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Exclusive: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown declares Prop 8 gay marriage ban “unacceptable”

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  1. Mihai Bucur 6 Mar 2009, 8:17am

    Gordon Brown does not seem to understand that civil partnerships are not equal to marriage: they are a separate but equal status. Like the UK, California already has domestic partnerships which offer all of the rights of marriage. Now that Prop 8 has passed, California has gone backwards to the same level that the UK is at now – no more, no less. Before lamenting the “unacceptable” ban in California, Mr Brown should start by looking at his own party’s refusal to legalise same-sex marriage.

  2. Mihai Bucur 6 Mar 2009, 8:21am

    And I meant to put “separate but equal” in inveted commas. Brown’s comments about Prop 8 undoing the “partnerships” of people is also offensive: those people in California were MARRIED not PARTNERED, a right same-sex couples in the UK have never had.

  3. Well said Mihai.

  4. To us, his comments are seriously flawed. To the public (whom I hope will get to hear of this but doubt it) it sends a strong message that LGBT people are supported (???) at the highest level.

  5. Well done, Gordon!

    It’s very easy to pull apart the good that people do, but Gordon needs affirmation for what he has been prepared to say and do here. He has made a statement that makes people like the Jamaican government seem extraordinarily backward.

  6. Vulpus_rex 6 Mar 2009, 10:27am

    Gordon Brown cannot be trusted. He lies routinely and he will say absolutely anything to anybody (other than sorry for the mess I’ve made) in order to garner a few votes that he hopes will save him from the electoral oblivion he is facing.

    We won’t have much to celebrate after he’s finished printing money it costs £1,000 for a tin of soup.

  7. What a hypocrite. We should have the right to marry not just civil partnerships. While I am grateful that we now have civil partnerships, Labour has been very happy to make concessions to bigots and the religious who claim marriage as a mystically inspired and sanctioned insitution. Civil partnership is not the same as marriage, it is percieved differently by the majority of people and is percieved as inferior. It is not equality, but a bodge. A bodge that labour was quite happy to make. Put your money where your mouth is Mr Brown and fix it.

  8. Simon Murphy 6 Mar 2009, 10:34am

    Such utter hypocrisy. Even if Prop 8 is upheld gay Californians will be able to get CP’s. How can Brown condemn Prop 8 when his own party refused to legislate for equality by offering us the separate CP legislation.

  9. I dont want ‘marriage’ it’s an old fashioned oppressive institution where one person ‘owns’ another. I also dont want to emulate straight relationships – I think gay ones are far more equal & healthy. Everyone should be allowed to have a Civil Partnership if they want, follow our lead for a change. Then we’ll see what people choose – an outdated religious thing or a modern partnership. Marriage would probably die out, which would be a good thing in my eyes.

  10. Partnerships; immigrations rights; inheritance rights; legislation against homophobic bullying; and against discrimintation in emplpoyment & delivery of goods and services; equal age of consent. How quickly people discount what the government – and GB personally – have done for gay rights in this country. The progress of the last ten years has been phenominal. We can disagree over the marriage/partnership point and still think we need to push for the very very few last remaining clauses leaving religous institutions the right to discrimnate, but it’s completely disengenuous to not give credit where it’s due. 10 years ago we were very genuinely treated as 2nd class citizens by the government – today we are very genuinely not.

    Nice one Gordon, and thank you. Don’t let the fashion of bashing a long serving government get you down.

  11. Charlene I so agree as a gay man I love the whole civil thing. The wedded thing you can keep

  12. Simon Murphy 6 Mar 2009, 12:52pm

    I agree that we need to give credit where it is due and major progress has been made towards equality in the last 10 years. However I believe in equality. Even if CP’s offer the same rights as marriage the fact that a ‘separate but equal’ status exists for gay relationships is a cause for worry. Segregation in the US allowed a racist society to favour 1 group of people over another while thinking they were being fair. Gay rights are not set in stone. I want full equality in terms of marriage in case we get a Tory government who want to reverse this progress. Spain has full equality and the gay community there is genuinely worried that if a conservative government gets elected then there may be a reversal. Accepting a ‘separate but equal’ status makes our progress quite shaky and vulnerable.

  13. Does that mean the Prime Minister will be supporting the legalisation of same sex marriage which will be taken up by the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 17th March?

  14. Mihai Bucur 6 Mar 2009, 1:01pm

    re Martin and Eddy: I actually agree with you and I am also very pleased that Gordon Brown has come out and denounced Prop 8. Even though it has not gone the full way, Labour has done heaps for LGBT rights and I think all of us need to acknowledge and appreciate that. (And for the record, if I were a UK citizen, I would vote Labour at the next election).

    So yeah, my point was not to bash Gordon, but rather to point out what seemed to be a pretty hypocritical argument on his behalf. That is, it’s hypocritical to denounce lack of marriage equality in another country when the country you are governing also has no marriage equality. For all of Britain’s progress in gay equality, what strikes me as surprising is the weakness of the marriage equality movement, especially when compared to other “Anglo-Saxon” countries like the US, Canada, Ireland, Australia, etc.

  15. Well done, Gordon! Of COURSE he hasn’t done enough – no politician ever does – but this is a great event and celebrates a position for LGBT people we could only have dreamed of 10 years ago. Keep on the look-out for any more pink parties at no 10 if Cameron wins the next election.

  16. Am I the only one who thinks that Gordon Brown should keep his nose out of things that don’t concern him and get on with trying to fix the almighty c*ck-up that is our economy.
    It also seems quite hypocritical that someone who was conspicuously absent from Parliament everytime there was a vote on matters of gay equality should be telling another country what is acceptable.

  17. Spin, spin, spin

  18. Ok. Let’s applaud the fact that, only 42 years after decriminalisation, the nation’s Prime Minister finally thinks it’s time to have a party to celebrate LGBT history month. I’ll be willing to bet his speech didn’t mention the fact that we had to fight tooth and nail for every single piece of legislation that protects LGB and T people from discrimination AND that these fights had to be brought to the European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights which then FORCED the UK government to introduce protective legislation. As for marriage: to complain about a legislative proposition that ends gay marriage, whilst at the same time being part of a government that introduced legislation to force Transgender people to divorce (ie. The Gender Recognition Act) because there is a ban in gay marriage in the UK, really is the height of hypocrisy. Look to your own House, Brown (and especially the House of Lords), before you stick your nose into other people’s.

  19. James Whale 6 Mar 2009, 1:34pm

    I can’t believe some of the ungrateful, cynical comments on this page – some people just can’t help being negative! I despise your sorry brand of moaning, groaning, utterly unhelpful pessimism. Would you rather he said nothing? Would you rather have a leader who stayed silent on LGB rights or worse still, opposed them?

    Gordon Brown should be praised for making such strong public statements supporting LGB equality and I’m proud of him for doing so, and proud to live in a country with an enlightened leader who isn’t afraid to stand up and say what needs to be said.

    Good for him. You naysayers really haven’t got a clue – for you the glass is always half empty and frankly, you’ll never be happy.

  20. Vulpus_rex 6 Mar 2009, 1:36pm

    No Karen you are not, and if what you say is true then you highlight another good exmaple of Brown’s hypocrasy and unfitness to govern.

    I have no time for scaremongering that suggests a future conservative government would reverse current equality legislation – you might just as well posit the ridiculous argument that they will reverse sex or racial equality legislation (Sorry, I forget that is Harriet Harman’s agenda).

    I do hope however that a conservative government will reverse some of this government’s iniquitous anti-civil liberties legislation!

  21. James, you said, ‘You naysayers really haven’t got a clue’. Well, I have lots of clues: every time I walk out of the house and have to deal with abuse, I get plenty of clues. The fact that I only had protection in the workplace in 2003 (due to a European Directive) and in shops, offices etc., in 2007 (due to an amendment bneing forced on the government), and on the street in 2008, gives me lots of clues that the Labour party supports these issues because it HAS to, not because it wants to.

  22. Celia Kitzinger 6 Mar 2009, 2:01pm

    I applaud Gordon Brown’s support for equal marriage rights in California. I urgently entreat him to legislate for equal marriage rights in the UK. I urge everyone to write to him and ensure that he’s aware of the contradictions in his current position of supporting equality only for American same-sex couples. Here’s his contact information:

    Gordon Brown’s contact details:

    Email: browng@parliament.uk

    Post: Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, M.P.

    House of Commons

    London

    SW1A 1AA

  23. Sister Mary Clarence 6 Mar 2009, 2:17pm

    Fantastic throwing a few crumbs to the gay community at no cost whatsoever in the hope of scoring a few brownie points and getting a few more votes.

    What about the f**king ecomony over here Gordon? Instead of prostituting yourself on the world stage, you should be over her sorting out the sh*t you’ve dropped us all in.

    No doubt though there will be some stupid enough to vote for him still because of this, despite to misery his failed ecomomic policies have caused.

  24. PS Mihai – I am pleased Gordon Brown did make the comment, even so. His comment was that the democratic process was used to deny a minority its rights. He is right to say, be vigilant.

    The Tory party is riddles with eveangelicals and catholics; the conservative christian fellowship and the cornerstone group being the party’s most poisonous sub groups. There are some notable exceptions, the MP for Buckingham for example, but without Labour, there would have been NO progress whatsoever on any civil rights. Remember, the Lords were the ones who stalled Section 28′s repeal, and the armed forces ban. Things are slightly easier since Blair’s govt cleared those geriatric hereditary peers out….

    Overall, yes, brown is to be commended for holding such an event. It is significant. But I hope the atmosphere was not too self-congratulatory: hopefully he also was made to realise, there is still much to do. Changing laws is one thing, changing bigoted minds is another.

  25. Sue Wilkinson 6 Mar 2009, 2:31pm

    So, Gordon Brown supports equality for Californian LGBT couples… What about here at home? Can I urge everyone who supports equal access to marriage (and civil partnership) for all couples to write to him and request he drafts the necessary legislation forthwith. (Address: 10 Downing Street, London SW1A 2AA; email not working.) And do sign the petition to the Scottish Parliament for equal marriage too (follow Nick H’s link above).
    Sue (Wilkinson)

  26. Kevin Peel 6 Mar 2009, 2:58pm

    I attended the reception and was immensely proud to hear my Prime Minister saying those words. The passion and conviction of what he was saying was evident and it was great that this event was held in Downing Street for the very first time. I look forward to many more!

  27. Kevin Peel 6 Mar 2009, 3:01pm

    I was at the reception and was immensely proud to here my Prime Minister come out so strongly and passionately in favour of the LGBT community. The conviction of his words was evident and the sheer fact that this event was held in Downing Street is fantastic. When I look back and consider how far we have come since 1997 I am astonished Yes, there is more to do – but I have faith that our Labour Government will deliver, as opposed to the lip service paid to LGBT rights by the conservative party – 75 PERCENT of whom CONSISTENTLY vote AGAINST all equality legislation.

  28. Ian Turner 6 Mar 2009, 3:03pm

    The Pink News has unfortunately become a sounding board for liberal minded Tories who believe their party had nothing to do with the discrimination proportioned to the Gay community by their MP’s during the last 50 years. The Tories didn’t even have the decency to enact the Wolfenden Report that they initiated during the late 50’s.
    A labour government during its first year in office presented the bill to parliament strongly opposed by the Tories. Their record on gay equality is nothing short of shameful and now you are all trying to claim the moral high ground by seeking out inadequacies within this countries legislation. During the last 50 years not a single LGBT piece of legislation that has supported our rights has been enacted by the Tories.

  29. Celia Kitzinger 6 Mar 2009, 3:06pm

    Sue Wilkinson and I were legally married in Canada in 2003 when we were living and working out there (we’re both British citizens). Any heterosexual British couple in our position would have had their marriage recognized back home. The High Court ruled that our marriage was not legally recognised in the UK and deemed it to be a civil partnership instead (see equalmarriagerights.org). This is not equality. Whether or not you support marriage as such is irrelevant. What matters is that everyone should have equal rights to marry (or to form a civil partnership) irrespective of their gender and sexuality. Two separate institutions (one for hets, one for us) is not equal.
    Celia Kitzinger

  30. I was lucky enough to have attended last night’s reception and have to say that some of the comments here are wholly unjustified.
    Whether or not you support Gordon Brown or Labour, it’s inescapable that the Government has done good things – equalising the age of consent, civil partnerships, rights to challenge homophobia in law, gay adoption and fostering: none of these things happened by accident, they had to be delivered by the Government – often in the teeth of virulent opposition.
    Let’s celebrate some good things and move on to win yet more, not carp continually and complain.

  31. Ian Turner 6 Mar 2009, 3:19pm

    I totally agree with Kevin Peel’s comment. The Tories record on Gay rights issues is crap. Read Hansard for all the major debates on Gay rights issues and then look at the voting record at the end of each debate.90 percent are tory MP’s who voted no. Read some of their rantings during those debates. One Tory MP actually said that he objected to having to vote on whether to legalise gay sex. I will take no liberal lectures from tories no matter how flawed our current legislation is. They would have done nothing.

  32. Vulpus_rex 6 Mar 2009, 3:26pm

    John Major (Tory) removed the ban on gay people serving in the diplomatic service and de-criminalised homosexuals serving in the army (Still not permitted – but no longer sent to jail for it).

    These are just two examples of what a tory government has done that I can think of off the top of my head – I’m sure there are more.

    This is not the point though.

    No-one will deny that the labour party completely outclass the Tory party on equality legislation, for which I commend and thank them.

    However it is also impossible to deny that the Labour party have completely outclassed the Tory party on economic incompetence, dishonesty, sleaze and the ruin of the education system.

    Just how bad will it have to get for some people to recognize that the new labour project has failed miserably, riots? people starving? anarchy? Or will all of these latter miseries be tolerated without end while desperately clinging to the sad, out dated mantra “Well it’s still better than if the tories were in power”?

  33. Vulpus-rex, you’re obviously just a Tory troll trying to win a few votes.

    The basic point is that practically ALL of the gay rights won in this country have been thanks to Labour, and your rotten party opposed them every step of the way.

    My liberty has been vastly improved under this government and if the Tories has their way, I’d still be a second class citizen.

  34. Homosexuals were allowed in the military as of jan 2000, over 2 years after Blair came to power. You have a point Vulpus Rex, and especially on education.

    To those who attended: I am sure it was a nice star-studded event, but were there opportunities for dialogue with any politicians?

  35. Sister Mary Clarence 6 Mar 2009, 4:45pm

    I absolutely agree with you Vulpus, how bad does it need to get before all those reassured by Gordon Brown’s kind rhetoric realise what a disaster the recession/depression is going to be for tolerance and acceptance?

    It seems turkeys do vote for Christmas.

    I assume these are the same people that believe that devaluing our currency by just printing a load more is actually going to help the situation. It didn’t work for Mugabe and it isn’t going to work for Brown

  36. Mihangel apYrs 6 Mar 2009, 4:47pm

    my CP is in the process of seking a US visa for business. Guess what: there is no option to state his status as civil partnered – the US is as benighted and Uganda in some ways, and until they start to recognise same-sex relationships made in other countries it would be nice if their mixed-sex arriages were treated with the same contempt

  37. George Broadhead 6 Mar 2009, 5:52pm

    One question that no one has asked is “who was invited besides the few celebrities mentioned in the Pink News report?” You can bet that Ben Summerskill of Stonewall was there, but were Peter Tatchell and representatives of the LGBT campaigning groups, apart from the Labour one? I doubt it.

  38. vulpus_rex 6 Mar 2009, 11:03pm

    I don’t know what a tory troll is but I am reasonably confident I am not one.

    To be clear to those who don’t seem to understand:

    No-one disputes that the Labour party have introduced equality legislation that cannot be rivaled by any other party – they are good at this.

    On the other hand:

    They have completely f**cked the private pension system
    They have completely f**cked the education system
    They have completely f**cked the value of the pound
    They have completely f**cked the concept of civil liberties
    They have completely f**cked the economy

    The list frankly could go on and on – but how much longer does that list need to be before you realise that labour are crap at anything other than equality-legislation-type stuff?

  39. Just to add to the voices saying Brown is a hypocrite. He sure is! In California they have domestic partnerships which give same-sex couples exactly the same rights as gay marriage did for the few months it existed. Many Prop 8 supporters are in fact disingenuously arguing that they don’t object to legal, financial, etc. rights for gay couples, it’s the concept of using the word “marriage” they don’t agree with. The British High Court and Attorney General have also said that gay relationships in the UK cannot constitute marriage, which. In which case, the UK currently has exactly the same laws vis-a-vis gay marriage as Proposition 8 has supported. So, Gordon Brown should shut up and stop distorting the truth. Sure, civil unions are a good step forward (as long as they are regarded simply as a step forward and not as us having won all our rights so we should shut up now), but they are not the same thing as marriage. In which case, Gordon Brown should not make statements against Proposition 8, since his position is legally no different.

  40. Tim Roll-Pickering 7 Mar 2009, 3:59pm

    Ian Turner and David repeat the myths that LGB equality legislation in this country has only come from Labour and has been government legislation. In fact the first moves for decriminalisation tabled in parliament in the 1960s were moved by Conservatives – Lord Arran and Humphry Berkeley. Berkeley’s Bill got a second reading and might well have passed but for the interruption of the 1966 election (in which he unexpectedly lost his seat – he attributed this to his bringing the bill). It was not the Labour government but an individual Labour MP, Leo Abse, who took up Berkeley’s Bill and won Commons time to get it passed in Parliament. It was the Thatcher government which legalised homosexuality in both Scotland and Northern Ireland (at a time when the Labour Party policy wanted to undemocratically force the province into the Republic, where homosexuality wasn’t legalised until 1993) – unless “this country” only means England. It was Conservative MPs Edwina Currie and Tony Durant who moved the amendments to lower the age of consent in 1994.

  41. Sister Mary Clarence 8 Mar 2009, 12:10pm

    Taking some of you Labour trolls backs further still, in 1946 Winston Churchill (Cons) made the speech,” We must build a kind of United States of Europe”. The first step is to form a Council of Europe”.

    In 1948 Addressing the Hague Congress he said, “We aim at the eventual participation of all European peoples whose society and way of life are not in disaccord with a charter of human rights and the sincere expression of free democracy”.

    From this seed was born the Council of Europe, whose notable achievements include the European Court of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.

    Spawned from this in later years we had developed Human Rights Act, which has seen this Europe-wide legislation bought directly onto our British statute books. Although the Human Rights Act only gives responsibility to public authorities, the act is still too young to be definitively applied to individuals. Hence, private claims for breach of Human Rights tend to go straight to the European Court Of Human Rights.

    From the foundations of the Human Rights Act/European Convention of Human Rights was built the Treaty of Amsterdam, based on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, developed during John Major’s (Cons) time in office.

    The signing of the 1997 Treaty has seen a transformation of qualities legislation across a while swathe of European nations, including our own. Each country changing different national laws at different times, but all slowly moving in the same direction, adherence to the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

    None of which would ever have been possibly without that speech which resounded around the corridors of power across Europe over half a century ago. A speech which galvanised heads of state to push forward an agenda that would ultimately lead us to where we are today, approaching full equality under law, valued as members of society and no longer needing to hide away who we are and who we love.

    I know when we get these religious nutters on here who have been brain-washed for years that whatever we say will never change the way they think, and in that same way we are not going to change all these Labour trolls whose only knowledge of British and European political history is the introduction of Section 28 by Margaret Thatcher.

    History does though extend a bit beyond that and it was the actions of a Conservative politician over 60 years ago that have driven the agenda on equality since that time.

  42. I was interested by Gordon’s comment –

    ” … you have shown how you can change opinion in our country, you have shown how the legislative process, by your pressure, can respond.”

    Unfortunately, requiring any response by legislative process actually indicates the failure to change public opinion. Ironically, the larger body of public opinion – namely against changing the laws on gay relationships – were ignored by our representatives in Parliament.

    At least the people of California have been given the chance to express their opinion – something that the British legislative process studiously ignored.

  43. Richard Angell 9 Mar 2009, 10:10am

    Excellent Job Gordon – the event was amazing! I am so proud to be Labour!

  44. Sister Mary Clarence 9 Mar 2009, 12:29pm

    I wonder whether at this ‘amazing’ event whether there was an opportunity to discuss any of the less savoury moments in Labour’s recent history with regard to LGBT issues.

    Dear old Miranda Grell always tends to rear her ugly head, whenever I hear of them going through the motions about LGBT equality and their monopoly on it,

    For those not familiar with Miranda, she won a landslide victory over the sitting Lib Dem candidate in the 2006 local elections in Waltham Forest. She was subsequently charged with making false statements about another candidate to gain electoral advantage. Said false statements included door-stepping voters and telling them her gay opponent was a paedophile, living with a sixteen year old Thai boyfriend, and having sex with children. Despite the fact that one of her accusers was a fellow Labour candidate, the Labour Party came out strongly behind her.

    Her local MP, Jon Worth, said of her, “In short, there is no person I know in the Labour Party that I would trust more to do a good job for her constituents, and to be an honest and upstanding Councillor than Miranda. As parties struggle to attract good young people to be councillors, she is very much the sort of person we should be having as a councillor.”

    Barry Smith, her former running mate, didn’t attend Gordon’s little do, I expect. Having had to flee London in fear, following the intimidation and threats to his life that ensued after Miranda’s high jinx, its would probably be a bit of a trek, but if he had done, he might have wanted to ask:

    How did a so-called ‘high-flyer’ like Miranda every get through the selection and vetting process, when she would happily destroy a man’s life in her quest for power?

    Why did the local not distance itself from Miranda when the allegations surface, supported by a fellow Labour Party candidate?

    Why were big guns drawn in from the wider Labour Party to support this woman’s tissue of lies?

    Would the party have been so supportive had the allegations involved racism?

    Why when she was convicted was she not thrown out of the Labour Party?

    Why when she was convicted did senior member of the Labour Party refuse to believe the verdict, continuing to support this bigot and instead rubbish the British legal system?

    Why in light of the initial guilty verdict and overwhelming evidence, did the Labour Party continue to provide funding and support for the appeal?

    Why on losing that appeal was Miranda still not tossed out of the party or her job, instead being allowed to discreetly resign?

    In light of all of this I find his comments regarding having to be vigilant, and always fighting homophobic behaviour and any form of discrimination a little bit crass to say the least. I’m not sure about a monopoly on equality, but this government definitely has a monopoly on corruption and talking sh*t.

  45. Bill Perdue 9 Mar 2009, 3:23pm

    Brown needs to refine his thinking on civil partnerships, which won’t be equal to marriage until all forms of partnering are either marriages or civil partnerships. Separate but equal is not equal, it’s second class and that’s a very dangerous status to be in.

    And he needs to immediately end the disgusting policy of deporting GLBT refugees back to certain torture and death, a policy enforced by his Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith. The policy is both homophobic and racist.

    Brown’s statement about Prop 8 is welcome even if it is aimed mostly at garnering GLBT votes in England.

    Western European finances are closely tied to the financial sector in the US. The recession, which is well on its way to becoming a global depression, began in the US and is spreading across the world. According to the World Bank … the first global recession since World War II as the crisis that started in the United States engulfs once-booming developing nations…

    Global financial collapse is the fault of the Clinton-Bush deregulation of the U.S. FIRE (Financial Insurance Real Estate) sectors which allowed the rich to loot and eventually destroy our economy and standard of living. Brown and New Labour had nothing to do with events in the U.S. which are the root cause of global economic collapse. But he may still find there’s a political price to pay for being the party in power as the US collapse’s domino effect turns global.

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