Tatchell to march with Sarah Brown in London Pride

'Her support for Gay Pride is much appreciated' But..... Gordon and Sarah can marry, gays can't. Brown's government bans same-sex marriage

July 02, 2009

LONDON — "As a Patron of Pride London, I am delighted that the Prime Minister's wife, Sarah Brown, will be marching with us on Saturday's gay parade in London. I look forward to marching with her. Sarah's participation is much appreciated," said gay human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell.

"I won't embarrass her. I will be on my best behaviour. But I do plan to remind Sarah that she and Gordon were able to get married, whereas gay couples cannot. Her husband supports the ban on same-sex marriage. He won't give lesbian and gay partners the same right to marry as him and Sarah have enjoyed.

"I hope Sarah will be persuaded that the time has come for marriage equality, and that she'll have a word in Gordon's ear when she gets back to Downing Street after the parade.

"Civil partnerships are not equality. They are a form of sexual apartheid: gay couples cannot have a civil marriage and heterosexual couples cannot have a civil partnership. It is wrong to have different laws for gays and straights. In a democracy, the law is supposed to apply equally to everyone. This means equal marriage rights for all.

"In March this year, at a Downing Street reception for gay community leaders, from which I was excluded, Gordon Brown condemned the way Proposition 8 in California outlaws gay marriage. But isn't this a tad hypocritical, given that his government also outlaws same-sex marriage?

"According to an anonymous tip off I received on Monday, Gordon Brown has ensured that I am not on the invite list for this Saturday's Gay Pride reception at Downing Street, which he will host. The reception is being held for 'prominent gay campaigners' and the pink press. The official excuse for not inviting me, according my tip-off, is that I am not prominent enough to warrant an invite. Well, yes, I am not exactly a household name. But are any of the other invitees?

"Does this exclusion have anything to do with the fact that I have criticised the government's ban on same-sex marriage and its refusal to give asylum to gay refugees who have fled homophobic persecution in countries like Uganda, Iran, Nigeria and Belarus?

"I understand that Mr Brown is still angry that I heckled him over his government's war on terror and its erosion of civil liberties, when he opened the Taking Liberties exhibition at the British Library late last year. Perhaps he fears a repeat embarrassment?

"The Prime Minister claims to support gay equality but on key issues he is still endorsing homophobic discrimination.

"All gay and bisexual men are prohibited from donating blood, even if they always practice safe sex and have tested HIV-negative.

"Successive Labour Home Secretaries have given visas and work permits to reggae singers who incite the murder of gay people. Such incitement is a serious criminal offence.

"The government's current Equality Bill is supposed to ensure equal rights for everyone but it specifically denies lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people protection against harassment.

"Labour's many commendable gay law reforms are no excuse for its stonewalling on the abolition of these remaining aspects of homophobic discrimination.

"Gordon Brown has declined an invitation to march on Saturday's gay pride parade, together with his wife Sarah. Downing Street has claimed 'security considerations' are the reason for the Prime Minister's non-attendance. This is a poor excuse. More likely, he is not marching because he fears he would be booed and jeered, like he was at the D-Day commemorations.

"I have been campaigning for LGBT human rights for 40 years, since shortly after the 1969 Stonewall Riots. I was one of the group of people who helped organise Britain's first gay pride parade in 1972.

"I don't do my human rights work to win awards, titles, honours or invites. It doesn't matter to me that I haven't been invited to Downing Street. What angers me is the principle - the way the Prime Minister invites and fetes mostly pro-Labour loyalists in the LGBT community. It is a manipulative tactic by an insecure government that knows its record on lesbian and gay human rights is not as glorious as it claims.

"Instead of remedying the remaining issues of homophobic discrimination, Gordon Brown seems more interested in isolating and excluding gay voices who continue to insist on full LGBT human rights," said Mr Tatchell. – Issued by Peter Tatchell - Outrage!

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Britain's first Gay Pride march, 1972



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