Current Affairs

Council to discuss marriage and MP’s gender-neutral Shakespeare comments today

Stephen Gray April 12, 2012
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A full house is expected today at a meeting in Margate to discuss the government’s proposals for equal marriage and the comments made by Sir Roger Gale, Thanet North’s MP.

The meeting was called after Sir Roger, the region’s MP for nearly thirty years, wrote an article describing prime minister David Cameron’s plans to introduce civil marriage equality as “almost Stalinist”, saying they would “rewrite history and tradition”.

Writing in the Thanet Extra, he said: “If we are to re-construct official and business documentation and to replace “Husband and Wife” with “spouses” and “partners” where will this stop? Will Shakespeare and Milton and The Holy Bible be re-written also? Will only “correctly” expurgated literature be allowed to be used in the classroom?”

Meeting organiser and Thanet Independent Councillor, Ian Driver, said: “I am amazed by the feedback I am getting. Lots of people have been in touch to say that will be coming to the meeting. I get the impression that many Thanet people want to make a stand against the old fashioned bigotry expressed by Gale and demand equal rights in marriage.

“The people I have spoken to are a cross section of Thanet – men, women, young, old, gay lesbian, trans-gender and straight. I am grateful to Roger Gale for encouraging a spontaneous show of community solidarity against homophobic prejudice.”

The meeting will take place at the Margate Media Centre this evening.

Ian Driver and fellow independent councillor John Worrow will also be moving a motion in support of equal marriage at the next meeting of Thanet Council on 19 April.

This could make Thanet Council the first in Kent and one of the first in England to vote in support of the government’s consultation proposals for marriage equality.

Sir Roger could not be reached for comment by this afternoon but has previously defended his remarks.

Related topics: equal marriage, marriage equality, roger gale

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