Architect of same-sex marriage Baroness Featherstone: ‘The need for supporting LGBT+ young people is escalating’

by Just Like Us
February 2023

Baroness Featherstone stands at the head of a long table and gives a speech to Founders' Circle members

Baroness Lynne Featherstone, who was instrumental in driving forward the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the UK, said that the need for supporting LGBT+ young people is “escalating every single day”. 

Baroness Featherstone, who served as Minister of Equalities in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, gave a speech at an event for Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity. 

She told the story of efforts to legalise same-sex marriage in the UK at the biannual dinner for the Founders’ Circle, a giving network of extraordinary individuals helping the charity to end anti-LGBT+ bullying. 

She said: “I am in awe of the work Just Like Us are doing – the need for which is escalating every single depressing day at the moment. 

“When we legalised same-sex marriage, it felt like it was all possible. Like the world was changing and everything would be OK, but it’s gone the wrong way. 

“Young people in our currently polarised world need to feel that they are valued for who they are.”

Guests at a long table listen to a speech by Baroness Featherstone
Baroness Featherstone spoke at the biannual Founders’ Circle dinner

Baroness Featherstone added: “The trans community is being vilified by ignorance and hatred of the other. And we are beginning to see that transfer to the LGB community too, as is happening in the US right now. If it’s there today, it will be here tomorrow.” 

Baroness Featherstone was instrumental in the legalisation of same-sex marriage, launching a the biggest government consultation in history on the topic, and becoming the first politician to join the Out4Marriage campaign. 

“It is the LGBT+ community that made this happen,” she said. 

“It is the LGBT+ community who suffered the inequities of discrimination, victimisation, violence and death. My story starts at the very end of the journey to equal marriage rights. I stand on the shoulders of giants.” 

Baroness Featherstone mingles holding a glass of champagne at the Founders' Circle dinner
Baroness Featherstone at the Founders’ Circle dinner

Daniel Gerring, the Chair of Just Like Us, highlighted the “enormous growth and reach” that Just Like Us has had since it was founded in 2016, as well as the significant role Founders’ Circle members play in supporting the charity.

Amy Ashenden, interim CEO of Just Like Us, said: “Baroness Featherstone’s speech highlighted how hard-won our rights as LGBT+ people are and sadly how the situation is in many ways worsening for LGBT+ young people today. That’s why our Founders’ Circle is so incredibly vital to Just Like Us’ ability to ensure LGBT+ young people can thrive. A huge thank you to all our members for their support and I would really encourage those interested in joining to consider helping us make the future look brighter for the next generation.”

“Though there has been progress in many areas, we know from our research that half of  young people still say their school hasn’t given them positive messaging about being LGBT+. The Baroness’ speech shone a spotlight on how vital it is that we work to make sure LGBT+ young people can be themselves, feel safe and be accepted.”

Members of the Founders’ Circle are helping to end anti-LGBT+ bullying and have the opportunity to mentor LGBT+ young adults. For the equivalent of £100 a month, they get regular updates on how they are supporting LGBT+ young people, exclusive early access to our research, updates and invitations to exclusive events.