Show Racism the Red Card welcomes the news of a step towards marriage equality for all
"It is the end of an organic journey from criminality to equality for the gay community that began over a half century ago. This change is right, this change is necessary and the time is now."
David Lammy MP
Show Racism the Red Card welcomes the news that MPs have voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex couples) Bill on its second reading in Parliament yesterday. The bill was afforded a ‘free vote’ meaning that MPs were not ordered to vote a certain way by their political parties. 400 members voted for the bill and 175 voted against.
If it becomes law, the bill will enable same-sex couples, who are currently able to engage in civil partnerships, to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies.
However, the change won’t be forced on religious organisations, they will have to ‘opt-in’ to hold ceremonies. The legislation explicitly states that it will be illegal for the Church of England and the Church in Wales to marry same-sex couples after both churches expressed strong opposition to the change.
The reading sparked a passionate debate in the house and the BBC has a selection of some cross party quotes, both for and against.
David Lammy MP (Lab) welcomed the decision and equated the current situation to segregation, "It is the end of an organic journey from criminality to equality for the gay community that began over a half century ago. This change is right, this change is necessary and the time is now.
"There are still those who say this is all unnecessary. Why do we need gay marriage when we already have civil partnership, they say. They are the same - separate but equal - they claim. Let me speak frankly - separate but equal is a fraud. Separate but equal is the language that tried to push Rosa Parks to the back of the bus. Separate but equal is the motif that determined that black and white people could not possibly drink from the same water fountain, eat at the same table or use the same toilets. It is an excerpt from the phrasebook of the segregationist and the racists. This is not separate but equal it is separate and discriminated, separate and oppressed, separate and brow beaten, separate and subjugated. Separate is not equal so let us be rid of it."
Guy Opperman MP (Cons) supported the change, saying, "This is one of the finest debates that I have ever had the privilege of listening to, with outstanding contributions on both sides. This House, I suggest, is on a journey, and it is a journey that can be traced back many years. A hundred years ago there were the suffragettes and the opportunity for women to have the vote. In 1922 women were entitled to be MPs. Fifty years ago we had the civil rights movement and in 1967 homosexuality was made legal. Approximately 10 years ago civil partnerships were made legal.
"We are all changing. The House must change with it, and so must the country. That is why I will support the bill tonight.
Homophobia is still a big problem in society and homophobic language can be heard in schools and workplaces throughout the UK.
Show Racism the Red Card developed two films and a detailed education pack to combat Homophobia which is suitaable for use with KS2 pupils – adults. See more info about this resource here.