Friday, 24 September 2010

Marriage Equality: Strangely Welcome Days Are These

In marriage equality news here in the UK:

Well the last week has been “fun” hasn’t it? First up we had the Stonewall fringe event at the Liberal Democrat conference where Ben Summerskill (of Stonewall fame, and of particular infamy here for many blog posts past) may have said he didn’t support marriage equality and civil partnership equality because of the cost and because of some incredibly ridiculous “feminist” arguments about the evils of marriage. I love it when men use feminist arguments to deny choice to men and… WOMEN! I’m always amazed that these people stand up and declare marriage to be an evil institution whilst insisting heterosexuals should not have access to civil partnerships and doing absolutely nothing to advance the cause of marriage reform or privitisation. It’s not just sad, it’s a blatant lack of consistency within their beliefs.

But in happier news Lib Dems, such as Stephen Gilbert MP and Lynne Featherstone (Minister for Equalities), stood up and defended marriage equality in no uncertain terms.

Then on Tuesday the marriage equality debate occurred at the conference itself which resulted in some strong arguments from the podium, followed by a near unanimous vote in favour of adopting marriage equality as party policy. This makes the Liberal Democrats the first party of the big three parties to adopt this position. Good times!

Brian Paddick illuminated an issue I had hitherto been unaware of. Many private pension companies have been treating civil partnerships as worth less than marriage with regards to pension arrangements for spouses after one has died. This is unacceptable and yet another clear sign marriage equality needs to be implemented to ensure no loopholes are available for companies to treat same sex relationships as second class.

In upcoming events:

On Monday there is another Stonewall fringe event at the Labour party conference. I’ve already received word that several members of the Rag Tag marriage equality pressure group (unofficial) will be there to try to get some clarification from Summerskill of his views (which I think he’s made quite clear in the past but that’s just because I’ve been paying closer attention for a longer period of time). I await the results of their enquiries eagerly (whilst I’d love to continue hating on Stonewall, realistically I think it’d be better if they admitted their mistakes and joined the crusade)

And LGBT Labour are currently trying to get a marriage equality debate on to the agenda at their conference, I hope that they can manage it as it would be quite the achievement to convert two parties to the marriage equality cause in the space of two weeks.

All in all, exciting times for marriage equality. Some are dragging their feet (Attitude magazine’s latest article seems to completely miss that Civil Partnerships are different to marriage in real legal and human ways) and this is, in some instances, getting it more attention (such as in the case of Stonewall). But I really think the movement towards marriage equality is growing and this bodes well for future political action.

I just have to say I no longer feel like a lone voice in the dark shouting and hollering about this issue. In fact the momentum has been taken up by far more articulate and awesome people than I and I can now rest assured the issue is being dealt with by some very competent campaigners.
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

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