This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Deputy Minister Nick Clegg celebrates how far we’ve come with message of support for Pride.
43 years ago, 150 men made history by staging London’s first gay march through Highbury Fields to campaign for gay rights.
Looking at where we are now, it’s clear that we’ve achieved a huge amount since then. But it hasn’t been without controversy.
We are one step closer to equal marriage. Some people have argued that this law - allowing same sex couples to marry - is unnecessary.
That somehow, the idea that we already have civil partnerships, is enough. But that misses the point. Yes, civil partnerships were a huge stride forward. But only the right to marry, if you so choose, is real equality.
Our LGBT community deserves no less.
What I have found most heartening is how many people agree. Many straight people have argued for the reform with as much passion as gay people. Why? Because this isn’t just about technical changes or legal definitions.
It isn’t just a ‘gay issue’. It’s about the kind of society we want to be.
We can be proud that the UK is ranked number one in Europe on LGBT equality and rights. And we can be proud that London has been shortlisted for the 2018 Gay Games - a bid I’m supporting. But we should never take progress on equal rights for granted.
If you look down Whitehall you’ll see we’re flying the rainbow flag above my offices at the Cabinet Office and, for the first time ever, at Dover House. I look forward to one day seeing it fly over other government buildings and parliaments across the world. Maybe Russia, maybe Uganda, maybe Yemen.
And across the EU, a quarter of gay people say they have been subjected to attacks or threats in the last 5 years.
And so that is why Pride - a show of strength, unity, and solidarity - is a day to celebrate. To celebrate how far we have come over the last 40 years and to celebrate that we are on the brink of equal marriage becoming a reality.
But it’s also a day to reflect on those who still have to fight for the rights we take for granted in Britain. Happy Pride everyone. And keep up the fight.