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Comment: David Laws’s gay secrecy is understandable, so many closeted Lib Dem MPs is not

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  1. It annoys me that people are expected to come out as gay, but not if their straight. I have not and will not ‘come out’ to anyone, people know my preference but they found out in the same way I found out a friend likes her men tall dark and cute.

  2. Just a shame he is using his sexuality to reason his crime away. He cheated the government -the people- because of his greed, not because he was gay.
    Hiding behind the ‘an assumption you are straight’ is a lie, no matter how you reason it for yourself. It becomes an act of a COWARD, especially when people are being killed and imprisoned for being like you.

  3. Patrick James 30 May 2010, 1:47pm

    There are two stories with David Laws, the first is that he has been forced out of the closet, which I think is really wrong.

    The second story is that he was diddling his expenses. If the reports I’ve been reading are correct the expenses business was really quite major. It seems he had very large utility bills and suchlike as well historically.

    I don’t believe that there was no way for him to find some living arrangement which would have meant he wasn’t falsely claiming expenses.

    David Laws made a great deal out of other expenses issues when it was politically beneficial for him to do so. Really the hypocrisy with David Laws and expenses has been very great I think.

    My sympathy for his being forced out in this way is still there, but I don’t like the way he was using that personal issue to try to excuse his expenses issue.

  4. Kris Jones 30 May 2010, 2:05pm

    I have little sympathy with David Laws. During the opprobrium about MPs expenses it must surely have occurred to him that if the nature of his relationship with the house owner became known, there would be questions about his own expenses claims. If his intention was to keep his relationship private he missed his best chance of ensuring that. When Sir Thomas Legge was appointed to audit MPs expenses, Laws could have approached him in private, explained his situation and asked Legge to consider whether he had breached the rules or should otherwise repay some expenses. If Legge had demanded some repayment, then Laws could have managed any announcement himself rather than being outed by the press against his will. Instead, Laws claimed on his constituency website that he was being fully open and transparent about his expenses and boasted how modest they were. His Tory opponent during the election claims that Laws even made a virtue of it during the election campaign. It now appears he was dishonest with his constituents.

  5. Patrick James 30 May 2010, 2:11pm

    The article asks about why the Lib Dems, who have good policies on LGBT issues, then seem to have MPs with personal problems about being gay.

    The answer might be that the Lib Dems are so used to not being under scrutiny and the sexuality of their MPs wouldn’t have been considered very important by the press because they were unlikely to get in power.

    I do feel that the sexuality of politicians is not very important at all. I would love it if the press did not take such an interest in this.

    The other side of the Lib Dems being historically free from scrutiny is that it had enabled them to attack the Labour party very piously.

    Now that the Lib Dems are in government they are behaving with absolute contempt for their electorate. They obtained votes from people who believed that it was a bad idea to start cuts in the coming months because it would risk the recovery. After the election the Lib Dems are now supporting immediate cuts.

    The Lib Dems lectured us all about “The New Politics” and yet now that they are in power they comply with the most anti-democratic of activities, such as trying to bully Question Time into how it choosing contributors they like. Then, in the week of the Queen’s speech when they don’t get what they want from Question Time they provide no cabinet minister to participate. They simply do not wish to be accountable to the electorate. They do not wish to answer the electorate’s questions about why they have become something entirely different from that which they presented to the electorate.

  6. Patrick James 30 May 2010, 2:21pm

    The final sentence of the article:

    For a day David Laws was the most powerful openly gay man in Britain. Today he is just another Lib Dem caught out by his fear of coming out.

    But David Laws is not a Lib Dem caught out by his fear of coming out.

    He was caught out fiddling expenses.

    If David Laws had been a Labour minister prior to the election you can be 100% sure there would be none of this sympathy shown towards him.

  7. Perhaps the reason so many Lib Dems are not ‘out’ is the knowledge of how vigorously Labour and the Tories will play the homophobia card on the doorstep to defeat them?

  8. “The fact he’d won the 1983 Bermondsey by-election as the “straight choice” against the openly gay Labour candidate Peter Tatchell in a virulently homophobic campaign didn’t help. ”

    This line, however, gets so many of its ‘facts’ wrong as to be laughably bad journalism.

  9. Merseymike 30 May 2010, 3:38pm

    Oh, come off it, Jen – the LibDems are famous for their dirty, personal campaigns and their ‘Hocus focus’ lie-sheets. Scurrilous, principle-free party

  10. Deeside Will 30 May 2010, 4:04pm

    What mystifies me is anyone – especially an intelligent man like him – behaving in 2010 as though this were still 1960.

  11. I also have no sympathy whatsoever. Ripping off the taxpayers one is supposed to represent is unacceptable. Laws committed expenses fraud. Another Sir Duck-Island Viggers in my eyes.

  12. If we deride the ‘Gay Panic; defence, we must equally deride the ‘Its because I am Gay..’ defence. Two sides of the same coin!

  13. Patrick James 30 May 2010, 6:06pm

    Jen Writes:

    Perhaps the reason so many Lib Dems are not ‘out’ is the knowledge of how vigorously Labour and the Tories will play the homophobia card on the doorstep to defeat them?

    Use of homophobia against LGBT Labour candidates is a very well known Lib Dem tactic in recent history.

    However today I don’t think that any party is likely to use such tactics.

  14. THe guy is a MP and just a few days ago was a very powerful one. He has been living with a political lobbyist for 9 yrs, we know nothing of their relationship , we now nothing of their shared interest – aren’t MPs and their spouses supposed to declare their interests – They guy had no right to act as though his partner was his landlord and claim these expenses, I can’t even work out whether they actually lived in these houses or just claimed on them, who owned them ,where they are a living now or whether they are still living together.. one story I read said he had been living with his partner in his partner’s house till 2009 and now had moved into anoter place not owned by his partner – have they both moved – what is going on here…This seems to be a total farce , a web of deceit and lies, a desperate attempt to not come clean… to dress it up as a 44 yrs old powerful millionaire guy who has worked in the rough and tough world of the city and now in the commons and who is now trying to come to terms with being gay to his family and friends is pathetic…. The lib dems have a serious problem if this happens again, this is the 3 person to be outed in a supposedly gay friendly party ….. I’m losing my faith in them, as for them being for gay marriage , then where is this evidence? Remember PN , these are politicians, they work for us , they get voted in parliament by us, you can not cover up a “partner” or “spouse”, it’s not possible and it’s not ethical and as you can quite clearly see in his case for claiming expenses etc for the last few years it was against the rules…..

  15. coming out is a very personal affair. it depends on so many components related to identity so we should just equate the societal ease of coming out as the main factor. there are others!

  16. Quote by Patrick:
    …he has been forced out of the closet, which I think is really wrong.
    The only thing wrong with what you say is that the word wrong should be right.

  17. Three observations:
    1 – David Laws’ assiduous closetry is at first glance astonishing in the context of contemporary Westminster culture – MPs hold their Civil Partnerships there now. But he has made explicit mention of concealing his sexuality from his family and friends – which suggests that these are pretty homophobic. The world on the ground, we are again reminded, doesn’t change that fast.
    2 – Gay LibDem MPs are generally closeted inspite of their pro-lgbt policies. This is because they mostly represent rural constituencies, where general prejudices are usually magnified, and bigotry usually focuses more on people than on ‘liberal’ ideas themselves.
    3 – Claiming expenses related to something you want to hide is stupid in the extreme, especially if you are a FINANCE minister. This is another characteristic of some kinds of closetry – you are so convinced that you are invisible that you end up believing people really can’t see you.

  18. The paper is disgusting for outing him. No one should be outed, and only come out when and if they are ready.

    And if he really did it out of greed do you not think he would have declared their relationship, they would have got about 3 times as much.

    PLEASE read this, it sort of highlights how out or proportion this whole things has been blown.
    http://seanywonders.blogspot.com/2010/05/why-im-not-joining-lawsgate-mob.html

  19. Patrick James 30 May 2010, 8:13pm

    Dax writes:

    PLEASE read this, it sort of highlights how out or proportion this whole things has been blown.
    http://seanywonders.blogspot.com/2010/05/why-im-not-joining-lawsgate-mob.html

    Many of the other expenses scandals can be analysed in the same way and presented in a way that meant they were not so bad after all.

    But the Lib Dems were absolutely ruthless with respect to the Labour party MPs with expenses issues and so where the press.

    David Laws himself was very strong on the attack of other MPs who had similar expenses problems when they were in the Labour party.

    David Laws used this “gay partner” thing to try to prevent himself from having to resign.

    If David Laws had not been such an enthusiast for attacking other people with expenses issues then it would be much easier for me and others to show sympathy for his case.

    If we had not heard so much from the Lib Dems about “The New Politics” and endless criticism of them about Labour as if only Labour were capable of corruption then it would be much easier to be sympathetic to David Laws case.

    If David Laws had stood for election on the policies he was so keen to implement, instead of standing for election on the opposite policies, then it it would be much more easy to be sympathetic for his case.

    I do believe that it is wrong for the press to out LGBT people against their will personally, but I think David Laws is a hypocrite on many fronts other than this LGBT issue.

  20. Dax: “The paper is disgusting for outing him.”

    As a regular Daily Telegraph reader, I can tell you they did nothing of the kind. He outed himself. The Telegraph at no point mentioned the sex of his partner, and Laws had already been advised by the paper that they were going ahead with this story, so he had to come clean before someone else did it for him.

    He quite rightfully had to resign. He is the man primarily responsible for instigating a £6bn series of cuts across the public sector. He really cannot be seen to be snaffling £40,000 on expenses. It is the height of hypocrisy. The man was a millionaire before he was 25. If he had any morals, he wouldn’t have claimed £950 a month over eight years for a room in Kennington.

    The whole closet thing is just a smokescreen. As Martin Bell put it: “I don’t think it’s a witch hunt, if you go into public life you expect public scrutiny. This has got nothing to do with his personal relations with whoever, it has to do with expenses, and this has been going on for a few years and you have to make sure that whatever you claim is squeaky clean and if you don’t you’ll be punished.”

  21. Hypocrite and thief. Simple as that. Hearing him use his closetness as an excuse was breathtaking in 2010. Im sorry he finds being Gay such an terrible secret to keep! Grow up and live a normal gay life like most of us do with little or no hassle.

  22. We are told by this article he didn’t want to come becuase of his family and friends, yet there were “whispers” as early as 2006, whispers are NOT inaudible. Friends and family generally know that you are gay without having to impicilty tell them, especially at the ripe old age off 44 yrs old. The reason he did not come out was for policitcal reasons only I suspect, a attempt to lie to his consitutents in order to get more votes (whether that was necessary I probaby suspect it wasn’t). He is a hypocrite on several grounds, he said he was single , pretended he was straight yet he wasn’t. He stands for a gay friendly party, a party where the leader says that love is between man or woman or man and man etc, he was a hyprocite in that he didn’t practice what his party preached. He has acted without integrity in claiming false expenses, not delacring an interest in that fact that his partner was a political lobbyist and not declaring joint interests in the house of commons book of members interests. As the telegraph points out today “..The MP was also facing questions over whether he should have declared an interest when hosting an event in the Palace of Westminster for Edelman, a lobbying firm that employed Mr Lundie. The official list of functions sponsored by MPs shows that Mr Laws hosted a dinner for Edelman with 14 guests on Sept 7, 2004. ”

    Dear Mr PN – you probably should have outed him in 2006 when you heard those whispers and he probably wouldn’t be in this mess he is in now

  23. Totally with Patrick James on this one – the two things are seperate issues. He gets some sympathy for not finding the courage to out himself earlier, as many of us have been there. There are those of us who take our true identity to the grave and it’s a highly individual decision.
    We don’t all come from liberal backgrounds with easy-going parents and understanding workmates. So long as he’s not doing a George Rekers or a Ted Haggard I don’t have an issue with that.
    His expenses claim is another thing.
    If we attack Iris Robinson for giving taxpayer’s cash to her secret lover and then give David Laws a free pass for almost the same thing, that smacks of double standards. [OK granted there were some extra levels of religious hypocrisy in Iris's case but hypocrisy is not illegal in itself].
    If the law applies to Iris, it applies to all of us regardless of sexuality.
    The hypocrisy in this instance stems from sticking his nose in the trough while criticising others doing more or less the same thing, gayness and secret lovers are a distraction.

  24. I just don’t getw hy he claimed the money at all, as he seems to be extremely rich. I did read that, having initiated the claim, when the rules changed to say you couldn’t rent from partners, then he would have indirectly outed himself by cancelling his claim at that point.

    I still can’t see that he acted out of greed or to deceive. To me, he comes across as an intensely private man. There was an interesting interview on Radio 4 with Matthew Parris who said that he wholly sympathised with Laws for not coming out even when, to the casual observer, it seems such an easy thing to do in the 21st century. He pointed out that men of his age could easily have grown up hiding who they really were, putting on a false ‘I’m just a normal straight guy’ image, that when things changed and it became more acceptable to say you were gay, they simply couldn’t. They’d had this persona for so long that it was extremely difficult for them to suddenly turn round and tell their family and friends who they really were.

    Laws made a mistake, but he’s paid the money back and resigned. I hear he might even be leaving politics. I feel sorry for him mainly, not angry with him.

  25. It’s sad that a talented person has has to go so soon but I think it’s refreshing to finally get back to proper accountable politics. The fact he resigned 2 days after being caught out, then doing the decent thing of going speaks volumes.

    Had it been Labour before the election they would have kept going as if nothing happened hoping to keep their dirty claws into the job, only every going when finally they went over the top with their dirty dealings or the public noise got too much for them to keep getting away with it.

    Lets hope we are returning to proper politics, away for the socialist dictatorship of Blair, Brown and not forgetting Lady Mandy.

    As for David Laws, sexuality doesn’t matter nowadays but then no-one should feel pressured to ‘come-out’ if thats not what they what. They are perfectly entitled to that. He did a wrong thing but the action he took afterwards was right. Lets hope this man gets a second chance, if indeed he decides to remain in politics.

  26. Peter & Michael 31 May 2010, 1:58pm

    If David Laws has been a politician in the 1940’s and subsequent years , one could understand his reasoning. Many Gay people were imprisoned and homes raided, with contact details taken by the Police to further prosecute Gay friends etc. A friend of ours was sent to prison for eight years and he came out a broken man and died shortly after. But, times have changed, and no person has reason to hide their sexuality, of course it is up to the individual to decide, Unfortunately, David Laws broke the rules, and paid the price of losing his job. Any Gay couple living together whether they are in a Civil Partnership or not are classed as that, Living Together like a hetrosexual couple whom are not married. We do have better Equality, we have been able to take our place in society, we wish for Same-Sex Civil Marriage but no political party will endorse this in the UK. This will not happen for at least another ten or so years, not in our personal lifetimes.

  27. He had a catholic upbringing, I understand (or at least he went to Catholic school). Being taught to be self-hating by that evil cult may have something to do with it.

    Further, do not underestimate the homophobia of the South West (the region where Laws’ constituency is). At least in the 2005 election the Tory candidate for Falmouth had to put up with virulent abuse on the doorstep. They’re a bit backward down there.

    None of this, however, excuses claiming money to which he was not entitled, although I have genuine personal sympathy: who knows how a Catholic parent, steeped in that cult’s bigotry, will react to a gay son. And he is a son just as we all are.

  28. For David Laws to remain a closet case may be ‘understandable’ but it is still cowardly and contemptible.

    There was no risk to his career by being out (remember that he has had to resign because he’s a thief, not because he is gay).

    It is hardly surprising that he’s a thief either. David Laws is a man who has no problem misleading the public into thinking he is straight.

    Why therefore should we be surprised that he has so little respect for the public that he would steal from them.

    As for the comment that “it is an editorial policy to never out anyone unless they are hypocrites and campaign against LGBT rights while secretly engaging in an LGBT relationship” well this I find just laughable.

    Acknowledging the sexuality of someone is not an intrusion into someone’s private life any more than acknowledging that you are left handed.

    We live in Britain. We do not live in Uganda or Iran. Being gay is fully legal and unlike the Tory Party, Laws would have had absolutely no problem from homophobes within his own party.

    In Britain there is absolutely no reason for a politician (or ANY financially solvent, independent adult) to be in the closet other than self interest and greed.

    I wish the media (including Pink News) would stop engaging in homophobic double standards by allowing politicians to remain closeted.

    If it is acceptable to mention that Nick Cleggg or David Cameron is straight, then equally it is acceptable to mention that David Laws is gay – irrespective of whether he volunteers this information or not.

    David Laws is both a thief and a coward and he deserves our contempt.

    Closets are for cowards. Fair enough if you are a 16 year old living with a homophobic family, it would be wiser to remain closeted until you have more independence.

    David Laws had no excuse.

    He is a coward and a thief.

  29. No 18: Dax: you say: “The paper is disgusting for outing him. No one should be outed, and only come out when and if they are ready.”

    Bullsh!t.

    He wasn’t ‘outed’.

    He was stealing from taxpayers.

    It was in the public interest.

    He is a thief and a coward and had no excuse for being in the closet.

  30. Tony Robinson 31 May 2010, 2:25pm

    Laws’s defence seems to me to rest on his fear of suddenly stopping claiming expenses for living in Lundie’s flat. If someone can explain to me how suddenly NOT claiming expenses – after they had changed from landlord/tenant to a couple – would suddenly out them both to all their friends and family, then I will accept his claim.

    Otherwise, I’m afraid, this is pure smoke to cover the fact that he was too arrogant to stop claiming (believing he would never get caught bending the rules).

    For someone with a double first from Cambridge, I can’t believe how stupid he is. It’s not like he even needed to claim the money in the first place. So much for his sense of public duty!

    Many politicians have been talking about his integrity, sense of public duty and honesty. I’m afraid I don’t see it. And I think trying to cover it all by saying he was afraid of being outed doesn’t wash. This is 2010.

    As for Pink News, I think you’d be doing all closeted MPs, and the LGBT community at large, a great service if you just out them all now. Give them say, 3 months notice so that they can plan it all and do it all on their own terms.

    No more hiding in the closet for MPs!

  31. Patrick James 31 May 2010, 2:52pm

    Squidgy writes:

    It’s sad that a talented person has has to go so soon but I think it’s refreshing to finally get back to proper accountable politics. The fact he resigned 2 days after being caught out, then doing the decent thing of going speaks volumes.

    His sacking, for that’s what it was, had nothing to do with “proper accountable politics”.

    He was a most likely the first casualty of the very large right wing element in the Conservative party who bitterly resent presence of Lib Dems in the government.

    The offence of which David Laws was charged was historic. Why do you think the story did not come out about him before the election?

    The day that his replacement is announced a story appears about his expenses problems.

    Why did that story not appear months ago?

    The Telegraph is using this expenses thing highly politically. They wait until a Lib Dem appears for whom they have some material, then they release it.

    What you have seen with David Laws is round one of the really gross in-fighting that the Conservatives are so famous for.

    “Accountable” ha ha ha…

  32. So how many other closet case MP’s does Pink News know about?

    Well all remember before the election that the Tories were boasting about the fact that they had 20 gay candidates (but that 10 of them were cowardly closet cases).

    Which of those 10 closet cases were successful in getting elected and what are their names?

    Seeing as acknowledging one’s sexuality is no different from acknowledging that you are left handed, then there is absolutely no privacy issue with acknowledging their homosexuality.

    These people are elected, public representatives. If it is accepable to acknowledge an MP’s heterosexuality then it is acceptable to acknowledge their homosexuality.

    Closets are for cowards.

    Gay MP’s who are in the closet are dishonest and they are cowards, and they are not fit for public office unless they are willing to acknowledge their sexuality. After all if they are able to lie so easily about their sexuality they are able to lie about anything.

    I think Pink News should invite the closet case MP’s to come out voluntarily and give them a date by which they can do so.

    After that point then Pink News should stop lying on their behalf and they should feel no responsibility to continue lying for these contemptible cowards.

  33. Patrick James 31 May 2010, 3:31pm

    Squidgy writes:

    Lets hope we are returning to proper politics, away for the socialist dictatorship of Blair, Brown and not forgetting Lady Mandy.

    Squidgy doesn’t seem to comprehend that Cameron cannot keep ministers which do not get approval from his “supporters” in the press.

    Rupert Murdoch has a veto on the cabinet members. The Queen’s speech had to get Murdoch’s approval before it could go to the Queen. Murdoch was evengiven the speech to leak in the press prior to the Queen’s reading it!

    At the same time the government saw no requirement to provide a cabinet minister for Question Time in the week of the Queen’s speech. The questions of the electorate are not ones that the government sees any reason to address.

    In the case of David Laws Murdoch had given the thumbs up for him as a minister, because of course Laws was so dutiful in his adoption of Conservative party policies, but the Telegraph, which is a maverick on the right resents the Lib Dem presence and will let the guns blaze on them when it gets a chance.

    In this government you will see ministers that the press doesn’t like being sacked almost immediately because this government is entirely subject to the whims of Murdoch and the other right wing press upon which the government is dependent.

    As long as Cameron behaves himself and does exactly what Murdoch wants then he will get good press. Cameron does have a problem if maverick (non Murdoch) right wing press has a go at him, but he will just sack the relevant minister and get another one which hopefully will satisfy all the press barons.

  34. Accusing Laws of ‘theft’ as so many people seem to be doing is a bit odd when he could have avoided this charge simply by renting a more expensive property that wasn’t owned by his lover, & claiming for that quite legitimately. Claming rent (relatively modest rent, at that)is a quite different category of expense to duck houses & moat cleaning bills, & does not seem to me to infer the same levels of abuse. As taxpayer, on this occasion I prefer the ‘thief’ to the ‘honest’ man! Of much greater concern is the thought that this onslaught on Laws maybe be a manifestation of a determination of parts of the press to ensure the rapid failure of the Coalition, thereby giving ammunition to opponents of any more proportionate voting system in the forthcoming referendum..

  35. Deeside Will 31 May 2010, 6:10pm

    Further to my point earlier on here, given that this is 2010 and not 1960, David Laws really should have come out to his parents by his age. In that respect the Torygraph may have done him a service, although that wasn’t its motive and although it would have been much better if he’d done it himself.

    If you never come out to your parents, there’s likely to come a time when you wish that you had, and it’s too late: they’ve gone.

  36. Closet cases are the worst type of homophobe. They are the enemy within. They should be “outed” the same way straight people are (in other words, without making an issue of it). No fuss, no muss. Unless they remain in the closet and are then outed in sensationalistic circumstances (hello, George Michael et al) which is infinitely worse for them and everyone else concerned, including the entire gay population.

  37. I understand you are only allowed to rent out a room for approximately £5,000 a years without informing HMRC. Dirty little minx was sharing a room too. And Paddy Pantsdown has the cheek to call him ‘Mr Integrity’.

  38. I wonder, if he was straight and he had a female lover that he didn’t want anyone to know about because she was black or Jewish, I wonder how many of you would RIGHTFULLY be calling him a disgraceful coward instead of defending his “right to privacy” and sympathizing with him for “having” to lie about his partner and his relationship here in 2010.

  39. So, most of you think all the other members of the cabinet are nice kind people who wouldn’t do anything dishonest? OMG, yeah right. How unbelievably naive. If we sacked all cabinet members who were dishonest there wouldn’t be any left. The house of commons would be empty.

    The plotline of this epsiode in the condem soap opera is….let’s get rid of the GAY treasury MP who claimed 40,000 in rent, (like all the other MP’s do), but keep the STRAIGHT equalities minister who voted against all gay rights issues. Funny how the homophobic tory keeps her job and everyone has forgotten and forgiven her because she ‘changes her mind’. But this gay libdem, with his secret gay lover, well he just has to go, can’t forgive him, even if he pays it back. And most of you agree with it. What a homophobic joke some of you are. I thought I was bad.

    This is just a story to get rid of the only gay cabinet member. Wake up. He isn’t a thief, he’s just a liar, like all the other politicians.

    And all those who think he is a coward. Really? You try and get into politics and get elected as a gay man and do what he does and tell me he’s a coward.

  40. @27 Harry,

    You’ve turned a new leaf. Glad to hear it.

  41. Being gay isn’t the issue here – using money to pay a ‘spouse’ is the issue – it is clearly against the rules. HE seems to be the one covering it all up.

  42. Astonished at the number of people commenting who think outing people who’ve done them no harm [at least in terms of LGBT rights] is fair game. How would you feel about it if someone outed you five years before you were ready for it and left you to face the music?
    It’s everyone’s right to choose when they come out and the only worthy exception to the rule are those who preach homophobia to the masses in public and are gay in private. I don’t care what bloody year it is.
    Some gay people live in more homophobic environments than others, with more homophobic families, homophobic neighbours and homophobic work colleagues. You may call it cowardly, but if they’re not actually detracting from your rights what gives you the right to dictate when they’re mentally ready to get shoved out the closet?

  43. I find it absolutely disgusting that people feel innocent people should be ‘outed’. I mean fine if it’s people who are hypocrites but there are plenty of people who wish to keep their sexuality private. Why should sexuality define someone doing a job? Didn’t we fight to get that stopped? Someone’s sexuality surely doesn’t make them do a job any better, or worse.

    Sorry but to knowingly out someone not doing any harm is nasty. For all those who call for such to be ‘outed’ may I suggest you must be bitter people who know Nothing about respect!!

    It explains alot and Shame on you!!

  44. @flapjack

    coming out in your own time is one thing, but choosing to stand for high office is another.

    I see no reason why we gay people should not expect the highest standards of probity, integrity and courage from our gay leaders.

    We do not need our public role models to be transparently lying cowards.

    I wish Mr Laws the very best, but not as someone who wealds power over me.

    @squitty

    the guy took two days to resign. Why? Checking to see how the story ran, that’s why. A man of genuine integrity would have resigned straightaway, and declared his intention to stand down from the Commons too. Sorry Squiggy, it’s same old same old. Hang on in there for what one can get away with.

    @ Mr Laws himself. You stopped claiming in Oct 2009 during the height of the expenses scandal – fearing outing yourself didn’t seem to be your overriding concern then. After all it was easy to just rent somewhere else. So why was it not possible to do the same in 2006 when the rules changed? Other MPs have been castigated for expenses within the rules – you chose to make up the rules yourself

  45. @Squidge

    I agree with you Squidge that INNOCENT people should not be outed. The problem comes in deciding who is innocent. Mr Laws chose to pass money from the public purse to a lover (albeit for bed and board) in contradiction to the rules and in an underhand way. End of innocence, full stop. He had plenty of choices available to him, all of which would have kept his privacy intact – but this was the path he chose – his outing was a product of his actions, no one else’s.

    That said, every time a public role model is levered out of the closet, the public is left with the impression that they’ve been somehow ‘caught out’ – that homosexual orientation is something to be ashamed of. That is why we need every gay person in public life to be self-declared out and proud of it.

    The good part of this story is that all the bad has come from being dishonest and secretive – if only he’d been out it would have all been so good.

  46. Even if we are meant to believe that his sole reason for not coming out was becuase of his embarrassment , guilt, awkwadness of being gay in front of his family and friends, it doesn’t show much backbone for a person who was in charge of the UK’s finances. He certainly wasn’t backward when it came to his career. I do hate people and reporters that wish to continually protray British gays in 2010 as victims, the need to act as a “straight” or a straight acting gays in order to be succesful. It’s rather nauseating to portray some MPs that go with rent boys or are invited to VIP lounges ogling student boys as fair game or not very worthy and yet protraying yourself as a respectful straight MP as not fair game. Who set these moral standards within pinknews….

  47. Sister Mary Clarance 1 Jun 2010, 9:55am

    “However I think that this David Laws expenses scandal means that it would be very difficult for him to continue in his role.”

    “How is he going to be introducing cuts, which will be making people redundant, ruining their incomes, when he has been dipping into tax payer’s money himself in this way?”

    Comment by Patrick James — May 29, 2010 @ 11:56

    “David Laws was very hypocritical however. He was very ready to start cutting other people’s incomes whilst he, a millionaire, had been helping himself to a huge sum of taxpayer’s money.”

    Comment by Patrick James — May 30, 2010 @ 0:23

    If David Laws had stood for election on the policies he was so keen to implement, instead of standing for election on the opposite policies, then it it would be much more easy to be sympathetic for his case.

    I do believe that it is wrong for the press to out LGBT people against their will personally, but I think David Laws is a hypocrite on many fronts other than this LGBT issue.
    (Report comment)
    Comment by Patrick James — May 30, 2010 @ 20:13

    “He was a most likely the first casualty of the very large right wing element in the Conservative party who bitterly resent presence of Lib Dems in the government.
    The offence of which David Laws was charged was historic. Why do you think the story did not come out about him before the election?”

    Comment by Patrick James — May 31, 2010 @ 14:52

    So, just to summarise Patrick, you put the boot in for two days (May 29 and May 30), stating the difficulty in him continuing and giving your take on reason for it, calling him a hypocrite, helping himself to tax payers money and accuse him of double standards.

    You are a poster boy for Nu Labour, who I believe you maintain are not a right wing party (although ironically having introduced some of the most right wing policies and legislation we have seen in decades), and yet you hail his demised as being a result of the ‘very large right wing element’ in the Conservative Party.

    It seems very much to me as those the supporters of the now defunct Nu Labour Party have got the most to gain from the fall of Mr Laws, not the Conservatives or the Lib Dems. It also seems to me that the most vicious baying for his blood has come from those same quarters. How then you have managed to cook up the conspiracy theory you have is beyond me I’m afraid.

  48. Profiting from homophobia? Why are we supposed to feel sorry for David Laws? David and his partner made a £193,000 profit on a house whose mortgage was being subsidised by £40,000 of public money they had no right to claim. Some would call this stealing, I do. To pretend that this is really an issue of homophobia – wanting to keep the relationship secret, being a very private person etc – is a complete smokescreen. If David wanted to keep his gay relationship secret then keep it secret. The real political issue here is that an elected representative and Government minister has committed fraud on the taxpayer.

  49. David and his partner made a £193,000 profit on a house whose mortgage was being subsidised by £40,000 of public money they had no right to claim. Some would call this stealing, I do. To pretend that this is really an issue of homophobia – wanting to keep the relationship secret, being a very private person etc – is a complete smokescreen. If David wanted to keep his gay relationship secret then keep it secret. The real political issue here is that an elected representative and Government minister has committed fraud on the taxpayer.

  50. dave I agree and you get more lgbt people in the jobs he was going to cut and how many millions did he give to lgbt charities. the guy isn’t nice

  51. George Broadhead, PTT 1 Jun 2010, 12:23pm

    Neither Benjamin Cohen nor (as far as I can tell) anyone who has commented on his article, mentions the crucial facts in this sad case:

    1. Davis Laws is a Roman Catholic.
    2. He was educated at a Catholic school.
    3. He was terrified of his Catholic parents finding out that he was gay.

  52. Peter & Michael, No. 26…. “We do have better Equality, we have been able to take our place in society, we wish for Same-Sex Civil Marriage but no political party will endorse this in the UK. This will not happen for at least another ten or so years, not in our personal lifetimes”

    Unless of course, half or more of the EU countries legalise it and that could compel the EU to reverse its policy of non-interference in marriage laws of member states. Its going to come whether the Tories, Labour, Lib Dems, StonewallUK and gay anti-marriage proponents like it or not. Just as with openly gay men and women serving in the military, our Government will be forced to legalise same-sex civil marriage. We do NOTHING that progressive or radical voluntarily. We’ll be among the last though as always.

  53. Stephen Glenn 1 Jun 2010, 1:46pm

    As Patrick James says @7

    Perhaps the reason so many Lib Dems are not ‘out’ is the knowledge of how vigorously Labour and the Tories will play the homophobia card on the doorstep to defeat them?

    As an out Lib Dem candidate in the rencent election I know of one incident on the doorstep that this was used against me. In the heat of the battle sometimes the other parties think if they are losing the battle that that little truth can be used against someone.

    It is hurtful when someone tells you that is still going on in this day and age. Sadly it does, but thankfully on that occasion it had the opposite effect to that intended. Some of the tabloid and indeed the Telegraph comments on it since show how backwards our MSM is in dealing with the reality of different sexuality.

    I may well end up getting branded ‘gay candidate’ in news reports. But I’m not a gay politician, I’m a politician who happens to be gay, I’m not a single issue campaigner. Until some of the 4th estate respect that there will remain a fear amongst many still to be totally clear about things.

  54. So I guess no one who is calling him a “victim” of outing (even though his illegal behaviour, not his homosexuality, was the ONLY thing reported on) is will to answer my question.

    I’ll ask it again.

    If he were straight and he was keeping his FEMALE lover a secret because he was ashamed and embarrassed because she was black or Jewish, how many of you would be defending him as a victim rather than calling him out as a shameful coward?

    And a second question. How do you people who claim he was “outed” prefer that the publication handle his illegal activity? They NEVER reported on his sexuality. They NEVER even reported on the gender of his lover. THOSE ARE THE FACTS. They simply reported on the illegal activity just as they have of countless Labor MPs over the last year, AT THE URGENT OF THE LIB DEMS by the way. Are you people actually claiming that gay MPs should receive special treatment and not have their illegal activities exposed if it in any way might shine a light into their closets?

    Somebody PLEASE explain to me how it’s NOT homophobic to act as if gay people in positions of POWER, and who are making the laws that WE have to live by, are too weak and too vulnerable to be expected to follow the laws that THEY make.

    I find it VERY offensive that some of you seem to be making the case that gay people/politicians/celebrities should be treated differently than and deferentially to straight ones. That when a publication or tabloid normally reports when a straight politician or celebrity cheats on his wife with a woman should NOT report when a married man cheats on his wife with a man. That when a politician is wrapped up in the ONGOING AND PROLIFIC financial scandal that’s been roiling England for a YEAR now he should be treated differently from the MANY straight politicians who have be exposed illegally funneling money to their female girlfriends/wives/lovers if his illegal activity involves a lover of the same sex. He should receive special, preferential treatment. Is that what you all are saying. How is that possibly NOT absolutely contrary to EVERYTHING that we have been fighting AGAINST for the last 50 years? How does that NOT send the message to straight people that what we want is not EQUAL rights, benefits and responsibilities but SPECIAL rights, benefits and responsibilities.

    No wonder so many of you support separate civil institutions for gay people/couples. You don’t REALLY believe that we should treated exactly like straight people. You really do believe that we should have a different set of rules; apparently in all aspects of life.

    I want us to be treated EQUALLY, even when that means that we will pay the same consequences as straight people for our bad decisions and bad behaviour.

  55. More proof that the Lib Dems are not the most gay friendly of parties.

    It’s Labour – they made the difference to people’s lives; they repealed every law that discriminated against use; they gave us equality.

    The Lib Dems record of action is awful, and just how uncomfortable their gay MPs feel about coming out has once again been shown.

  56. This is a very sad story, and I feel the Government and the country has lost a very talented Minister, but it still boils down to the fact that he took taxpayers money when 1) he is a multimillionaire, 2) he seems to have said he was living in another property when he was living with his lover and claimed based on telling lies, 3) he lied abouta spare room, 4) his lover made a lot of capital gain on a property subsidised for 6 years by the taxpayer, and 5) they were both earning very decent salaries, and I wonder why those with joint incomes over £100,000 should think they can fleece the taxpayer.

    I used to live in tha same block as these boys, can’t believe they never asked me round

  57. Zeke, No. 55, well said!

    MCC, No. 56, actually Labour did not give us equality. As far as civil partnerships go (those are not NOT about full equality), that was decided by the EU. Blair had to comply and NEVER voluntarily introduced them. He in collusion with StonewallUK decided to forgo civil marriage so as not to upset the state cult, among others, a feeble yet transparent excuse at best and nothing more than a canard to avoid doing the right thing. I will concede civil partnerships are better than nothing, but they are definitely not about full equality. I don’t want to be treated differently, receive special rights which these are not or accept legal segregation, which is what these partnerships do. If they were recognised as legal marriages, I wouldn’t have a problem with them, but they’re not. Labour has NOT repealed every discriminatory law against us, the Tories certainly won’t and the Liberal Dems are not going to pursue it in spite of Clegg’s support of civil marriage equality. We are still BANNED from marrying, so in essence, we most certainly do NOT have full equality or ever likely to.

  58. If everything can be so open and public now, why talk about “Mark Oaten … knowing a rent boy had engaged in un-publishable sexual acts with him”?

    Why on earth should sex acts be un-publishable?

  59. Lesley Hedges 2 Jun 2010, 1:12pm

    I don’t understand the references to his age. He was born in the 60s not the 30s. I’ve been out since he was 11. (I’ve heard reference to him being unable to come out on the radio and someone’s commented on it here.)But being out is a different issue from expenses. He fiddled expenses. He has been part of a coalition government which is instigating huge public spending cuts. He cannot be trusted to be in charge of the treasury – that’s our money and he cheated us out of £40,000 that he didn’t even need. I hope lots more LGBTI people get elected at all levels of government but it’s more help to us if they are out and more help to young people who are far more vulnerable than he was by being outed at his age and in his position. But I hope they will also be better role models than he has been.

  60. A very interesting article. I think though we need to spare a thought for all those single people who come out or who are outed. Not only do they lack the love and support of a partner, but they also know their loved ones will worry about them being lonely, and we know that some relatives will worry about sexually transmitted diseases, even though you’re probably just as likely to contract them if you are straight.

    They’ll probably also be more questions about your sex life and “how do you know you are gay” etc if you don’t have a partner to ‘show for it’, as it were.

  61. So here we are over half a year later and he is still an M.P. No evidence how his constituency was asked whether they still had confidence in him.
    There is no doubt that he was the coalition’s most enthusiastic partner, relishing in his key role as the axe-man. His successor is a pale imitation.
    The issue of course is nothing to do with whether he is gay nor whether he concealed this. He is entitled to his privacy.
    But the charges he should answer include (a) his hosting of a House of Commons reception for Edelman without declaring that Lundie, his partner, worked for them; (b) his claiming off the taxpayer rent that, if he paid it at all, was paid to his partner contrary to the 2006 rules and in ethical terms not appropriate to claim even before then.
    The duck island claimed by Sir Peter Viggars was outrageous – and he should have resigned as an MP for that never mind not seeking re-election – but did not cost anything like £40,000 as this caper by Laws may have done. Laws decision to start claiming in 2004 was his decision and his alone. Nobody would have queried it if he had not so claimed.
    And how does manage to claim that “James Lundie and I were aware that we could have been far better off financially if I had been willing to be open about our relationship – but I was not” This takes some explaining.

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