One of the anti-marriage equality types favourite "throw a spanner in the works" moves is to point out, rightly, there are more important things to be fighting for. No we're not talking jobs, peace and helping those in need (all of which I would personally state are more important) but we're talking on an LGBT rights front.
What about homophobic bullying?, they cry. Don't you think overturning the blood donation ban is more important?, some do indeed scream. We need to get our priorities straight, they lament.
Of course I think this is all ridiculous, for various reasons.
1) Many of the issues that are brought up, such as tackling homophobic bullying, are already on the Government's agenda. We are no longer in a situation of fighting for them, but are now in a position of keeping an eye on the implementation of these policies.
2) These issues don't exist in a vacuum. We are not in a position where we can pick and choose what rights we want. There is no apprenticeship for freedom. The issues are all related, and all about how society at large views LGBT people. We don't have an option of choosing to fight homophobic bullying now and then fight for marriage equality next. Both are intrinsically linked. We cannot change the hearts and minds of children in the playground if they can see adults are not treated equally.
3) We can fight for more than one thing at a time! Did we say "Well let's not worry about gays in the military until we've got the age of consent equalised?" in the '90s?? No we did not. The fight was fought on many fronts. We won those battles.
4) Prioritising one issue over another serves only to alienate those who have different personal agendas. It is an unnecessary hindrance to a cohesive message of equality.
I despise those who have "priorities" when it comes to equal rights for all citizens. As if THEY know what is more important to each and every person. Just because I focus on marriage equality as my "cause celebre", it does not mean I think it is more important than a great many unresolved LGBT issues.
Not only do I support solving the issues the Coalition have highlighted in their "Working for LGBT Equality" paper, but I also support campaigns to overturn the British blood donation ban, to overturn Labour's transphobic elements in the Equality Act, and to repeal Labour's homophobic Amendment 70. And then there are transgender rights which are, still, sadly maligned and given little support.
What really irks me about those who prioritise rights is that they don't really seem to believe it. In a majority of cases it's just because they are opposed, for ideological reasons, to marriage equality. They hate marriage and don't want anything to do with it... even if it means stopping other LGBT people from getting it too. It drives me mad!!
When marriage equality becomes a reality I shan't be happy. Because other rights remain to be fought for, other homophobic laws remain to be overturned, and other issues more important than any of those (like homelessness, poverty, crime) remain to be fought against. My priority is a better world, one I'll never stop hoping and fighting for.
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist