Gay marriage should not be seen as a taboo according to The Chief Executive of Manchester Pride, after the Government’s same-sex marriage bill was allowed to proceed through Parliament.
John Stewart praised Manchester as a city that had particular respect for the issue, and deemed David Cameron’s efforts on gay marriage as ‘brave’.
He also argued that deeply held religious beliefs have stood in the way of same-sex marriage being universally accepted.
This latest Parliamentary development comes after fears the bill might be delayed by amendments which allowed heterosexual couples the right to a civil partnership.
Mr Stewart said these amendments should not have been entertained, and suggested that the belief that marriage should be between a man and woman were out of context with this matter.
“It’s quite wrong for people to impose the restrictions of their religious beliefs on other people,” he said.
“We’re not talking about marriage here, we’re talking about an institution. I don’t see why people should be concerned about this issue.”
“It’s strange that so many people are jumping up and down about same-sex marriage when they’ve had ample opportunity to speak out on it before.”
However, Mr Stewart pointed to Manchester as evidence that not everybody sees same-sex marriage as a taboo subject.
“We’ve found in the North West that there’s a respect, particularly in Manchester,” he said.
“Manchester has had a long tradition of LGBT activism. Manchester Pride and The Lesbian and Gay Foundation work hard to educate people, and make a very considerable contribution.
“Not to mention, we have one of the most recognisable gay areas in Europe.”
Mr Stewart also praised David Cameron for his attitude towards same-sex marriage.
“David Cameron has been very brave – if anyone doubts his sincerity on the issue, I think they should look at the attacks he’s had,” he said.
“It would be the easiest thing for him to do to not bring this issue to light, and he deserves credit for that.”
Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive of The Lesbian & Gay Foundation said his organisation, and others in Greater Manchester, have been campaigning hard for same-sex marriage.
“This is not about gay rights, it’s about equal rights,” he said.
“Marriage is hugely important to millions of people across the globe and the right to marry the person you love should be a fundamental right for everyone.”
“It’s important that the Bill is not rushed through and everyone has their say on this important issue.”
Picture courtesy of Guillaume Paumier, with thanks.