Commentators react to “watershed” UK equality legislation


Less than one month after the rulings to reject DOMA and Proposition 8 in the United States, the England and Wales are the latest countries to celebrate equal marriage rights, following the ceremonial approval of Queen Elizabeth II on July 17.

Actor and presenter Stephen Fry reacted by tweeting “Thanks, Your Majesty, for the Royal Assent. You soon won’t be the only married queen in Britain. Hurrah, hurray hurroo!”

Lawyer S Chelvan described to 429Magazine the momentousness of the landmark legislation: “The new law marks a watershed in gay rights here in the UK. We are free to love, free to marry and equal human beings. Those who oppose our rights are now consigned to history.”

Filmmaker Shiv Paul praised the advancement of equality in the country where he grew up. “I was born in India, brought up in the UK and now live in the US and in each place I’ve witnessed discrimination against people whether because of their nationality, the colour of their skin, their gender, their ability, their religion or their sexuality. Subjugation of any societal group’s basic human rights is ridiculous and borne of fear—perhaps mostly fear of that fact that the oppressor has more in common with the oppressed than it cares to admit,” he told 429Magazine.

“The facts of your life are what you are given, the truth of your life is what you choose. Thanks to all those who have fought against the facts they were given for a different truth – women, people of colour and, today, members of the gay and lesbian community—tomorrow will be a little more equal for all.”

GCN Magazine editor Brian Finnegan spoke of the likely impact the UK’s legislation would have in neighboring Ireland. “I welcome the approval of marriage equality in the UK, although there are several areas where full equality is withheld in the legislation. This is more evidence that the world is moving forward in the recognition of the human rights of lesbians and gay men, and it sends a strong message to those countries who continue to actively discriminate against us,” he said.

“It is likely that in 2014 there will be a government referendum to change the Irish Constitution to recognise same-sex marriage. I hope that the Irish people will vote for marriage for same-sex couples, despite anticipated strong opposition from religious organisations, as right-thinking members of the British government have done in the face of grave opposition from the Church of England and Church of Wales and the Roman Catholic Church in England.”


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