Last week saw the breaking news that the US Supreme Court abolished the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In a nutshell, the act made it legal for other American states to not recognise same sex marriages. This has now paved the way for gay and lesbian American citizens to have the same equal marriage rights as their straight counterparts. This is excellent news and once again shows the there is a real movement toward equality gays and lesbians across the world.
I imagine Fred Phelps and his follows Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, went into over drive and no doubt blamed the recent heat wave and subsequent bush fires on this court decision. Of course we have our own set of loonies this side of the pond; a prime example comes from a group who have demand the right to a ‘Straight Pride March’; come on guys, this tired old protest has been around for years and each time has been shot down as being ridiculous. You just have to turn on the TV or step into the street to see straight people rejoicing in their heterosexuality without fear of persecution.
At present there are over 76 countries where it illegal to be gay, with some counties introducing some truly Draconian laws; including Russia who have recently made it illegal to even express any form of homosexuality, with President Putin proclaiming the act is to protect children. Such arguments were rolled out during Thatcher’s government used when they passed the much hated Clause 28, which in turn caused more harm than good, with young LGBT people afraid to ask for support, while ingrain the believe in others that to love someone of the same sex was wrong. Thankfully there is a changing tide, and counties like Russia whose views on homosexuality are being seen as increasingly outdated. Equality for all is not going to happen overnight, but progress is a cresting wave.
Last month I had the privilege of being involved with a project run by City Books, who have been getting the town to read the 1950’s Brighton based novel: My Policeman, By Bethan Roberts. The story explores a time and place where many gay men lived in fear of arrest or persecution for loving someone of the same sex. Read more