The popular Surrey University town of Guildford is all set to become one of the most homophobic places in the UK this week after the Guildford Borough Council in Surrey has voted not to support equal marriage.
Some 546 local people had signed a petition calling on the council to back the government plans for marriage equality, before the end of the year, however that effort was wasted as Conservative council leader Tony Rooth and Liberal Democrat leader David Goodwin respectively raised and seconded a motion for the council not to take a view on marriage.
This homophobic stand in the stock broker belt was rather a surprise in these enlightened times as Guildford home of Sussex University had seemed the most likely of places to be welcoming to gay and lesbian being treated in law, of nor all society equally.
A Former Liberal Democrat Councillor, Chris Ward, started the petition, lobbying the Surrey council to support the proposals, “They need to learn the difference between something that is a matter of conscience and something that is so controversial they are too scared to talk about it. I was a councillor for four years and they don’t like this sort of debate, so I was not optimistic at the beginning. But we are not going away – there is a very strong group now and at the very least the council knows it’s a very vocal community that will continue to campaign.” he told local newspapers.
The council vote was not recorded and therefore the names of the councillors who either supported and opposed the proposal would be not be available or disclosed. This allows the councillors to hide their homophobic attitudes and anti-equality desires from public eyes, who may well remember such actions at times of elections.
Councillor Rooth said: “While the council recognises the strength of feeling expressed on this subject, it does not consider it appropriate to express a corporate view.” Thereby confirming the council does not support equality for its inhabitants and those of neighbouring towns and villages, preferring to foster an atmosphere of discrimination and prejudice.