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Monday, March 29, 2010

Landmark Gay Weddings in Britain

It seems the United Kingdom is alive and well and operating in the 21st century.  So why aren't we?

This weekend, two high-profile civil partnerships were celebrated in that right little, tight little island.  Labour MP Chris Bryant, 48, currently Minister of State for Europe and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, tied the knot with his sweetheart Jared Cranney, a company secretary, in the first-ever gay union held in the Houses of Parliament.  Because it is still forbidden to hold gay weddings in British churches, the Parliamentary chapel of St. Mary - where straight MP's have been getting married since forever - was not used; instead, the ceremony took place in the House of Commons dining room, overlooking the Thames.

Bryant, who represents a district in South Wales, came in for a lot of criticism when a picture of him - posing in what some fashionistas deemed very unfashionable underpants - was discovered on Gaydar back in '03.  Nevertheless, his political career has continued very successfully.  Imagine that happening over here.

Also this weekend, as reported by The Independent:
One groom wore ceremonial uniform with his Iraq medal, the other morning dress with an orchid. Surrounded by silverware and paintings commemorating great battles, Lance Corporal James Wharton, 23, and his new husband enjoyed their first dance to Tina Turner in the warrant officers' mess of the most prestigious regiment in the land.

The Household Cavalry, famed for escorting the Queen during state occasions and the fact that it counts both her grandsons among its officers, celebrated its first gay wedding in style. L/Cpl Wharton was joined in a civil partnership with his boyfriend, the Virgin air steward Thom McCaffrey, 21, surrounded by members of L/Cpl Wharton's regiment, the Blues and Royals.

"The entire regiment has been really supportive," he said. "When I went to ask the Squadron Leader, Major Nana Twumasi-Ankrah, for permission to get married, he just said 'This is fantastic, congratulations'."

"The lads joked it was the gay event of the year. Everyone was excited. It was the talk of the barracks. This generation of soldiers is completely liberal," added the junior non-commissioned officer, whose only regret was that some of his friends would not be back from Afghanistan in time to enjoy the nuptials.

Just over 10 years ago, before a ban on homosexuality was lifted, gay soldiers faced interrogation and expulsion from the Army if discovered. But, in a very visible sign of the changing times, L/Cpl Wharton was given permission to host his wedding reception at the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment's Knightsbridge barracks.
Wharton was featured on the cover of the British Army's magazine Soldier last year.  The British military has been around for a millennium longer than the American army, and seems to be thriving - surely ours will too, when DADT is kicked into the dustbin of history.


Stan said...

When will THIS country (US) grow up?

Russ Manley said...

When indeed? The Obama administration is STILL making legal arguments in favor of DADT, despite all the President just said about repealing it. Fuck.

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