The question of whether people of the same sex can marry has opened up deep rifts in the Tory party.
Senior party members wanted David Cameron to abandon proposals for equal marriage.
But MPs were set to vote on them as Socialist Worker went to press.
The row shows how far we’ve come—and how far we still have to go.
The fight for gay rights has made dramatic gains in the last 50 years. And it’s not just in Britain.
The French parliament took the first step to legalising gay marriage this week, after massive demonstrations both for and against it last month.
But politicians aren’t backing equal marriage because they are progressive.
Cameron has made a political decision that supporting equal marriage will help to broaden the Tories’ base of support.
He wants his party to appear to be shifting with the times.And to win a majority he wants to reach beyond the Tories’ traditional base.
But pushing the issue has shown up the level of bigotry that still exists within his party.
Just last December Tory MP David Davies claimed that, “I think most parents would prefer their children not to be gay”.
As socialists we support the right of same sex couples to get married. There shouldn’t be different rules for people in any area of life based on sexuality.
But winning the right to marry won’t get rid of the oppression and discrimination that LGBT people face.
Over half of lesbian, gay and bisexual school students suffer homosexual bullying at school, according to the charity Stonewall.
And one in three students said they changed their future education plans because of homophobic bullying.
Gay teenagers are more likely to commit or consider suicide than their straight classmates.
Bisexual men and women are seven times more likely to disguise their sexuality at work than other workers.
Politicians claim to support equality and gay rights when it suits them. But homophobia and oppression flow from the system they hold up.
Our rulers support the traditional nuclear family because it benefits capitalism.
It means that a new generation of workers is produced and the current generation supported—for free.
Gay relationships undermine this set up. That’s why, despite all the gains made, homophobic oppression still exists.
As socialists we are fighting for more than bits of formal equality in a system riddled with oppression and exploitation.
We want to win real sexual liberation for all—and that means getting rid of the system that Cameron and his mates defend.