Wednesday, 6 February 2013

We are on our way...

Yesterday was a significant day; the UK's House of Commons passed a key vote proposing same sex marriage in England and Wales. While this measure does not automatically mean that this bill has passed into law, the overwhelming majority that voted in favour (a majority of 225 votes) pretty much guarantees its passage in the House of Lords, where the bill now goes. After all, it is highly unlikely that the unelected house would overrule a clear decision made by the elected house. If, as we expect it to, this bill gets enacted by the summer, as Prime Minister David Cameron plans to do, England and Wales will follow in the footsteps of less than a dozen countries around the world where there is same sex marriage. By this, I don't mean civil unions or partnerships or PACS (as they're called in France); I mean marriage in the traditional sense of the word, redefined as an institution to be more inclusive and encompassing of the social values of our constantly evolving world.

Even though this was the Conservative government's initiative, they faced a great deal of dissent from their backbenchers (with 136 Tory MPs opposing the bill), many of whom protested that such a proposal undermines the very essence of being the Conservative Party. However, I think that it's fairly obvious what Cameron's strategy with this is; it is to show younger voters, who might not be inclined to vote Conservative, that they are in touch with modern society and are prepared to evolve with it. It also demonstrates that the government is capable of working with the opposition on a social issue (with most Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs supporting the bill), one that is, arguably, even in 2013, still fairly divisive. Whatever the political motivations, I applaud them for carrying on the legacy of the Labour party who brought in civil partnerships less than a decade ago and going the full monty with what is the cornerstone of the struggle for gay rights equality. It's a step in the right direction. With no disrespect to the 11 pioneering countries that brought in same sex marriage before us (including Netherlands, Canda, Spain, South Africa and Argentina), the rest of the world will take notice of this. The UK will be the example that they may, one day, follow.

In the meantime, let's enjoy the music video below from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for their moving pro-same sex marriage song 'Same Love'.

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