Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Separate but equal?

In the House of Commons debate on same-sex marriage yesterday, one of the arguments used by Tory MP's opposed to its introduction was that gay couples could already have a civil partnership so there was no need to extend the right to marry to them.

David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, responded by saying their position was the same as racists in the American South in the fifties who claimed that segregated schools, housing, hotels etc. didn't mean black people were being discriminated against because they were "separate but equal". That clearly wasn't the case but even if it had been segregation would still have been something to be opposed on principle. So how does the same-sex marriage legislation measure up to that test?
The Bill MP's voted for last night bars gay couples from getting married in the Church of England and continues to exclude straight couples from a civil partnership. If I were a MP, I'd have voted for the Bill as a step towards equality but I'd also have put foward amendments removing the remaining barriers to it.

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