‘As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.’ John Stuart Mill
It is quite rare for there to be a vote in the House of Commons where one side is utterly, utterly right and the other is utterly, utterly wrong. For said vote to occur while we’re in Government and, frankly, because we’re in Government, is even rarer. But it’s happening, guys. Tomorrow, MPs vote on the Equal Marriage bill. Radical change is in the air, and the goal of marriage equality now seems so close that we can hardly fail to grasp it.
Let’s face it, most arguments against the Bill can be rebutted in a mid-sized tweet. The Anglican and Catholic Churches interpret Scripture in such a way that they don’t want to perform same-sex marriages. That’s why we’ve said they don’t have to. But other religious groups (Quakers, liberal Jews etc.) are quite keen on the whole shebang, so why should Anglican and Catholic morality be allowed to trample all over their religious freedom? And I dimly remember the UKIP chairman, Steve Crowther, say on Any Questions that the gay community don’t really want marriage. Well, Steve, when was the last time you talked to a gay person? The ones I’ve met seem fairly chuffed with the idea. At heart, this comes down to one fundamental question: are gay people human beings? Yes? Well, they deserve equal rights under the law.
Eight countries in Europe have legalised same-sex marriage, as has swathes of the United States. Plus, it’s not a new idea- we classicists could tell you that it was quite common in Ancient Greece and Rome. The Emperor Nero married a man. Twice. Now, two thousand years later, Britain looks ready to take the same step. But the battle’s not won yet. Though polls overwhelmingly support the Bill, many MPs are wavering. Write to them and tell them to vote for liberty and justice. Furthermore, if you’re a Londoner, there’s a demonstration in front of Parliament tomorrow. Make it like the final scene of the new Les Misérables film, – get on that barricade, wave that flag, and when the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums, there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!
Reece Edmends is Liberal Youth Non-Portfolio Officer.