Gay marriage will become law this week in Britain, one of America's longest running allies. It is already the law in France, another of America's first crucial allies which helped the United States win independence from Britain (the French fleet bottled up Cornwallis and allowed him to be defeated at nearby Yorktown, Virginia). Yet even as its oldest allies embrace modernity and equality, America lags behind and in states like Virginia, LGBT citizens remain less than full citizens. It's a travesty and yet one on many black marks of America's broken promises that betray the principles of the nation's founding documents. Here are highlights from the BBC on events in Britain:
The government legislation is now due to get royal assent, after which it is likely to become law later this week.The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat leaderships all backed the bill, after the Lords approved the changes on Monday. It is expected that the first gay and lesbian wedding ceremonies will take place by summer next year.Under the terms of the the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, religious organisations will have to "opt in" to offering weddings, with the Church of England and Church in Wales being banned in law from doing so.Paul Parker, recording clerk for Quakers in Britain, said: "It's wonderful to see same-sex marriage achieve legal recognition. Quakers see the light of God in everyone so we respect the inherent worth of each individual and each loving relationship."
Mr. Parker's statement is the antithesis of how gays are treated in Virginia. We still can be fired at will, face the potential of housing discrimination and our relationships receive zero recognition under Virginia law. The current GOP statewide slate of extremists seeks to make the situation even worse.