Good Thing Prince William Isn’t Gay, Right?

Hello, I have been doing my best to completely ignore any and all references to the International Committee Event to Solve Slow News Weeks, otherwise known as any and all coverage of the royal wedding thing that is happening — actually, I don’t know when it’s happening. But gay people are going to protest it so now we’re here! This says a lot about my attention span actually.

Gay marriage activists staged a marriage equality protest at Buckingham Palace earlier today. Wearing pink, carrying pink flags and holding flowers, activists led by the Equal Love campaign’s Peter Tatchell hoped that Prince William and Kate Middleton would “express their support” for same-sex marriage. They also presented a gigantic card, which read:

“Congratulations William and Kate on your Wedding Day. We wish you a happy life together. You can get married, gay people can’t. We are banned by law. We ask you to support marriage equality. Equal=Love.”

According to Tatchell, the goal of the event was to highlight the fact that Kate and William can get married but gay people can’t:

“Our event will urge the royal couple to support moves to end the ban on gay marriage. We want equal marriage rights for all couples, regardless of sexual orientation.

Kate and William had a choice. They could get married, or not. Same-sex couples don’t have this choice. We are banned from marriage by law. […]

The 25 April is not a celebration of the monarchy or marriage (many of us are critical of both). It is an affirmation of our opposition to discrimination in marriage law. We want to show our support for the right of everyone to be able to choose whether or not to get married.”

Also at the demonstration were three of the eight couples involved in the challenge at the European Court of Human Rights against the UK’s ban on gay marriage.

The challenge, which was filed in February, argues that the gay marriage ban is a breach of the Human Rights Act’s right to respect family life and the right to marry, and the prohibition against discrimination. The case went to the European Court of Human Rights because there isn’t an effective way of launching the challenge within the UK court system.

Same-sex couples in the United Kingdom have been able to enter into “civil partnerships,” a separate union which provides the same legal consequences as marriage, since 2005, but are prohibited from marrying due to the 1973 Matrimonial Causes Act.

According to one poll, 61% of British respondents agreed with the statement, “Gay couples should have an equal right to get married, not just to have civil partnerships,” which is a better number than the U.S. is currently looking at.

On one hand, it seems like every organization in the world is trying to pin things to the Royal Wedding. Royal Wedding Royal Wedding Royal Wedding. Ahem. And it makes complete sense that marriage equality advocates would try to use it as a platform from which to start a discussion about same-sex marriage, especially since the chances of rabid wedding fans seeing the news and thinking about it, even for a moment, is pretty good (and because, according to Sarah Waters, Kate Middleton is a “lesbian icon.” Apparently).

So will William and Kate speak out in support of same-sex marriage? We’ll see!


We keep Autostraddle majority free-to-read, but it isn't free to create! We need YOU to sign up for A+ to help keep this indie queer media site funded. A+ membership starts at just $4/month or $30/year. If you can, will you join?

Join A+

Ryan Yates

Ryan Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for Autostraddle.com, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, The Daily Beast, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Ryan has written 1142 articles for us.

53 Comments

  1. I was there today yay!

    The Queen is known to be slightly homophobic so it would be progress if Will or Kate (I like to say Will OR Kate instead of Will AND Kate, they seem to have lost individual agency judging from media portraials) put in a good word for us.

    Also I think Sarah Waters was drunk when she said that. I like my gay icons to be gay, you know. Ever heard of a straight icon being gay? Me neither.

    • The term ‘gay icon’ is on par with ’empowering’ in terms of words that I think are sound in principal, but generally are used to shove bullshit down my throat. Because I always hear it applied to straight people. I can see how it was really important in eras where there was zero gay visibility and straight allies had to be the icons we rallied behind. But I don’t see why Lady Gaga has to be my Gay Icon instead of Ellen.

  2. I was just saying this the other day! Not that we should use the royal wedding BS for our agenda (good idea) but wondering, hypothetically: what would happen if a prince/king did happen to be openly gay? Kinda puts a damper on the whole reproducing-for-the-state thing, right? I would love to see the headlines on that one!

  3. Hnag on a second, just a thought but seeing as you mention this small protest in the UK, which is great by the way, maybe you could at some stage give a mention to the fact that Ireland had it’s first civil partnership recently, because if we’re ever to upgrade from CP to full equality we need (desperately need) pressure and support from abroad. I know im like a broken record and I apologise but sometimes I feel like we’re fighting a losing battle and I get pissed off is all. I think I may have a complex/chip on my shoulder about being from such a tiny insignificant country!! and p.s I know this is about the UK, but lets face it, the two countries are linked in many ways.

    • it really pisses me off too! the press acted as if it was a fantastic thing, when inequality had been enshrined into law, because none of the big political players wanted to broach the divisive subject of gay marriage. they’re all pussyfooting around the issue.
      it’s mostly the older, more conservative people who turn out to vote. it seems as though they hold most of the political power in this country. it sucks considering they have very little exposure to queer issues. one beacon of hope though, the rockstar that is DAVID NORRIS. if he clinches the presidency, i’m pretty sure we can go all the way :)

      • Thanks kd, that’s nice to hear!

        @ak, well we’re definitely trying our best anyways. The group im in, lgbtNoise, just released a poster campaign on buses-> http://lgbtnoise.ie/?p=1837 and someone said that we should be prosecuted for blasphemy, which is the most ridiculous thing in the world, and I hope they dont follow through!! Yes, imagine having a gay president, I think he can do it, provided he gets the nomination! We can get full equality here, it’ll be tough but it’s possible!

  4. * hypothetically: what would happen if a prince/king did happen to be openly gay? Kinda puts a damper on the whole reproducing-for-the-state thing, right? I would love to see the headlines on that one!*

    Well there have been several British and other European Monarchs have been rumoured to be gay or bisexual over the centuries. They just had to marry a woman to produce an heir then do whatever they liked in private. My guess is that it would be the same today (as is rumoured about a couple of current minor royals today). No idea what would happen about openly gay Prince of Wales today. Royal children by adoption are still considered Royal IIRC, so I guess he might personally adopt kids and raise them privately with a partner? Maybe in the future? Or just let his bother or sister’s kids inherit probably. But hiding it is the more likely option.

    Apart from any heir considerations, the British Monarch is still head of the Church of England, which still refuses to acknowlege gay people should exist in any legal or spiritual way as an institution, even if a lot if its clergy are more open minded, such as my awesome vicar. :)

    The thing with these protests is that even if they are way more enlightened than other generations and would like to endorse same sex marriage in private, not only is the CofE an issue but the Royal Family are supposed to be *seen and not heard* when it comes to public politics. Charities and causes are fine and a major part of their role, but it would cause a major constituational/political issue if PW said “I think Parliament should pass gay marriage” or any other political opinion on the government.

    • The Archdeacon (I think? I suck at clergy) of St Albans Cathederal in the UK is this really guy called Jeffrey John, and he’s gay. He lives a cellibate life with his partner, which is awesome.

      What’s not awesome is that he should have a far higher role within the church than he does, but the C of E won’t let him because yup, he likes men. So St Albans were like HEY YOU’RE AWESOME, COME DO STUFF HERE!

      The moral of the story is that I shouldn’t try and make points about religion at 2am.

      • Why is living a cellibate life awesome?

        Not saying it’s inherently good or bad, but if that guy’s cellibacy isn’t directly attributable to Christianity’s fear, loathing, and maniacal desire to control sexuality, I will give oral to Jean-Claude Van Damme.

        • Weeeeeeell whether the Church hates sex is a separate issue. For this guy, his abstention from sex is a ritual in which he celebrates his relationship with God. I mean, other people (and me) might think that’s weird, but it makes him happy. It makes him feel closer to the universe. No one is forcing him. So who is anyone else to knock it?

          I think it’s SUPER awesome that he can do that and still live with his partner, that a) they can have that kind of relationship that transcends conventional definition of the term, which is brave in any form and b) it’s big fat raspberry to all the icky religious people (as opposed to non-icky) who think the gay is all about the humping, with no emotional or devotional component.

          • Idk that no one is forcing him. It’s a choice, yes, but it’s a heavily constrained one. It’s not like he could have risen to his rank in the C of E if he and his partner were in a sexual relationship, and as Sawyer points out he’s not going to rise any higher because of it.

            If same-sex love was considered equal, and it was, do you really think he would have made the choice to love, but love celibately? While Anglican monastics aren’t unheard of, most who are in relationships seem to be married according to the traditions of the Church. This situation seems so unusual I can only link it back to the C of E’s views on homosexuality.

          • “It’s not like he could have risen to his rank in the C of E if he and his partner were in a sexual relationship”

            There’s quite a difference between “force” and an unfair situation. Is it ideal? No. Few things are. And yeah, this rankles because it’s a less-than-ideal situation which springs from an oppressive atmosphere.

            And while we can, and should, criticize the sources of such oppression, I hardly think it’s called for to devalue the efforts of those who chose not to abandon something important to them simply because it’s problematic. A LOT of things are problematic. That doesn’t suckers out of the people who make commitments to them regardless. And I think in those oppressed communities who rely on each other for support, it’s important to recognize what people are striving for, rather than claiming they’re automatically part of or even upholding an unjust system.

          • It’s more than a less-than-ideal situation, though. It’s a situation in which someone has to choose between pursuing his life’s vocation, or being able to connect sexually with the love of his live. It’s a terrible either / or, which he wouldn’t be faced with were it not for homophobia – which is the point I was making, the circumstances of the C of E force him to choose between two fundamental aspects of his being in the world.

            I don’t understand how you are interpreting what I have said (or Diver has said) as criticising John Jeffrey. Not a word of my comment passes judgement on the choice he has made. It does, however, call into question the notion that his lifestyle is freely chosen, by highlighting the circumstances that required him to choose in the first place.

          • To tell the truth, I think I’ve concluded that religion is absolute drivel, so it makes no sense for me to participate in a conversation which has as a basis the assumption that religion is something other than drivel. Apologies, and trust, I am saving us both a headache.

    • A future gay King/Queen of the Commonwealth realms could marry their partner (in Canada, at least, they already could) and adopt children, and award those children the style of prince/princess (they can give that to anyone, though in practice it’s limited to blood relatives and occasionally spouses, as with Prince Philip). However, the adopted children could never inherit the throne, as it goes against the whole point of the throne following the royal bloodline.

      It’s possible that surrogacy would be legally allowed in those cases, as it’s only the royal bloodline that matters.

  5. Kim Jong-chul is thought to be gay. He is the second son of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. – North Korea is a scoialist country, right? I think that it’s okay to be gay in a socialist country. Socialism acknowledges being LGBT, and even supports our right to marry, have a family, just like other straight people like, etc. Maybe, North Korea is not a socialist country anymore, like you know not for real.

    • NOPE. You would think so, but no, the other major socialist countries of our time (Soviet Union, China, other Eastern European dictatorships) were and still are very very homophobic.

      But that’s because they don’t actually practice REAL socialism.

  6. The Royals always tend to avoid having too much of an open political opinion..

    But one royal who has openly supported LGBT people is the late Diana, Princess of Wales. Even today, money from the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund is used to help fund LGBT charities.

    Personally, I think William would support the LGBT community – Elton did get an invite to the wedding too – but would be discouraged from offering an opinion on gay marriage – it’s just too political.

  7. The Royal Family will never speak publically on gay marriage before Parliament does anything – it’s an ironclad rule of constitutional monarchy that they are not supposed to do anything even vaguely political without the say-so of the elected government. Basically, whatever opinions they may have must be kept to themselves, otherwise it would be construed as creating problems for their Ministry.

    • They don’t have to speak publicly in favour of “gay marriage”, the point is, the queen has never publicly pronounced the words gay or lesbian even if these words are present in many written law texts :) She has never visited an LGBT charity, never acknowledged nor did anything for the victims of LGBT hate, etc.

      I’m not saying this will never change, if there’s a country a royal can ever come out in our support this is probably the UK; I just say this hasn’t happened yet and judging from current behaviour it’s still a long way… but who knows, maybe Will & Kate are different but my hunch is that – if not homophobic – they’re pretty heterosexist, too.

  8. Pingback: British Gays turn to Kate and William for support « Spain gay. Gay information in English

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!