saying that Obama, in trademark timidity, waited until the polls indicated that gay marriage was supported by a majority of Americans, and that even whilst he is personally comfortable with gay marriage, he is bringing forth no legislation to make it a reality. Nevertheless, yesterday marked a historic moment in the Gay rights movement.

I am not gay, and neither are any members of my immediate family. I have many friends and members of my extended family who are, but the issue of gay rights has never affected me personally. But the struggle for equality of all peoples is not a cause to be fought by only those who are affected. Good white men and women marched with their black brothers and sisters to end segregation and apartheid in the 20th Century. Gay rights are fundamentally civil rights and another articulation of the cause for equality.

Here in Britain we have come a long way since the 1980′s and the despicable s.28 Local Government Act, which outlawed the supposed “promotion” (and by that they meant discussion) of homosexuality in schools. Civil Partnerships now allow gay couples to enter into the legal equivalent of mariage. The Human Rights act has been used to allow the same rights of succession in housing for gay couples. One of the most encouraging aspects of the last decade is the leadership of the Conservative Party’s support Civil Parternships, and gay rights. But the hesitation from the lunatic fringe of the Tory Party to recognize gay marriage reveals, at its heart, a regressive and dogmatic conservatism. Civil Partnerships but not Marriage? Those who hold this counter intuitive position march under the same ideological banner that sustained segregation. Seperate but equal. Read more of this post

Why we should all support Equal Marriage

Mathew Hulbert 

© Starobserver.com

Let’s be honest, it’s not the easiest time to be a Liberal Democrat.

Part of a Coalition Government with our traditional enemies, implementing changes to health, welfare and education which, I very much hope, we would most certainly not be doing  if we were in Government by ourselves. We get arrows shot at us from all sides; the Left call us traitors to the cause and the Right think we’re the ones preventing them from being properly Conservative.

However, on a host of issues, this Government is taking great strides in making Britain better, fairer and greener. One of these is very close to my heart.

I ‘came out’ as being gay just over a year ago, having been in the proverbial closet for more than half of my life, around 15 years. It was daunting but my family and friends have been brilliant, realising that this is just who I am, how I was born; just like some people are attracted to the opposite sex, I’m attracted to people of my own gender. Nothing more complicated about it than that. All myself and other members of the LGBT community ask for is equality, genuine equality, nothing more, nothing less.

Great strides have, of course, already been taken. The abolishing of the vile Section 28 which made illegal the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools (in effect aiding homophobia by making it illegal for teachers to explain that some people fall in love with people of their own gender and that there’s nothing wrong with that.) Civil Partnerships, which enabled gay people to gain the same legal rights as married couples. And, for these and other achievements, the last Labour Government deserves great praise. But there is still much, much further to go.

The current ‘controversy,’ of course, is about gay marriage or – as I prefer to call it – marriage equality. For most people, this isn’t an issue; being gay is no longer (quite rightly) shocking or a cause of alarm. But, of course, very sadly, there are those for whom being gay is seen as anything but natural; you know the rhetoric, we’ve heard it again from some Catholic Bishops and others in recent weeks, “it’s an abomination,” “it’s morally wrong,” “It undermines families,” etc, etc. I hate having to listen to such vile and wrong words being spoken or to read them in our printed press, but – as disgusting as it is – it does serve one purpose. Such language makes those who utter or write it seem so extreme, that anyone with any kind of common sense will realise that they’re clearly wrong. Read more of this post

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