June 6, 2024 opinion

Marriage equality is the one thing that will last from 14 years of Tory rule

Jefferson He in London, United Kingdom

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March 29, 2014. The first same-sex wedding in Islington, Greater London.

Picture by: Wikipedia

On May 22, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announcedthat the UK will vote on July 4 this year.

According to the pollsthe snap election will most likely result in the Conservative Party losing power for the first time since 2010 and the Labour Party commanding a significant majorityin the House of Commons.

There are many reasons why Labour’s leader, Sir Keir Starmer, can expect to move into 10 Downing Street.

After 14 years in power, Tories are blamed for the country’s persistent economic crisis, the damaging results of Brexit, mismanaged migration issues and a poor record on public services, including the NHS, trains and water companies.

The Labour Party is more likely to be voted in since the British public thinks they have better policies than Conservatives in terms of the NHS and reducing the cost of living, by a 23 and 11 points difference, respectively. As well as that, they also lead in managing the economy by six points.

Democracy will run its course, but as Harbingers’ Magazine launch its first-ever Pride Month, it is worth remembering that it was a Conservative government led by David Cameron which introduced marriage equality in England and Wales in 2013 (Scotland followed in 2014 and Northern Ireland in 2020).

It is not surprising that teenagers in today’s Britain take this for granted – in March 2014, when the first gay couples took their historic vows, I was seven years old, so I grew up witnessing a reality where gay marriage was a regular occurrence.

What is most important, however, is that the current election campaign proves that over the last decade, marriage equality has become such a strong part of Britain that no one dares to challenge it – according to a 2023 YouGov poll, 78% of Britons support same-sex marriage, and almost half of the respondents know someone in such a union.

This is a striking change compared to the election campaign of 2010, when only Lib Dems unequivocally supported marriage equality. Labour’s then prime minister Gordon Brown argued in Pink News that his government did not introduce marriage equality because the issue is “intimately bound up with questions of religious freedom”. Today, no mainstream politician would say anything like that.

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  • July 15, 2013. Members of the London Gay Men's Chorus celebrate the passage of same-sex marriage legislation | Picture by: Wikipedia

  • Not many Tory-introduced policies went down so well. The Brexit debate is still simmering (one might even expect Labour to seek changes in the arrangements with the European Union after the election); decisions related to privatisation remain highly contested (especially concerning water and trains companies); and the handling of illegal migration is a massive issue – Labour plans to scrap Sunak’s Rwanda scheme while Reform UK advocates for the UK to leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

    Marriage equality is one of the critical aspects of LGBTQIA+ rights, but should not be mistaken for the eradication of discrimination.

    Although Stonewall’s 2022 report depicts ‘a Britain that is becoming a Rainbow Nation’ where ‘LGBTQ+ people… are now more visible than they have ever been’, there is still much to be done, both in the UK and worldwide.


    Harbingers’ Magazine invites you to shape this debate for the following decades. Write us a letter with your thoughts to hello@oxsfj.com, or enter The Harbinger Prize 2024 for a chance to become part of our team.

    Written by:


    Jefferson He


    London, United Kingdom

    Born in 2007 in Hong Kong, Jefferson studies in Reading, England and plans to attend a university in the United Kingdom.

    Jefferson joined Harbingers’ Magazine in 2023 — first as a contributor, but quickly became the UK Correspondent. In 2024, he took over as the editor-in-chief and acting editor of the Politics section.

    Additionally, Jefferson coordinates the Harbingerettes project in Nepal, where a group of 10 students has journalism-themed lessons in English. He spends some of his holiday reporting on the development of LGBT+ rights in Asia (one of his articles was published by The Diplomat).

    He is interested in philosophy, journalism, sports, religious studies, and ethics. In his free time, Jefferson – who describes himself as “young, small and smart” – watches movies, enjoys gardening and plays sports. He speaks English, Mandarin and Cantonese.

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