Thursday, 20 May 2010

Marriage Equality: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

This week has seen three issues relevant to the fight for marriage equality.

1) The Good: Portugal has joined the 5 other European countries who have legislated for marriage equality. This is yet another supposedly "Catholic country" who has taken the brave step of granting equal rights to it's citizens in the face of religious opposition. Portugal... we salute you!

2) The Bad: The Coalition has presented it's programme for Government. Like this blog post it's a mixed bag of the good, the bad and the ugly. However with regards to LGBT rights it is yet another step (but just a step) forward. There is, unsurprisingly, no mention of marriage equality (it wasn't a manifesto commitment of either party which is a crying shame. If we'd managed to get this through conference last time we might have actually been able to argue the case now). Where there are Lib Dems in Government there is hope but I suspect this Government shall be busy with all it's proposals and I highly doubt there will be any movement on this issue during this Parliament. Alas. 5 more years.

3) The Ugly: In Malawi, two men were convicted just for being gay and sentenced to 14 years hard labour. Our politicians make all the right noises about equality now (a big step in the right direction) but they are powerless to help Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20. In these awful countries there is no struggle for marriage equality, there is just a struggle for life and the freedom to be yourself. As the LGBT people of Portugal celebrate their victory, and we in the UK limp closer to the light, darkness still reigns in much of the world. Steven and Tiwonge (and the many others like them) are not going to be saved without fighting. Amnesty International have adopted them as prisoners of conscience and I urge you to join them if you are not already a member to support their work.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

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