Gay marriage by 2015 : “a cast-iron guarantee?”
by Fairy Cake
The Most Cake ladies are slowly emerging, sweaty and hung-over, from the cultural gang bang that was Fringe! Festival. Sweaty, hung-over and slightly more politically informed.
Example : on Sunday the lovely ladies and gents of Stonewall reminded us all that the government are now taking proper formalised steps to legalising gay marriage in the UK. I’d known about this from the bit of coverage the Guardian has given the plans, but by Jeebus the mainstream press appear to be avoiding this issue like … well, like they avoid almost every issue that genuinely need reporting, in favour of articles written by angry middle-aged female journalists about Amanda Holden/Rachel Weiss/a Kardashian’s unsightly bingo-wings.
Predictably, the clergy have got their knickers in a twist (even though the current suggestion is to only extend civil marriage to gays, which would mean gay-unfriendly churches wouldn’t need to worry about us coming and lezzing off with their congregation or whatever it is they think we’re going to do) and, rather upsettingly, quite a lot of MPs have opposed changing the law. Conversative MP Peter Bone, during his response to the proposals back in March asked, “Wouldn’t it just be very simple say: ‘Marriage is between a man and a woman so this is completely nuts’?” The answer of course being, “No, it wouldn’t and also shut up.”
I naively thought that we’d got past all of this Adam-and-Eve-not-Adam-and-Steve business but it turns out the marriage-deniers have actually just got more organised. The Coalition for Marriage, fronted by several disturbingly charismatic chairmen and women, has just launched a shiny new website and has racked up over 400.000 signatures against changing the definition of marriage. C4M (trendy!) threatens “profound consequences” such as “schools having to teach the new definition of marriage”, “people’s careers possibly being harmed” and other hilarious excuses that don’t make any sense. However, the lack of religious sway, and focus on ‘practicalities,’ in C4M’s campaigning means that their appeal is broad, and they’ve already been on Channel4 and are all over the BBC.
Lynne Featherstone has pledged that gays will be be able to legally tie the knot before 2015, but there is still huge opposition to this pledge, and without vocal support and continued activism D-Cam and crew could end up pausing or abandoning plans to legalise gay marriage – especially since the government’s core supporters and some key MPs have stated they feel the changes are an attack on traditional values.
Stonewall are kicking off their campaign to fight these bigots and make sure marriage is extended to all. In addition, they want to make sure that priests, bishops, rabbis and other clergymen and women who want to perform gay marriages will be allowed to do so – under current proposals, gay marriage in churches, Quaker meeting houses and other religious buildings is still banned. But if you’re pro-gay marriage, the most important thing you can do RIGHT NOW is fill in the Equal Marriage Consultation Response form via the Home Office Website, which can be found here.
This is basically a big ol’ survey of queers and their friends, which asks lots of questions about the importance of having civil (i.e non-religious) marriage opened up to include same-sex partnerships, and will play a part in informing how the government moves forward… hopefully. In the meantime, keep your eye out for news – we’ll be keeping you informed about any major changes – and support Stonewall because they are amazing.