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Comment: Gay rights – the next ten years

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  1. Although Tony Blair happened to be Prime Minister when recent LGBT legislation was reformed, MOST of the changes have been introduced DESPITE Blair, NOT because of him.After the 1997 “landslide vicotry”, New Labour CONTINUED the Tory campaigns AGAINST equality: pursuing legal cases at the European Court against gays in the military, and against Lisa Grant’s claim for equal partnership rights at South West Trains.Repealing Thatcher’s Section 28 was repeatedly delayed; and the age of consent was eventually reduced and finally equalised only after bungled attempts to introduce the Bill were rejected by the House of Lords.Is Tony Blair a gay icon? Only if you’re using “gay” as Chris Moyles does!

  2. “So, now that Section 28 has been repealed and we can marry, adopt children and have legal protection against discrimination in the provision of good and services, what is there left for organisations such as Stonewall to campaign about?”Excuse me but am I missing something? Since when have Gay people been able to marry? Tony Blair publicly stated that Civil Unions are not marriage, otherwise he would have pushed for full marriage equality. It is NOT marriage, so why do you keep on it that? Its not. That is what you should all be campaigning for, to have Civil Partnerships merged into the Marriage Act then we’ll have our equality once and for all. All it would take would be a simple act of parliament since most of the rights of marriage are already in place. Nothing else would necessarily have to change. Heterosexuals can now see that the sky hasn’t fallen in, nor has British civilisation ended, nor has it affected the institution of marriage whatsoever as most of the religious bigots predicted.

  3. I think what the author meant by that paragraph was that this is a view held by homophobic people such as Richard Littlejohn. i.e. Now that they’ve got all this freedom and protection, what more could they want? That’s how I interpreted it anyway.Anyway, the entire remainder of the article is about how Stonewall do still have lots to campaign against. That the fight’s not all over.Great article, I thought. Tony Blair may be many things, but he has presided over major improvements to gay people’s civil liberties.

  4. Marriage is a religious issue, not a political one! If you want to get married go rant at the church, it’s not the government’s decision to make religious people CHANGE the Christian rite of passage to include gays. Civil Unions doesn’t = second class. Saying otherwise is just uninformed and pointless whinging which serves to make gays look irritating.

  5. Marriage doesn’t have to be a religious issue. Civil weddings are performed by a registrar and are completely independent from any church.Despite all the good things done by Labour for gay people, I would’ve liked to have seen full marriage rights made available, rather than the slightly watered down civil partnership.

  6. Alex (author) 16 May 2007, 5:39pm

    I agree that full marriage rights as opposed to civil partnerships might have been an even greater gesture for the gay community, but we should be realistic and welcome all the progress which has been made. To clarify, a civil partnership entitles couples to exactly the same legal treatment as a married couple across a range of matters. In my view, it would better serve the gay community, and organisations such as Stonewall, to focus their energy (as they are doing) on other areas of society where homophobia is rife than to lobby the government to change the name of civil partnership to marriage.

  7. Luke, with respect…if Civil Unions/Partnerships are supposed to offer most of the rights of marriage to Gay people and as such should not be deemed as bestowing second class citizenship, then why are these unions, assuming you think they are equal in everything but name, ot recognized outside the UK? It IS second class citizenship irrespective of the fact that most of the rights provided via CPs mirror marriage. After all, Blair stated that CPs are NOT marriages. I’m from London originally and live in New York State for many years. We don’t have Civil Unions or Partnerships in our state, there are only two others that offer such unions, ie. Vermont and New Jersy while Massachusetts offers full marriage since May 2004. If I were to come back to the UK to enter into a civil partnership with my partner of fourteen years and return to the U.S., my partnership would NOT be recognized in any of the fifty states. However, if I’d legally married my partner in Canada, Holland, Belgium, Spain or South Africa, my marriage would be recognized in any of those countries and in New York state which recently passed legislation recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Civil Unions/Partnerships definitely ARE second class and discriminatory, no matter how you look at them and no matter how many rights they confer. Marriage IS the gold standard, anywhere in the world. Yes, CP’s are better than nothing, a step forward, but they are not equal to marriage, never will be.Robert, NYC, ex-pat. Brit

  8. Well, thanks Robert. I was genuinely asking people to tell me because I couldn’t find anywhere I looked a text that explained what the differences were, and whether there were drawbacks. I just heard people saying “oh, we’re just second class!” and I thought it was people exaggerating and being annoying. I also realise that marriage is not a religious institution after looking it up properly. Ugh, I feel stupid. I guess deep down I also wanted them to be equal because that’s one less thing to have to be angry about – but oh well. Not yet obviously.

  9. Luke, you are more than welcome, glad to have been of help. My email address if you need any other information is robertocucina@earthlink.netRobert, NYC.

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