With the start of the new year, the UK’s Liberal Democrat party’s LGBT+ Liberal Democrats has a new chair; Ed Fordham has officially taken over from Adrian Trett.
Fordham said in a note, shared with the group’s Facebook page, “There is a huge amount to do and I have been gradually shedding other roles and committees to ensure that I could give this role the time and attention it deserves.”
The points he outlined include continuing to build their work, membership, and connections; support campaigns for not only equal marriage (which has yet to pass in Scotland and Northern Ireland), but other equal rights measures; leading the way in supporting global equality; and getting involved with faith communities to help them support everyone.
He wrote, “Too many people have described Same Sex Marriage as the ‘final’ campaign—this is not the case and many people still face discrimination—most obvious examples are the poor support and understanding of the Trans community, the misunderstanding of many issues facing bisexuals and also with homophobia and transphobia in schools and in sport. It’s also worth noting the battle has not been won in Scotland or Northern Ireland yet either.”
He also pointed out that “Too many countries have a legal code with a massive colonial heritage for which the UK cannot duck or hide. Most concerning in recent times have been the retrograde steps in Nigeria and Uganda, but also the poor and sluggish steps from the Australian Government, to name but three examples.”
Fordham made headlines when he became one of the first in the United Kingdom to announce he planned to legally marry his same-sex partner, Russell Eagling, as soon as it became possible. On July 18, during a rally in support of the UK’s equal marriage bill, as soon as word came that it had passed the House of Lords, Fordham knelt in front of Eagling and proposed then and there.
The two have been together for over fifteen years, but never entered into a civil partnership; still, Eagling told the Camden New Journal, “After 15-and-a-half years together I didn’t really have to think about the answer.”
Fordham added, “Someone said to me afterwards: ‘Why have you left it so long?’ And I said: ‘Well, you know it has been illegal until now.’”