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Foreign secretary David Miliband responds to readers’ criticisms

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  1. Simon Murphy 7 Jul 2009, 2:48pm

    Labour accused the Tories last week of ingrained homophobia.

    Here’s a chance for Labour to prove that they are fully committed to gay rights.

    Some questions for Mr Milliband:

    1. When will gay couples be allowed access to the legal contract of civil marriage

    2. When will heterosexual couples be allowed access to civil partnerships

    3. When will religious groups be obliged to comply with equality legislation in schools

    4. When will your national strategy for the tackling of homophobic bullying in schools be announced

    These are simple questions with simply answers. What are the Labour Party’s answers?

  2. Pete & Michael 7 Jul 2009, 2:59pm

    Comment 1. Hear! Hear! From Both of us, being together through Thick and Thin for 26 years and officially being ‘Civil Partnered’ for 3+ years and still facing homophobia.

  3. Mihangel apYrs 7 Jul 2009, 3:04pm

    5. when will gays and lesbians seeking asylum from homophobic regimes be protected by the UK and not sent back to be killed?

  4. Kudos to David Miliband over not taking offence at a spoof twitterer – Unlike a certain presenter of Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, who obviously can’t take a joke.

  5. Vincent Poffley 7 Jul 2009, 3:11pm

    “there is a debate to be had over equalising the rights of ‘married’ heterosexual and homosexual couples”

    No. No there isn’t. A debate would require two sides with valid points of view. There is no valid argument for denying gay people full marriage equality. I find even the assumption that this is an ambiguous issue highly offensive. And putting the word marriage in scare quotes like that is also very patronising in itself.

  6. Brian Burton 7 Jul 2009, 3:27pm

    I am Glad to be Gay. Glad we have come thus far And why is that? Because I lived for too long with one foot in jail just for being Gay. You professional whiners and and whinges done’t know your born yet. Any Gay person born after 1967 would’nt know what the hell I was talking about! None of you deserve what you have now, because your lack of humility and insanity bars you from normal humanistic feelings.

  7. Simon Murphy 7 Jul 2009, 3:40pm

    Brian Burton: #6: You say: “Any Gay person born after 1967 would’nt know what the hell I was talking about! None of you deserve what you have now, because your lack of humility and insanity bars you from normal humanistic feelings.”

    Oh you poor little diddums. Just because the younger generation did not experience how homophobic life was like pre 1967 are you seriously suggesting that we just put up and shut up with discrimination? Granted it is not huge discrimination but it’s older people like you who are the annoying ones.

    Are you genuinely saying that the younger generation don’t deserve our rights? That means you think that the gay rights campaign started by your generation was mistake. It was the oldies who started it. If we don’t deserve our rights then your generation is responsible.

    By the way – it’s thanks to the older generation that the younger generation has homophobic bullying to deal with. Thanks to gay awareness, homophobic bullying has sky-rocketed as teenagers know how to pick on someone. Pre-1967 awareness of homosexuality was so low that homophobic bullying was not an issue. Are you proud of your legacy Brian?

  8. A 6th question for Mr Miliband:

    ‘When will holding homophobic beliefs that denigrate homosexuality as ‘sinful’/’intrinsically disordered/’requiring repentance’ be considered sufficient reason to disqualify those holding them from adopting children or running adoption agencies?’

  9. Vincent Poffley 7 Jul 2009, 5:48pm

    Ah yes, the old “you weren’t there when it was illegal” canard. By that logic you don’t deserve the vote, because you were born after we instituted democracy…

  10. Labour has made Big changes but there is more to be done

    Civil partnerships need to altered to match that of

    The homophobic culture in society needs to change

    David has a point if only all labour ministers thought like him

    homophobic bullying in schools needs to be sorted

  11. “there is a debate to be had over equalising the rights of ‘married’ heterosexual and homosexual couples”

    Well, isn’t this a fascinating quote…

    He is acknowledging that ‘married’ gay and straight couple do not have equal rights! Hoorah! Thank goodness- at last an acknowledgement.

    A positive spin on this would be also that he is acknowledging that something needs to be done about this inequality.

    And surely if they are admitting that they haven’t delivered equality then they ought to do something about it.

    Please, please, David, make a commitment to supporting marriage equality.

  12. Brian, how old are you? I was born in 1971 and I feel upset that you think I therefore lack humility and do not understand homophobia. I do understand homophobia- it is still alive and well and I have seen lives seriously damaged by it. I do have humility- I have given up my time to do voluntary work with vulnerable young people who have been victims of homophobia. As long as there are gay young people being bullied to the point of suicide then I don’t think the elderly queens have the monopoly on understanding suffering.

  13. Anthony Carter 7 Jul 2009, 9:02pm

    One day, maybe, when being Gay becomes totally unremarkable, we can retreat into “marriage.”

    Meantime I am not my partner’s ‘wife’ and neither am I his ‘husband.’ We are proud to be Civil Partners.

    Civil Partnership is for Gays, not Straights.

    Be positive!

  14. If the U.S. Government response Rosa Parks’ refusal give up her seat on a bus to a white person had been to give blacks their own bus service, would that have been acceptable? ‘Civil Partnerships’ = ‘buses for blacks’, ‘marriage’ = ‘buses for whites’. Just a form of apartheid…

  15. Anthony Carter, so your argument is that since you don’t want to be married and are fully satisfied with a separate institution then NO gay person or couple should be ALLOWED to civilly marry a person of the same sex?

    And Brian Burton, as a gay man born before 1967, all I can say is WOW, just WOW, what a moron! Be satisfied with second best if you want but don’t DARE bitch, moan and berate others who deserve and demand the FULL rights and benefits of being British and of being Human.

    Is that REALLY what you’re saying?

    The short answer to the “problem” of “equilizing” heterosexual marriage and gay civil partnerships is to either get rid of CP’s and give everyone access to full civil marriage or give gay couples and straight couples the option of marriage or civil partnerships. You will NEVER make civil partnerships and marriage “equal” because civil partnerships will never have the social, cultural or traditional respect and recognition that marriage has. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out.

  16. It always saddens me when we bicker amoungst ourselves. We are all guilty of commenting when emotional & the result isn’t always pretty ie. Brian. But as a young(ish) lesbian I am fascinated with history of discrimination & have been in tears reading some books so even though I was not there I can express empathy. Mark, I love the Rosa Parks analogy but I’m still on the fence in that I don’t want to emulate straight relationships but I believe there should be choice for everyone!!

  17. Mihangel apYrs 8 Jul 2009, 11:27am

    within our justifiable criticism, we must give Milliband the credit for actually communicating with us and at least saying the right things. While it may be Bryant’s influence it is to be applauded.

    Milliband is of a different generation from Brown (and Blair)and has grown up in a more liberal world where his class, at least, have openly gay friends, friends who were openly gay more or less from school. He also grew up in a society where we were much more visible and “normal”. He therefore feels comfortable around LGBT people in a way that Brown (son of the Manse) never could be, and I believe he DOES belive in equality in diversity, rather than just using it for politics.

    He deserves 2 cheers then: if he ever gets to be PM, and follows through on his statements, he’ll get the extra one!

  18. Saying ‘Civil Partner’ is so clumsy and awkward-sounding, and straight people often look slightly confused, so I find it easier to say ‘my husband’. Straight people prefer that as it is easier to understand. Especially for older people civil partnership is too much jargon and they just can’t remember it so they prefer to just say husband anyway. I think there is probably more support for doing away with civil partnerships from the straight community than there is from the gay community!

    In retrospect civil partnerships were a mistake. I am glad I had one, but I find it hard to think of as a civil partnership and consider myself to be married, as does everyone else. At times like this when I am reminded that I am not married and I am not allowed to get married and if I do have a wedding ceremony (would be humanist for me- not in a gay-friendly church) that I will not be entitled to have ANY legal recognition of that marriage- unlike those priviledged straights who are ‘more equl’ than me.

  19. Anthony Carter 8 Jul 2009, 2:38pm

    In this country there really is no practical difference between “Marriage” and “Civil Partnership” – leaving aside church weddings, which are a problem for churches – except the fact that civil partners belong, by definition, to the same sex, and husbands and wives are of different genders.

    Many gay men do marry. A married gay man is a man who has chosen, for whatever motive, to marry a woman – and yes, Zeke, this is allowed.

    I agree with Tony that the term ‘civil partner’ is clumsy, but what the hell.

    If straight people want to pretend to be gay by entering into civil partnerships I think we should let them. It takes all sorts!

  20. “If straight people want to pretend to be gay by entering into civil partnerships I think we should let them”: probably the main reason why straights aren’t allowed civil partnerships is because the Church fears too many people would choose them, leaving ‘marriage’as an increasingly marginalised institution identifying people as homophobic bigots more than anything else. It would only take a few high-profile straight married couples (Brad & Angelina, for instance) to get divorced and then ‘civilly partnered’ by way of protest, for marriage to become viewed as very unfashionable indeed, and another nail in the coffin of Christianity (or should that be ‘in the cross of Christianity’?)

  21. Good to hear this from Miliband.

    Mr. Miliband, if you really want to show your party’s commitment to equality, support for same-sex marriage would be the ideal way to do it.

  22. I have a couple of questions for the toadying Millipede:

    1. When is he and his Marxist ilk going to stop using our community to destroy the traditional family unit (which, as the 16th June BBC2 documentary The Death of Respect graphically illustrates, is the fundamental building block of a stable society, but which the state-controlled broadcaster is burying away in a post Newsnight death slot?)

    2. When are his neo-liberal cohorts going to stop using our community to advance their insidious Orwellian agenda, using diversity, anti-discrimination measures and multiculturalism as a smokescreen to implement the tools of a fully-fledged totalitarian state?

    3. Like his Gaydar-trolling chum Chris Bryant, will The Millipede admit to being a graduate of NLP/brainwash merchants Common Purpose (search Google to discover how the UK’s infrastructure is being dismantled from within in order to make us all subservient to the approaching EU fascist superstate (and you thought these head cases were our friends?)

    4. When will The Millipede come clean on his Zionist leanings (incidentally, did he have any input into the 2012 Olympics logo which, when divided into quarters and rearranged, spell the word “Zion”?)…

  23. Merv, up the dosage…

  24. Mr Miliband,

    Your commitment is appreciated. The main objectors to full gay marital rights seem to be religious groups. Around half of all marriages are non religious. The solution is simple, instead of talking about gay and straight marriage, why not simply talk about religious and non religious marriage – sexuality then becomes irrelevant.

    Your writing here twice does I think indicate a certain degree of sincerity regarding pushing gay rights. But I still experience homophobia on a daily basis. Oh, and can you please pass an act of parliament to get Chris (homophobia) Moyles off radio that I pay for.

  25. Anthony Carter, HUH?

    What are you talking about? Where did I say that gay men weren’t allowed to marry women? I pointed out how ridiculous it is for people to translate their own personal apathy toward marriage into taking stands against ANY gay person being allowed to marry a person of the SAME sex. Don’t want to get married? Then don’t but you shouldn’t stand in the way, or not support other people’s right to marry their chosen partner (even if they are of the same sex) if they want to.

    And WHO says that “civil partnerships” by definition is for gays and “husband” and “wife” belongs to heterosexual couples? Do you know what begging the question is? I hope so because your statement is a perfect example of begging the question. Besides, I’m married to a man (in Canada) who is my husband and I am his husband. Are you really trying to tell me that I “by definition” should not be entitled to such institutions or to be known as husband and husband? Are you REALLY making the argument that gay people should not be privy to certain institutions unless they are willing to go against their nature and marry a woman?

    With thinking like this from gay people it’s no wonder why the road to justice and equality has been so long and hard. How can we convince straight people of our worth and our right to full and unseparated equality when there are still so many gay people still not quite convinced?

  26. David Miliband – Keep on doing the best you can for the LGBT worldwide and for us in Britain as there are still some unpleasant areas that need to be changed – for good. You are making history.

  27. Anthony Carter 9 Jul 2009, 10:05am

    A quick response to Zeke’s fierce comments:

    Heterosexual couples cannot enter into Civil Partnerships. Only people of the same sex, i.e. gays, can have a civil partnership. The exclusions work both ways.

    We have straight friends in stable heterosexual partnerships who have chosen not to marry because they do not wish to take up the cultural/historic burden which comes with being husband and wife. They envy us our civil partnerships and would be puzzled if we chose to marry instead.

    So maybe one day we will all be Civil Partners ?

    Meantime, incidentally, I do not feel – at least in Scotland, where we live – that we are in any way obliged to “convince straight people of our worth.” Zeke’s Canadian marriage and our Scottish Civil Partnership are equally wonderful and worthwhile. The real battle, long and hard, must now be fought elsewhere, and its not only a battle of words.

    I suspect Zeke and I are really on the same side!

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