Olympics Spotlight: Olympic torch bearer kisses boyfriend to applause and cheers
July 30, 2012
Sports lover and Olympic Torch bearer Chris Basiurski, 33, was cheered on by crowds just 28 hours before the Olympic flame's arrival to London's lighting ceremony on Thursday. Just moments before he carried the flame through the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Basiurski kissed his long-term boyfriend, drawing applause and smiles from bystanders.
"I'm honored to have carried the torch through London," Basiurski said. "And it was amazing to see and hear all the support from both my family and GFSN members along the route."
The London native is chair of the Gay Football Supporters' Network, or GFSN, which was founded over two decades ago as a place where gay men who were marginalized for liking sports could fit in. Basiurski announced he plans on marrying his boyfriend next year.
But while same-sex couples currently receive some rights and broad protections through domestic partnerships in the United Kingdom, the freedom to marry is currently not allowed for same-sex couples. Laws in the United Kingdom, however, are rapidly changing.
Last week Scotland announced plans to become the first jurisdiction in Britain to give same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Though a bill is yet to be drafted, Scotland's decision to create such legislation has already received wide support from the country and beyond.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has also pledged to push a freedom to marry proposal through English law despite opposition from anti-gay groups. He reaffirmed his support for the freedom to marry at a reception he hosted for LGBT community members last week. Cameron commented:
I think marriage is a great institution - I think it helps people to commit, it helps people to say that they're going to care and love for another person. It helps people to put aside their selfish interests and think of the union that they're forming. It's something I feel passionately about and I think if it's good enough for a straight person like me, it's good enough for everybody and that's why we should have gay marriage and we will legislate it.
Cameron vowed that he hoped to follow Scotland's marriage plans to legalize the freedom to marry by 2015 so that marriages between loving and committed same-sex couples - like Chris Basiurski and his boyfriend - can finally be treated the same as marriages between different-sex couples nationwide.
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