BRITISH PRIME MINISTER’S WIFE JOINS LONDON PRIDE PARADE

<em>Mrs Brown with actor Michael Cashman, right, and his partner Paul Cottingham, left.</em>

Mrs Brown with actor Michael Cashman, right, and his partner Paul Cottingham, left.

The Prime Minister’s wife has joined in with the fun at the flamboyant Pride march organised by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups.

Sarah Brown was among the first group of marchers who were cheered as they walked along Oxford Street followed by drag queens in blonde wigs and Union Jack outfits.

Before the march, Gordon Brown welcomed equality rights campaigners to the garden at 10 Downing Street.

In a message to Pride London, the Prime Minister described the creation of civil partnerships as one of a set of “massive strides towards equality” for the gay community made under Labour “often in the face of fierce opposition”.

He said: “This Government is committed to standing at your shoulders in the fight for equality and we are guided by one very simple principle when it comes to LGBT rights: you can’t legislate love.”

But gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell described civil partnerships as “a form of sexual apartheid”.

PM hosts campaigners at No 10

He said he would ask Mrs Brown to speak to her husband about allowing same-sex couples to marry in the same way as heterosexual partners.

During the march, Mr Tatchell carried a sign saying: “Gordon and Sarah can marry, gays can’t. End the ban on gay marriage.”

Comic Rhona Cameron, who is one of the festival’s patrons, led the parade which had the theme Come Out and Play.

Thousands of people lined the route through central London, some dressed as outrageously as the marchers.

One of the revellers Jamie Trudgian, 28, of Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, said of the event: “It’s a way of communicating to the world that gay people do exist.

“We are here and we are involved in everything.”

The Pride march followed a row between gay politicians after Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw said there was a “deep strain of homophobia” running through the Conservative Party.

Shadow Commons leader Alan Duncan, who is also openly gay, hit back and accused Labour of “poisonous mudslinging” in an attempt to stir up hatred and reopen old divisions.

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