Grandparents, activists and politicians have produced videos to say why they are ‘coming out’ for marriage.
It’s the first step by a new campaign, Out4Marriage, which aims to support proposals to change the law to allow gay marriage in the UK.
It’s hoped the campaign will go viral, with the public producing their own videos, and that it will also support moves towards gay marriage in other countries which are considering it, like the US and Australia.
Already politicians including the UK’s equality minister Lynne Featherstone and Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper have produced videos already. And other politicians from all parties, as well as A-list celebrities, are expected to release their videos over the coming weeks.
Out4Marriage is modeled on the hugely successful ‘It Gets Better’ YouTube project launched by the US agony uncle Dan Savage, where politicians, celebrities and members of the public gave hope to teenagers coming to terms with their sexuality.
The campaign is being launched today (9 May) to tie in with the Queen’s Speech, setting out the UK government’s agenda for the next year which, despite some predictions to the contrary, failed on include lesbian and gay marriage equality.
In her video, the Minister for Equalities, Lynne Featherstone said: ‘I think its just amazing that people love each other enough to commit to a lifelong vow, “till death do them part”. That should be exactly the same whether you’re straight or gay and that’s why I’m Out4Marriage.’
Yesterday (8 May) Featherstone appealed to lesbian, gay and bisexual people to take part in the government’s consultation on the issue amid indications that the majority of the responses so far have come from those opposing change.
While Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper used her video to say: ‘People who love each other and who want to make a long term commitment to each other should be able to get married the state and society should value that long term commitment and celebrate it.’
Cooper also called on the government to allow churches and other religious institutions to be able to hold same-sex marriage services too, should they wish to – something the government is not currently planning to do.
Another video was made by the grandparents of Channel 4 News technology correspondent and PinkNews founder Benjamin Cohen, Norma and David Green.
David Green, aged 82, said: ‘We have four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Two of our grandchildren are happily married. One of our grandchildren, should the occasion arise, I’m sure would like to get married but under the present law he would be unable to because he’s gay.’
And 81-year-old Norma Green added: ‘We think the law should be changed so to allow gays or straights to be married with the same rights as a straight couple.’
Launch videos have also been posted by Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Gilbert (who first proposed equal marriage policy at Liberal Democrat conference), the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, lesbian Rabbi Ariel Friedlander, former Lib Dem mayoral candidate Brian Paddick and a series of couples who are currently denied the right to marry in the UK.
The launch of Out4Marriage coincides with research by PinkNews that indicates gay people now have a better view of the Conservative party thanks to David Cameron’s support for same-sex marriage.
From a representative panel of 336 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered voters that PinkNews has been tracking since the 2010 election campaign, 72 percent said the strong support of David Cameron for equal civil marriage has made them ‘like the Conservative party a little or a lot more than they did at the last election’. 12 per cent opted for the latter.
The poll also suggested that 60% favored extending civil partnerships – akin to marriage and currently on offer to British gay couples – to heterosexuals as an alternative. Most of the remainder, 38%, said civil partnerships should be abolished with gay or straight people only having the option of marriage.
The launch of Out4Marriage comes following the success of a viral film to support the Coalition for Equal Marriage’s counter petition to one organised by the Coalition for Marriage. Both the equal marriage petition and video were supported by a range of LGBT media and organizations, including Gay Star News.
Director Mike Buonaiuto, a co-founder of Out4Marriage said: ‘To encourage people to stand up for change and act you need to first make them understand why it’s important to make their voice heard.
‘Out4Marriage will engage everyone who believes in marriage equality, from MPs, to celebrities to religious leaders to gay couples to parents to grandparents. Anyone can make a video and submit online and it will be spread across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and scores of partner publications. It’s as simple as that.
‘One person’s voice is too quiet to make a difference. But one person’s voice inspiring thousands of others, will be a strong force behind supporting the government in the their decision to change the UK civil marriage laws.’
The Out4Marriage campaign has partnered with the Coalition for Equal Marriage and digital agency Remarkable and is supported by British LGBT media companies including Gay Star News, PinkNews, PinkPaper, Gaydar, Attitude, Boyz, QX, GT and DIVA.
It is also being supported by a team of 20 volunteers, so far, who have come together at short notice to make it work.
Watch some of the videos released so far here: