Irish playwright, novelist and poet Sebastian Barry writes to the Irish Times explaining why he will be voting a resounding ‘Yes’ in the upcoming same sex marriage referendum. Beautiful words. He clearly gets it.
According to a new Gallop poll, support for same sex marriage is at a new high in the United States. The rate of change since 1996 when only 27% of people supported gay marriage to now in 2015 where 60% do is quite staggering. It goes to show how arbitrary peoples dislikes of others really are and how fast change can come when we remove the blinkers.
In addition to actions brave individuals and groups took in the early days of the gay rights movement, I feel that we can also thank the Internet for these adances. It allowed lgbtq individuals to fully expressive themselves, to organise, to develop friendships and to date in ways that previously would’ve been impossible. An a time where online freedoms are being eroded, we need to ensure that our friends in more repressive countries have these same opportunities.
Madonna is no stranger to controversy and her Instagram posts often make headlines for their provocative nature. It’s no surprise then that her latest post featuring a Muslim and Jewish man about to kiss has received a predictably mixed response. The image falls across so many religious, political and sexuality fault lines that it was bound to draw such a response. Unlike some of her other posts though, I think she’s justified in posting this.
Some regions of the world do have very backward view of gay people (and LGBTQ rights in general) and to shine a light on that plight, even if it’s done partly with ‘causing controversy’ in mind is a valid expression in my view. In addition there are clearly many political and cultural issues in the middle east between Israel and its neighbours, but really how can an expression of affection and love be a negative representation of that. People need to embrace examples of commonality and barriers coming down, but put more up.
This image and ones like it have been all over twitter today and for good reason. Following their recent election success here in the UK, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has appointed Caroline Dineage as equalities minister. The irony is that she herself actually voted against legalising gay marriage. Doesn’t sound very equality driven to me and unfortunately reminds us of the attitudes of the Conservative party of old.
The Tories are of course known for their anti gay politics, such as the loathsome Section 28 introduced by the party in 1988 and not overturned until 3003 in most of the UK. The actual measure stated: “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. The reality on the ground was that in many cases it as impossible to defend bullied LGBTQ students as a result of these local laws. To make matters worse even many lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans student groups closed due to fears they might be breaking the laws.
The 80’s were of course a very dark time for LGBT people though, so Section 28 in that context as no surprise. Here’s a clip of Margaret Thatcher, the PM at the time giving a spech in which she declared that children had no right “to be gay”.
In more recent years the party has attempted to change its image, with David Cameron himself pushing to update existing civil ceremonies laws for gay couples to also allow for full marriage (though with an exemption in place which makes it illegal for same sex marriages to be carried out in Church of England churches). However, the right wing and religious elements of his own party were nowhere near as keen as he was and it look ministers from Labour and the Liberal Democrats to help ensure that same sex marriage was in fact legalised.
As same sex marriage oral arguments commence at the US supreme court, this homophobic individual decided to make his feelings known with a sign featuring a gay couple kissing, plastered with the word ”shame’. There’s only one person who should be ashamed here though. People like this will be consigned to the history books soon enough.