UK: Updates on the Marriage Equality Bill Debate

Written by scott on May 10th, 2013

LondonA few updates from Pink News out of the UK on the marriage equality bill there.

First off, Lord Carey is accusing the government of sidelining and marginalizing opponents of marriage equality and minority ethnic communities:

Lord George Carey of Clifton told the House of Lords yesterday that the Government has painted opponents of marriage equality as a “strange breed of non-relevant dinosaurs” while ignoring minority ethnic and religious communities. Following comments by Lord Fowler on the recent Queen’s Speech, Lord Carey said the Conservative’s push for same-sex marriage had helped create a “broken society”, rather than their intended “big society”.

Another marriage equality opponent, Baroness O’Cathain, once the government to admit that marriage equality is a “mistake”:

I believe that it is a deeply flawed Bill and a deeply concerning attack on the values of great swathes of the population. Where is the pressure coming from? Are the Government taking any notice of the widespread antipathy to the redefinition of marriage? It is a wrong Bill, and it beggars belief that the Government have wantonly decided to push it through at any time, let alone when we are in such a parlous state. Marriage must be supported and valued, not dismantled. For the sake of the future of marriage in this country, I urge the Government to admit graciously that this has been a great mistake and drop the Bill.

Perhaps the original mistake was to only grant gay lesbian couples civil partnerships, a second-class status that tells everyone that game lesbian couples are not “as good as” everyone else. The real mistake would be to backtrack now.

On the flipside, Lord Norman Fowler makes the argument for the marriage equality bill:

Suffice it to say at this stage that my personal view is that Parliament should value people equally in the law, and that enabling same-sex couples to marry removes the current inequity. A legal partnership is not seen in the same way and does not have the same promises of responsibility and commitment as marriage. There are many same-sex couples, including those working in the churches, who view marriage as fundamentally important and want to enter into that life-long commitment. It is therefore Parliament’s duty to enable that to happen, and in so doing strengthen the society in which we live today.

Lord Fowler goes on to say:

An opinion poll in this country suggested that many Christians in Britain believed that they were a persecuted minority. I can only say that if anyone wants to see a persecuted minority they should look at the plight of gay, lesbian and transgender people around the world. As you travel you go to countries where homosexuality is a criminal offence and where people who are suspected of being homosexual are persecuted and even forced to leave their family homes. In one country a newspaper was dedicated to exposing homosexuals–to identifying them, photographing them and publishing their addresses–so that the local population could take action against them. In one case, this led to a murder.

I have rarely seen this point so eloquently made.

One more – former police Chief Constable Lord Dear told the House of Lords that marriage equality will create a backlash against gays and lesbians:

But I sincerely believe that the passage of this Bill into law will, in turn, create such opposition to homosexuals in general that the climate of tolerance and acceptance in this country that we have all championed and supported and seen flourish over recent years could well be set back by decades. The noble Lord, Lord Fowler, who is not in his place, spoke eloquently and, indeed, spread his wings on the subject of what is going on in Uganda. None of us would want to see anything like that in this country; the last time that sort of behaviour occurred was several centuries ago. I ask the noble Lord and others to reflect on the fact that this Bill is not so much about equality as sameness. I leave those two words with your Lordships.

In other words, gays and lesbians should just sit down and shut up and be happy with the tolerance they have been given.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in the United Kingdom.


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