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Popular Topics in The Arts
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Topics In the News
Britons Celebrate Marriage Equality Victory
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 02/06/13
Last updated on: 02/07/13
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Equal rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

After the U.K.'s House of Commons voted in favor of the equal marriage bill by a margin of 400 to 175 on February 5, 2013, Britons celebrated the victory. While some newspapers attempted to construe the vote as a defeat for Prime Minister Cameron, who was unable to persuade a majority of his Conservative MPs to vote in favor of the bill, the fact remains that the vote was overwhelming.

Writing in PinkNews, equal rights campaigner Peter Tatchell described the vote as "a resounding, historic victory for love and equality. It has brought joy and hope to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who love each other and who want to get married."

He added, "We are on the cusp of ending the last major legal discrimination against gay people. This vote for equal marriage is the culmination of the struggle for homosexual equality that I and others began in the 1960s. We are nearly there."

A vigil outside Parliament turned into a great celebration when the lop-sided tally was announced.

However, James Howarth, a campaigner with the Peter Tatchell Foundation, struck a note of caution: "The opponents of same-sex marriage are a vociferous homophobic minority, mostly motivated by irrational religious dogma. They want to maintain heterosexual privilege in law; putting tradition before dignity, fairness, equality and compassion.

"They are resorting to smears and scare tactics, including the unfounded claims that same-sex marriage will be forced on religious institutions and that it is the slippery slope to legalising polygamy and incest. These are revolting slurs, unworthy of any genuine person of faith."

He said that "The fact that some senior politicians and churchmen believe same-sex couples are unworthy of marriage is proof that homophobia is still an acceptable prejudice at the highest levels of society. Their support for discrimination in marriage law gives comfort to bigots everywhere."

While caution is advisable as the bill continues its passage into law, there is also reason to celebrate.

In the video below, Labour MP David Lammy speaks during the debate on the marriage bill in the House of Commons and declares that "separate but equal" is a fraud.

The video below, from Britain's Channel 4 News, places the equal marriage vote in historical perspective. (Thanks to Joe Jervis.)

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