Monday, 5 April 2010
WARNING THIS IS A RANT. As always, take it with a pinch of salt.
One thing that has irked me greatly, during the whole Chris Grayling/B&B story, is the smugness of Labour supporters (especially GLBT ones). They've wallowed in this scandal eagerly, lambasting Tories left, right and centre and shouting about how "liberal" their party is.
Well I won't argue that the Labour party hasn't tried when it comes to gay rights. They started off so well. But where they went wrong was that they focussed on basically illiberal, from a certain point of view as Obi-Wan would say, equality legislation.
Instead of fighting for the one thing that would make us fully equal citizens of this country, marriage equality, Labour did something well-meaning but ultimately destructive; they introduced apartheid like conditions upon us with "Civil Partnerships". This one single thing has probably done more damage to the cause of GLBT freedom in this country than any regressive legislation the Tories ever dreamt up in the 1980s.
I've had discussions with GLBT members of both Labour and the Conservatives. In both cases they offered sympathy for my position (marriage equality is non-negotiable, and a matter of human rights AND religious freedom) and professed belief, based on absolutely no evidence, that not only will their parties change their positions (which, in both cases, is against gay marriage) but, even more unbelievably, gay marriage is merely a matter of a "few more years" away.
This is too much for me. What evidence do they have for this? None. They are deluding themselves to make themselves feel better for their general political positions. Instead of saying "Yeah, we don't support gay marriage. Sorry, but there are more important things for me to worry about" (a position I would have some understanding of) they pretend things will somehow magically change (when there is no movement for it to do so, even Stonewall isn't asking Labour to introduce gay marriage!) .
I think it is wrong that members of these parties are spouting false hope to GLBT people, offering soothing words to make them feel better whilst on the other hand continuing to fight for a party who will not deliver on their promises.
I've said it before: civil partnerships are not a stepping stone to gay marriage. They are a dead end. We are now stuck there. We either accept our second class status, or we break out.
I don't believe in supporting/not supporting a party on single issues. But I do believe self-delusion is wrong. Either accept that the Tories will never deliver gay marriage and that New Labour might do but not in this decade or realise we cannot achieve our freedom through them.
I have little faith that gay marriage will be legalised in this country before I'm 40. I have little faith I'll be able to join with my boyfriend in a publicly recognised equal union before he is in his 50s! That makes me angry, and very sad, and I cannot tolerate the lies that the two main parties supporters delude themselves with.
If you want true equality VOTE FOR IT. There are parties out there who truly believe that GLBT people should just be treated as equal members of society. Those parties are not the Tories nor Labour.
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist