LGBT & marriage equality reception excludes gay marriage pioneer
Today, Wednesday 24 July, the Prime Minister will host a LGBT reception at 10 Downing. Invitees include key figures from the LGBT community and key players in the campaign for same-sex marriage.
However Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, who has campaigned for LGBT rights for over 40 years, and who has spearheaded the campaign for equal marriage since 1992, has not been invited.
He was on the list of potential invitees but vetoed.
Other leading LGBT campaigners get invited to all or most Downing Street LGBT receptions. Tatchell has never been invited to any.
Despite criticism and protests from other LGBT campaigners at his exclusion, last night 10 Downing Street confirmed that Mr Tatchell had been proposed for inclusion on the guest list but had been blocked.
For 21 years, since 1992, when he and OutRage! organised the first challenge to the legal ban on same-sex marriage by filing applications at Westminster register office, Tatchell has been a leading public advocate of marriage equality.
In 2010, his Equal Love organisation reignited the campaign that led to the legalisation last week of same-sex marriage.
Commenting on his exclusion, Mr Tatchell said:
“I am surprised and disappointed by this petty and sectarian exclusion. Not being invited is no big deal to me personally but the principle is important. All those who’ve made a significant contribution should be invited. Excluding me is an insult to the many people who have supported my campaigns for LGBT human rights and equal marriage.
“It’s nothing new. David Cameron has, like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, banned me from every LGBT reception since he became Prime Minister. Apparently, he’s worried that I might douse him in pink fairy dust or super-glue myself to the Cabinet meeting room table. Or perhaps he doesn’t want me there because I have pointed out that the so-called equal marriage legislation isn’t equal at all. There are six inequalities, including pensions and the continued ban on opposite-sex civil partnerships.
“It is also wrong that my colleagues Brett Lock and Professor Robert Wintemute from the Equal Love campaign have not been invited. Professor Wintemute is one of Europe’s leading human rights lawyers. He drafted and submitted the historic Equal Love case for same-sex marriage to the European Court of Human Rights on 2 February 2011. Three months later, the government announced its intention to consult on legalising marriage for same-sex couples,” said Mr Tatchell.