Whoa. I don’t know who this MP is, but he just made a stunningly transphobic comment an hour or so ago on the floor of the British House of Commons during a debate about marriage equality. I’ve re-watched his remarks and will transcribe them below, with emphasis added:
“We should indeed treat each other with tolerance and everybody else’s own sexuality with understanding, but the fundamental question that we are deciding today is whether English law should declare for the first time that two people of the same sex can marry.
Now Parliament is, of course, sovereign. We can vote for what we want to. But we have to be careful that law and reality do not conflict. In 1648 the Earl of Pembroke, seeking to make the point that sovereign Parliament was [unintelligible], said that Parliament could do anything but make a man a woman, or a woman a man. Of course in 2004, we did exactly that with the Gender Recognition Act. We are now proposing to make equally stark changes with the essence of marriage.
Click here to watch the remarks yourself. They can be found at the 14:45:45 timestamp.
The Gender Recognition Act 2004, to which this ogre is referring, is a law passed by Parliament and approved by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004; it allows trans people to be legally recognized by their actual, internal gender identity rather than their birth-assigned sex for all purposes, including marriage. The law also allows trans Britons to acquire new birth certificates to reflect their gender identity.
Disgusted by this MP’s transphobic bigotry? I am too. UK friends, please let me know if you can identify him. I’d like nothing more than to see this Neanderthal named and shamed.
UPDATE: The MP has been identified as Edward Leigh, a 62-year-old Tory (conservative) who represents the rural constituency of Gainsborough in west-central England. Leigh, a disciple of Margaret Thatcher and staunchly conservative Roman Catholic, is opposed to abortion, contraception, LGBT rights, and genetic research. He supports capital punishment and was a proponent of Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, a Thatcher-era law that prohibited local authorities from “intentionally [promoting] homosexuality,” “[publishing] material with the intention of promoting homosexuality,” or “[promoting] the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.” (Sound familiar?) When it became clear in 2004 that the UK was poised to pass civil partnerships, Leigh proposed a malicious wrecking amendment — also known as a poison pill amendment — to the legislation that would have extended civil partnership rights to siblings who had lived together for more than 12 years. Because that’s the same thing as a loving, committed same-sex relationship, naturally.
Nice guy, huh?
Section 28 was repealed in 2000 in Scotland and in 2003 in the rest of Great Britain, and Leigh’s brand of Stone-Age transphobic, homophobic bigotry is headed to the same place: the rubbish heap of history.