There’s been a bit of news recently regarding same sex marriages, both here in the Disunited Kingdom, and in the United States. On Wednesday, Elizabeth the 2nd, the Queen of England (and other places), gave her annual “Queen’s Speech” in which she outlines the main legislation “her Government” will attempt to bring into law in the upcoming Parliamentary session. In reality, of course, it is the Government these days who write the speech, she has no say in what legislation is brought before Parliament.
There were protests outside Parliament, particularly from the gay rights group Stonewall, about the lack of any mention in her speech of the Government’s promise to introduce same sex marriages. As I have blogged about before, same sex civil partnerships have been legal in the Disunited Kingdom since 2005, but many gay rights activists consider these to be a second class arrangement, and want the ability to have a proper marriage. There were other items of legislation which the Government decided to leave out of the Queen’s Speech, presumably meaning they will not be introduced in this session of Parliament.
After building up the hopes of gay rights activists, the Government seem to be pushing the issue onto the back burner again. This may be because of strong opposition from various religious bodies, including the Church of England.
Then, this week, the US President Barack Obama made the bold step of announcing his support of same sex marriages. In the United States, the laws regarding same sex marriages are decided at the state level, as are most laws affecting American’s daily lives. But, it is my understanding, that any state which does legalise same sex marriage will automatically have that marriage recognised in the other states. This stance by Obama will, I suspect, become one of the defining differences between his presidential campaign and that of his most likely rival – Mitt Romney. I admire Obama for stating his opinion so unequivocally on such a divisive issue.