Barack Obama joins global trend on gay marriage
Australian human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell says Barack Obama’s gay marriage stance is a boost to the worldwide campaign for marriage equality and will help end ‘sexual apartheid’.
US President Barack Obama has backed same-sex marriages, joining a throng of world leaders who support the highly divisive issue, such as the British Prime Minister David Cameron and the new French President Francois Hollande. Australian human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who is based in London, says this latest show of high-profile support can only do good things for the cause.
“It’s an unstoppable global trend, with more and more countries planning to end the ban on gay couples getting married. There is growing momentum for same-sex marriage in many countries, from Cuba to Nepal, Denmark, Australia and Columbia,” said Mr Tatchell.
Mr Tatchell is the national coordinator of the UK’s Equal Love campaign, which seeks to overturn the twin legal bans on gay civil marriages and heterosexual civil partnerships.
“Obama’s support will boost the worldwide campaign for marriage equality and, through media reporting of his support, raise awareness of gay marriage among billions of people in every corner of the earth.
“It is significant that Obama’s change of heart was prompted by discussions with his family and friends, including gay White House staffers and gay parents at his daughters’ school. He was also influenced by the sacrifices of US lesbian and gay military personnel. This is further evidence that people who have gay friends are more likely to support gay equality,” Mr Tatchell said.
“Same-sex couples are already allowed to marry in Canada, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Iceland and South Africa; plus several states in the US, Mexico and Brazil.
“Gay marriage is all about love. The love of same-sex couples is just as real, strong and committed as that of married heterosexual men and women. Prohibiting same-sex marriage devalues and denigrates the love of lesbian and gay couples. It signifies our continuing second class legal status.”
But Mr Tatchell said it works just as strongly the other way too.
“Barring same-sex couples from civil marriages and opposite-sex couples from civil partnerships is as offensive as barring black or Jewish couples. It’s a form of sexual apartheid to have separate laws for gay and straight people.
“In a democratic society, everyone should be equal before the law. The Equal Love campaign wants civil marriages and civil partnerships open to gay and heterosexual couples, without any discrimination based on sexual orientation.”