When challenged by Peter Tatchell at yesterday’s London Pride gay parade, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, declared his support for same-sex civil marriage.
He was responding to Mr Tatchell’s placard, which read:
“Dave & Sam Cameron can marry, gays can’t. End the ban on gay marriage.”
The Mayor took a look at the placard and said: “Why not?”
“So you are in favour of same-sex marriage?” queried Mr Tatchell. “Yes, I don’t see why not,” replied Mr Johnson. Pressed further, the Mayor added: “Fair enough, the ban should go.”
When Mr Tatchell reminded him that that the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government does not support same-sex marriage Mr Johnson replied: “Well, they should.”
“If the Conservatives and Liberals can get together in a national coalition and settle their differences, I don’t see why you can’t have gay marriage,” the Mayor told Mr Tatchell.
“If a gay couple want to get married in a registry office, why shouldn’t they?” he added.
Mr Johnson, the second most influential Tory political leader, is the most senior Conservative to endorse the campaign for same-sex civil marriage.
His call for marriage equality was echoed by the openly lesbian Tory MP, Margot James. Marching with Mr Tatchell, she told him that although she supported civil partnerships she also wanted to repeal the ban on lesbian and gay couples getting married in a registry office.
“It is a big breakthrough to win Boris’s backing for marriage equality. His support will increase pressure to end the gay ban. I am very grateful to the Mayor.
“Public opinion is on our side. The government and most MPs are out of touch. An opinion poll conducted by Populous and published by The Times last June found that 61% of the British public support same-sex civil marriage.”
“Civil partnerships are a big advance but they not equality. They are second class. In a democratic society, we should all be equal under the law. Having separate laws for gays and heterosexuals is a form of sexual apartheid,” said Mr Tatchell.