What's in a black T shirt?
The latest issue of Class Struggle features John Lawrence's article Black Shirts and Gay Hate is not Fascism, an examination of the rough reception the Civil Unions Bill has gotten from Brian Tamaki and his Destiny Church, and the rather thoughtless if understandable reception Destiny Church has gotten from the left.
In the 1980s John was a founding member of GLUE, which stood for Gay and Lesbian Unionists for Equality (one of the other founders was Carol Beaumont, who was a member of the Workers Communist League ('Weasels' for short) before degenerating into a Labour Party functionary in the 90s). John argues for critical support for the CUB, as a step forward for gays:
"The right of all couples to have a civil union which is recognized by the state, regardless of whether they are gay, lesbian or straight, is an extension of democratic civil rights. The fact that ‘civil union’ gives couples legal equality without the need for marriage must be a good thing. It undermines the institution of marriage, and with it the often repressive gender relations that marriage sanctions. Anything that hastens the end of the bourgeois family is to be welcomed!"
On his Anti-podean Journal blog social democrat Rohan Quinby argues against any sort of left support for the Bill, and I must admit I have been inclined to agree with him. Rohan argues that:
"...many of the people who support the Civil Unions Bill have been clear that the Bill doesn’t go far enough. Many people have understood from day one that the Bill achieves nothing but equivalence. But emotionally, psychically, the fight to get the Civil Unions Bill through Parliament has been all about equality. That's what the debate has been all about.My feeling is, if you are going to fight for something, fight for it. Especially when the environment is right, and particularly when it appears that the rest of the world is slowly coming around to the fact that preventing homosexuals from marrying amounts to discrimination."