Lucy Paton-Brown has been married to her wife for just under a year now. She has served as a District Councillor, Office Manager to an MP and Government Minister, a Parliamentary Campaign Manager, and many other roles. Lucy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article is written purely from a personal and voluntary perspective.
One of the questions I’m always asked by some of my progressive friends is that how can I, as a gay person, be in favour of voting to leave the EU. Surely I should be on the side of the EU and the things that make it sound progressive like integration, cooperation, or even diversity. How can I be supporting Vote Leave when the out people are presented as isolationist and backwards looking?
The European Union did not give me the right to marry my wife. That right was given to me by the British Government.
An MEP did not allow myself and my wife to have the same legal status as my parents. We were allowed this by my British MP and hundreds of his colleagues.
An out of touch and faceless EU commission did not make gay marriage a legislative priority. The democratically elected government of Great Britain did that.
The British flag of red, white and blue has waved for progressive causes like votes for women, equal rights and habeas corpus long before our great nation became a part of the EU.
The fact of the matter is, on the issue of equality, Britain has not just won the race but is one of the only contestants. Quite simply the EU has not brought positive social change across the continent.
The EU is home to countries with proud cultures and wonderful people that I love to visit. But that does not overshadow the fact that in some EU countries we still see a lack of equality and even out and out homophobia.
Some countries are allowed to prosper in the EU, with British cash, where they have not just a lack of support for gay marriage, but in some cases a draconian constitutional ban. I don’t just want to leave the EU because I don’t respect its record on LGBT rights, I also want to leave so we can control our own boarders to ensure that while we tightly control migration, we can be the shining beacon for those who want to come to a nation increasingly at ease with itself on gay rights, like a great rainbow coloured lighthouse in the sea.
There are many reasons I want to leave besides the LGBT cause such as the astronomical cost, immigration, and the undermining of our judicial system. But I do feel compelled to put my unique view forward.
To all my fellow people who are “out” but may not be supporters of the “out” campaign yet, let me leave you with one final thought; how can we support an institution that is simply not doing enough to support people like us across the continent? Let’s believe in the country that has made great strides in the LGBT struggle – let’s believe in Great Britain.