As United States citizens, we are often very proud of how our founding fathers left their homes in search of freedom. We feel that they shunned the oppressive government of England and forged a great new nation that would guarantee freedom and equality for all people. Unfortunately, since the 1800’s, the United Kingdom has been repeatedly proving that they are willing to take the steps towards real freedom and equality and watch the United States stumble along feebly in their footsteps. Just today, the British House of Commons voted overwhelmingly to legalize gay marriage, an issue that divides our country.
England first showed its commitment to equality when it abolished slavery with the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833. This happened a full 30 years before President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States. In the grand scheme of history, this may not seem like a very long time, but tell that to a child born into slavery in 1834 who suffered for those 30 years.
Today, members of the British House of Commons supported the bill, which had been championed by Prime Minister David Cameron, in a vote of 400 to 175. The bill now moves to the House of Lords to for a final vote, but is expected to pass. Prime Minister Cameron expects the bill to take effect sometime this summer and hailed the passage of the bill as an “important step forward for [the United Kingdom].”
While this bill passed easily, Prime Minister Cameron faced heavy opposition from within his own party. Most of the opposition to the bill came from members of the Prime Minister’s Conservative Party. According to reports, approximately half of the members of the party voted against the bill or abstained from the vote. This may cause Prime Minister Cameron political problems in the future, but it takes a great man to take the necessary steps for equality even in the face of future personal harms.
Prime Minister Cameron should be commended for his efforts to further equality. Perhaps one day the United States will stop acting like the bratty child of the United Kingdom who reluctantly walks behind them on the path to equality as we bicker and shuffle our feet. We act like spoiled brats who are so busy preaching our own superiority that we haven’t noticed a large portion of the world has passed us by. The time for discussion and debate about equal rights is over. The citizens of the United States need to demand that our government join the United Kingdom and the other forward-thinking countries that have legalized the union of love between two people, no matter what their gender.