Comment: Gordon Brown speaks out for gay rights at Downing Street
Below is the text as transcribed by PinkNews.co.uk of Gordon Brown’s speech
This is the first LGBT reception in Downing Street and Sarah and I are really proud that we are hosting it. And my congratulations to Amy [Lame] and Jenny, who will be civil partners tomorrow and are having their hen night in Downing Street.
I’d like to thank all of you for coming here this evening. I’m really proud of what you’ve achieved – what you’ve achieved for yourselves, what you’ve achieved for your country – by breaking through barriers of discrimination and prejudiced and homophobia. We are proud of what you have achieved and Sarah and I want to say what a tremendous campaign you have all fought over so many years. We are proud of everything you have done.
And please note that in the battle for rights, Amy and Jenny couldn’t be having their civil partnership tomorrow but for the decisions you have made.
We have legislated on inheritance tax, we have legislated on homophobia in schools, we will keep taking legislative measures to protect you. You cannot legislate love. We want to support you to have the freedom that you need to enjoy yourselves
I was in America yesterday and I know you will be sorry I didn’t bring Barack Obama back. He is coming soon. But what I saw in America told me what we have to do. This Proposition 8, this attempt to undo the good that has been done. This attempt to create divorces among 18,000 people who were perfectly legally brought together in partnerships, this is unacceptable and shows me why we always have to be vigilant, why we have always got to fight homophobic behaviour and any form of discrimination.
I want to say to you all, you broke a new ground, you’ve shown what can be done, you’ve shown how you can change opinion in our country, you’ve shown how the legislative process, by your pressure, can be changed.
I look back over at these great historical movements that have happened over the last centuries. Some of you may have seen that video at the time of the G8 Conference by Make Poverty History and what they did was they photographed the movement against the slave trade, where thousands of people marched. And they didn’t focus on just the leaders, they focused on the people who were marching. And then they went to the Suffragette movement. They didn’t have photographs of the people speaking from the rostrum, they had photographs of those people who marched in support. And then they went to to the civil rights movement, and they showed these great pictures, not of Martin Luther King, but of all these people who had the courage to stand up and march and fight.
And you too have shown enormous courage. You have had to stand up and fight for your rights. We want to support you in what you do and just remember, those who march, those who demand change, those who fight in their own race for that change, are doing as much as any leaders and any people who are making speeches up here.
And you know, one thing I was told in America, was that when Cicero went to speak in ancient Rome, people said after he’d spoken, “great speech”. And he went away with the adulation of the crowd. When Demosthenes went to speak in ancient Greece and talked about justice, people didn’t turn to each other and say “great speech”, they turned to each other and said “lets march”. And those who go on marches for justice – against discrimination, against prejudice, against homophobia – we are with you and in supporting everything you do, we are part of the same team working for justice. Thank you all very much.