Bil Browning

Britain Commits to Marriage Equality by 2015

Filed By Bil Browning | September 18, 2011 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: British government, Conservative Party, gay marriage, Lib Dems, Marc Solomon, marriage equality, Peter Tatchell, same-sex marriage

The British government announced Saturday that ministers would be launching a national "consultation" to decide on how to implement marriage equality by the next election. big-ben-london.jpgThe measure is being endorsed by the leadership of both coalition parties.

The Lib Dems have long campaigned for reform of the marriage laws, arguing that they are outdated and discriminate against same-sex couples.

Conservative leader David Cameron backed the move while in opposition as part of his modernising drive and the pledge to permit equal marriage was included in the party's 2010 election manifesto.

While British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell isn't satisfied, Freedom to Marry was quick to point out how far the US lags behind.

"I am not convinced that there needs to be any consultation at all," Tatchell said. "The ban on same-sex marriage is homophobic discrimination and should be repealed."

"It's particularly impressive that Prime Minister David Cameron, the leader of the British Conservative Party, is leading the charge to move to full marriage in the UK," said Marc Solomon, National Campaign Director for Freedom to Marry. "We repeat our call on President Obama to join Cameron in offering principled leadership, finish his 'evolution,' and join the majority of Americans who support the freedom to marry."

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What are the chances that something similar will happen here? Will Obama, who has yet to 'evolve', i.e., support same sex marriage and lose his title as Bigot in Chief?

Unlikely. Democrats are the US equivalents of the Tories. The Democrats here and the Tories in England have seen the loss of huge numbers of voters because both are imposing harsher and harsher levels of austerity on working people. Both have angered unions and provoked strikes. They may try to capture the GLBT vote with a concession or two.

The difference is the level of public support for same sex marriage. In May Gallup put support for SSM at 53% in the US and in England it's much higher, close to two thirds. Obama, frightened of losing the bigot vote he worked so hard to build in 2008, still refuses to give up his bigotry. Talk of evolving is just that: a contrived effort by Obama to play the bigot for the bigot vote and to hint at change to get some GLBT votes. When the NY legislative vote was held he refused, as expected, to support our right to marry but, in between fundraisers with stockbrokers and similar scum, did find the time to attend a GLBT fundraiser.

His English equivalent, David Cameron, says he's 'emphatically' in favor of SSM. Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS must be livid, as are most Troy MPs and MEPs. Neither Cameron or Obama are our friends, and whether or not they pretend to be depends on how much hot water they're in. Obama will probably just continue to make soothing noises and the occasional temporary appointment and that will be enough to send his followers into an ecstatic state but it remains to be seen whether that will impress the millions of working class GLBT folks who want real, not illusory and temporary, change.

If they're like most of his 20008 base, the answer is an 'emphatic' no.

The Labour Party leadership came out for full marriage rights about a year ago with the election of Ed Miliband as Labour Party Leader.