Off To Spain…Years Ahead For Same Sex Couples

English: Map of Spain striped in rainbow over ...

Spain, LGBT

Today I fly off to Malgrat De Mar in Spain for my summer holiday, and its got me thinking about the same sex marriage debate.

Here in the UK legislation to allow same sex couples to marry is continuing to make its way through our political process, the latest steps took place on Monday and Tuesday.

Spain was the third country in the World to allow same sex marriages, introducing legislation in July 2004, which came into force in July 2005 and reportedly had the support of 66% of the population.

This certainly makes a change from other areas of the world I have visited, including Barbados, where you can still face life imprisonment for “homosexual acts”, though it is said to be rarely enforced.

The number of same sex marriages happening in Spain has been steady since 2005, with up to 4,500 each year at its highest point in 2006 and 3,250 at its lowest in 2007.

Before them the Netherlands and Belgium had both legalised equal marriage and 17 days after Spain, Canada made same sex marriage legal. The state of play right now across the world is that 13 countries allow same sex couples to marry, along with 12 states in America.

I can’t help but wonder why it has taken so long in the United Kingdom, since we are now nearly a decade (8 years) behind Spain and over a decade (12 years) behind the Netherlands in terms of equal marriage.

It should be noted that same sex couples have been able to enjoy Civil Partnerships for a long time in the UK, but those campaigning for equality argue that’s not enough.

At any rate its time to pack…its the first time I’ve visited a country that actually has same sex marriage! Hopefully that rarity will be something of the past in the years to come.



All Spark FM Shows Soon Available Via The Blog

Circumaural headphones have large pads that su...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Good afternoon, I’ve been a bit busy on the blog today, I’m in the process of adding every episode of the Being LGBT radio show to the site.

For those who might not be aware – Being LGBT was originally a radio programme broadcast on community radio station 107 Spark FM.

That show was very much the catalyst for setting up this blog in the first place, so I thought it would be nice to showcase them all!

As I’ve went into doubles figures, such as shows 12 and 13 I’m noticing gaps in my records! So the archive may be incomplete at first, as I track down various audio files.

Please take a listen, we had some fantastic guests over the course of 18 weeks!


Marriage Bill Passes Second Reading In The House Of Lords (UK)

English: House of Lords & House of Commons...

English: House of Lords & House of Commons Lobby. The Parliament. London. UK (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The United Kingdom has taken another step forward in the journey to allow same sex marriage in England and Wales.

It comes after two days of debate at what is known as the second reading stage of the bill in the House of Lords.

Over the past two evenings of discussion by the Lords, campaigners both for and against the legislation held demonstrations outside Parliament. Cheers were heard from those in support of the legislation as tonight’s decision was made.

Earlier this evening in a free vote the Lords voted against a so called “wrecking amendment” introduced by Lord Dear. The amendment would have reportedly, effectively destroyed the Government bill to allow same sex couples to marry. That amendment was voted against by a huge majority with 390 voting to reject and just 148 voting in favour of it.

Now the bill has passed the second reading it goes onto a committee stage, where the legislation will be scrutinised further. The bill must then return to the House of Lords for a report stage and third reading. If it passes that third reading, the bill will go forward to become law.

According to a YouGov poll, 71% of the public, including 58% of religious people, believe same-sex couples should be permitted to get married in civil ceremonies. But critics say the bill would redefine the institution, adding that marriage is between a man and a woman for the purpose of having children.

If the same sex marriage bill passes the Lords the first marriages could take place next Summer.

Same Sex Marriage Bill To Face Second Reading In The Lords (UK)

View of the House of Lords Chamber in the Pala...

View of the House of Lords Chamber in the Palace of Westminster, London, looking from the galleries towards the Throne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The bill to allow same sex couples to marry is due before the House of Lords later today for its second reading.

Last month the legislation passed its third and final reading in the House of Commons after hours of debate and headline making in the UK.

During its journey many have scrutinised the bill with some saying it undermines the institution of marriage which has traditionally only ever been between a man and a woman. Others have argued that it could affect the rights of those with a religious background, who don’t believe in same sex marriage.

But on the other side of the argument, pro-same sex marriage supporters say it’ll do nothing but allow for equality, and give those in same sex relationships the chance to enjoy the same privileges as heterosexual couples.

During various readings and debates in the Commons a vote was carried out to determine if the bill would carry on with its journey, which has so far lead to a rift in the Conservative party, with over half of Tory MP’s voting against it.

But despite that the Prime Minister David Cameron has refused to back down with the bill, with many in his own party critical saying it was never part of the party manifesto at the election in 2010.

So today the bill is in the House of Lords on its second reading and this chart demonstrates the road still ahead with a committee stage, report stage and third reading still to come after days one and two of the second reading this week:


Some critics of the bill have been displeased for different reasons, for example despite being a supporter of same sex marriage, Human Rights Campaigner Peter Tatchell believes the bill does not offer a full definition of equality.

Commenting on his website Tatchell cites the inability for heterosexual couples to have Civil Partnerships as one of his reasons:

“Regrettably, although David Cameron supports marriage  equality, he opposes the legalisation of heterosexual civil partnerships. His  Conservative backbench critics are the exact opposite: they support equal civil  partnerships but oppose the right of LGBT people to marry. Both are inconsistent.”

During the various stages of the bill in the Commons crowds of supporters have flocked outside Parliament to show their passion for the legislation. LGBT Labour tweeted last night to say they would be holding an “equal marriage vigil” from 5:30pm to “show the Lords we want it”.

The Out 4 Marriage campaign are also trying to rally support and are urging members of the public to ‘Lobby the Lords’ and urge them to support it.

The same sex marriage bill is due to be discussed in the Lords after 2:30pm on Monday and on Tuesday, for up to date information on exact timings visit the Parliament UK website – Here


English: Rainbow flag flapping in the wind wit...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello and welcome to the Being LGBT blog, bringing you the latest news from the LGBT community, presented by me (Sam Willey) and other contributors to be announced.

‘Being LGBT’ started as a 1 hour radio show broadcast on Spark FM in Sunderland from January 2013 until May 2013.

Over the past few months a number of topics have been covered including Homophobia in Football, LGBT homelessness and much more.

The radio show is no longer happening on Spark but via this blog we aim to bring you the latest in LGBT news every week. I’ll also aim to put audio interviews that were produced for the show over the 18 week broadcast period on here as well, so watch out for a variety of updates.

Since taking on the show I feel it has had a positive impact on those listening including within the local community, for example Sunderland football club flew the rainbow flag for the International Day Against Homophobia as a result of putting pressure on the club – Click Here…well it probably had more to do with delivering the flag in person on IDAHO but that’s a story for another day.

More about me – I’m 21 years old, I have just completed a broadcast journalism degree at Sunderland University, I have worked at a Community Radio Station (Spark FM) for three years doing various shows including the Breakfast show, Drive time, Tuesdays Talk and of course Being LGBT. During my time at the station I was also the Head of News, responsible for managing all news content on the station and the news team. I also work on and off at Pride Radio North East, an internet radio station targeted at the LGBT community.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter – Here