29.03 2014. Sinclair and Sean married in Camden Town Hall
After many years of determined campaigning in the face of the vitriolic abuse of reactionaries and the religeously misguided, the first same-sex weddings are happening across much of the UK today.
We celebrate this fact, not because of the institution of marriage itself, but because it marks yet another giant stride towards the equality that we have sought for so long.
Same-sex couples will be able to marry in Scotland too by the end of 2014 as Queen Elizabeth II signed the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, into law a few weeks ago. Northern Ireland is now the only remaining UK nation where equal marriage has not been legalised.
But let's not fool ourselves into believing that the fight for equality is won. Even in America, whither goes much of the credit for pioneering the path to equality, the battle continues on a number of fronts.
Bishop Paul J Bradley still resisting!
Same sex marriages have been subjected to banning orders in several states, with Minnesota the most recent battleground. An initial ruling declared the ban unconstitutional, the fifth such ruling in recent months following Texas, Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia. However a motion of stay has once more temporarily reinstated the ban to the relief of the reactionary Bishop Paul J Bradley of the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo. He ranted "With the stroke of a pen, the meaning of marriage, one of society’s most sacred institutions and the very foundation of the family, has been redefined in our state.” Well, yes, Paul that was the whole idea! This battle may run on a while longer.
Elsewhere the co-founder of the anti-gay National Organisation for Marriage, Maggie Gallagher, may have conceded that “we are now in the ‘gay marriage in all 50 states’ phase whether we like it or not.” She added, however, that the next step for her organisation would be to fight for allowing religious groups to refuse goods and services to same-sex couples.
Maggie Gallagher. Defeated but not finished. Sigh!
We don't think Bradley or Gallagher would get much change out of Joe Biden, the US Vice President or from Nick Clegg, UK Deputy Prime Minister. An early supporter of same-sex marriage, Jo has now identified LGBT rights as an “inseparable part of America’s promotion of human rights.” He was issuing a call to Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Jo Biden Nick Clegg
In characteristically direct mode, Biden said it’s “close to barbaric” that employees can still be fired in some states because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. “Imagine" he added,"20 years from now, as America looks back and says how in the hell could that have ever been allowed? The country’s moved on. The American people have moved on, it’s time for the Congress to move on, and pass ENDA. Pass ENDA now. Not tomorrow, now! If you think about it, it’s outrageous we’re even debating this subject. I really mean it. I mean it’s almost beyond belief that today, in 2014, I could say to you, as your employee in so many states, you’re fired, because of who you love. I mean think about that. It is bizarre, no-no-no, it really is. It really is, I didn’t even think most Americans even know that employers can do that.”
UK Deputy PM, Nick Clegg also deserves respect for insisting that the Rainbow Flag be flown over the weekend, saying, "Raising the rainbow flag on Whitehall is a small symbol to celebrate a massive achievement."
Welcoming the news in Montreal.
So, on a special day for same sex couples in England and Wales, let's be thankful for the brave politicians like Biden and Clegg who see the big picture and continue to fight the fight against the inevitable remaining bigots. Nice ones, Joe and Nick. Now let's get those champagne corks popping!
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