What a contrast. In the US GOP, gays are the spawn of Satan, and a leading candidate runs a business designed to "cure" them. In Britain, the Conservative-Liberal Coalition government has just announced it is moving ahead with legislation for full marriage equality:
Lib Dem Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone today declared … "I am delighted to announce today that in March this Government will bring in a formal consultation on how to implement equal civil marriage for same-sex couples.
"And this would allow us to make any legislative changes necessary by the end of this Parliament."
She added: "Civil partnerships were a very welcome first step, but as our constitution states, this party rejects prejudice and discrimination in all its forms. And I believe that to deny one group of people the same opportunities offered to another, is not only discrimination, it is simply not fair."
When Virtually Normal came out in 1995, I didn't dare hope that this day would come – or that it would come from the Conservative party in Britain, which now has more openly gay members of parliament than the more liberal opposition. And it is, of course, a conservative position: promoting family, responsibility, and civil equality in response to an emerging social reality – large numbers of openly gay citizens. In this sense, the GOP is not in any way "conservative". It is better understood as a religious movement with radically reactionary political objectives, like undoing much of the New Deal.
One day, it may recover, and candidacies like Jon Huntsman's show the way forward. But not yet. And perhaps not for a very long time. When a party becomes a religion, and when policies become doctrines, change is very hard.
(Photo: Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (R) smiles after Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron made a joke during a speach to guests at the Gay Pride reception in the garden at 10 Downing Street, in central London on June 16, 2010. By Andrew Winning/Getty.)