08 November 2005

City Rose: Back in 1989.

Contrary to what a lot of you might now be thinking, I don't want to turn my blog into a one issue blog arguing in favour of ID cards and nothing else. I've written about 15 posts on this already and fielded hundreds of comments on the subject. I hope its been as informative for you as it has been for me. I will continue to post on the subject and answer as many comments as I have time to, but I need to devote some time to other issues as well.

I've managed to get my hands on a copy of the winter 2005/06 City Rose and also a copy of David Lepper's MP report, and there are a few articles I'm going to shamelessly pinch, because I believe they are so good they need to be online. So here goes with the first instalment;

Back in 1989, by Simon Fanshawe.

Seven of us started Stonewall back in 1989. We had all been involved in trying to stop the hideous section 28. We failed. The Tories passed this bullies charter. But we were determined to start a campaign to make sure that gay people would in future be equal with their friends before the law. We used to joke that if we worked hard, we'd have full equality by the new century. Not a bad aim. But at the time it seemed more of a fairy tale (if you see what I mean).

So it has been thrilling to see what this government has done, the way it has embraced the civil rights of gays and lesbians, and understood just how much difference it could make to our lives. One by one, the law has been made equal. The age of consent was equalised, as was the immigration rules for partners from abroad, the military ban was lifted, adoption and fostering rules were changed, sexual offences were reformed so that they are now what is called sexuality neutral - the same laws govern the behaviour of gays and heterosexuals. And now on December 21st, the very first gay couples will make their vows to each other in a legal ceremony, enabling us to confirm our love for each other in a legal ceremony with friends and family and also to guarantee our financial security both in life and death just as our parents and sisters and brothers have always been able to do.

This is important to so many hundreds of thousands of gay men and women. It means that if one dies,the other can automatically inherit our home without being chucked out because we can't afford the tax, which is what happened before. We will be entitled to pension rights through our partner, in hospital we will legally be the next of kin - no prejudice can shift us from the bedside of our loved one. Every Saturday from now on, there'll be lesbian and gay couples covered in confetti, riding through the city in limos towards the rest of their lives together. And in Brighton and Hove of course, we have the best cake shop, so you can even get from Choccywocydoodah, a lesbian and gay version of the kiss. Gay men and women have worked with this Labour Government to make happen something many of us who have been fighting for gay rights, never quite believed would happen in our lifetime.


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