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David Laws: ‘It was too hard to tell the truth about being gay’

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  1. Mihangel apYrs 1 Jun 2010, 4:07pm

    he was born in 1966, a year before the decriminalisation of male homosexuality. He was entering puberty in the 1980s, maybe not a truly liberal age, but one where society was changing for the better, and anti-gay views were diminishing. I know, I lived through them in my twenties and know that society changed appreciably.

    In all honesty, I think he protests too much: it was easier to pass all the way to last week and let others do the pushing.

    Bad form

  2. Kris Jones 1 Jun 2010, 4:09pm

    I’m not sure what David Laws means by saying, “I grew up at a time when homosexuality had only just been legalised and when most people still thought it was wrong or shameful.” He was born in 1965 and homosexuality was decriminalised in 1967.

  3. He took £40,000, could have been a lot more if he was playing the system. And he has got £6BILLION out of Labours appalling deficit. What a criminal? Infact he was allowed to claim expenses, abut the way he did it he saved us money… disgusting isn’t it.?.?. THINK PEOPLE!
    He comes from a strict catholic family… The Catholic church is STILL isn’t exactly gay friendly, just look at whats been in the news recently. So yes, he probably did not come out because his family were catholic.
    I think its dreadful people are criticising him for not coming out.

  4. Decriminalisation of Homosexuality did not end homophobia, discrimination and prejudice. Nor was the effect uniform across the UK (even the implementation of the law wasn’t). There are still many closeted people who all have their right to privacy.

    I am only 3 years older than him but homosexuality wasn’t decriminalised here till 1982, when I was 20.

    I well recognise the story David Laws tells and the feelings he expresses. I also recognise the lengths that you can go to to hide such a thing, even to the extent of denying it to yourself.

    One thing to remember is that the rules changed while he was already in the relationship and quite properly claiming expenses for rent. The rules changed and he would have had to come out to explain why he suddenly stopped claiming rent but continued to live in the flat. I imagine he probably justified it to himself in the way he has intimated. I am not justifying it just trying to understand.

    I would want to leave it up to the officials to look into this, see if there is any case to answer and I am sure he will take whatever official consequences there might be.

    As a person, I hope he will now have all the time to enjoy his relationship and the fun of sharing that relationship with friends and family. With a fair wind he will be a much happier and fulfilled individual, and with a lot less to fear.

  5. I agree completely with Dax, maybe some people found coming out relatively easy at the same time as David Laws was growing up, but he comes from a Catholic family and he lived in completely different places and circumstances from you. Sounds like you should count yourselves lucky for having it quite easy, rather than laying into someone who may not have!

    The whole “it was decriminalised in 1967″ thing is a non-argument as well. It wasn’t decriminalised in Scotland until 1981, Section 28 outlawing “the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship” came about in 1988, the age of consent wasn’t equalised until 2000 and in the 1994 debate about it MPs like Mr. Bill Walker for North Tayside were still saying: “On the issue of equality before the law, does the hon. Lady realise that it is neither natural nor normal to carry out homosexual activity? That is why there has to be protection for young boys. It is a different matter if they participate in that which is normal and natural, but if they are guided into activities that are neither normal nor natural, protection is required.”

    Evidently some people were living in a paradise of homophilic bliss all that time!

    Now, I don’t know for sure if he’s telling the truth about this, but seeing as I know a Catholic my own age (20) who is too afraid to tell his parents that he’s gay in this day and age (and in fact seems fixed on the idea that he could marry a girl one day) I think I’m willing to give Mr Laws the benefit of the doubt!

  6. ” he was born in 1966, a year before the decriminalisation of male homosexuality. He was entering puberty in the 1980s, maybe not a truly liberal age, but one where society was changing for the better, and anti-gay views were diminishing. I know, I lived through them in my twenties and know that society changed appreciably.

    In all honesty, I think he protests too much: it was easier to pass all the way to last week and let others do the pushing. Bad form. ”

    Comment by Mihangel apYrs — June 1, 2010 @ 16:07

    I am in total agreement with Mihangel. I think his excuse is as shameful as him not coming out. I came out in 1967 with no problem whatsoever. By the time he was 25, the world was a very different place from when I chucked the closet open. Sorry, he’s a coward and a cheat and no example to people who walked the streets in the Seventies for liberation. I pity the partner.

  7. Total copout. Myself and my partner are within a couple of years age of Mr Laws. One catholic, one protestant. We both came out by the time we were 18 (in Scotland). Im not saying it was easy but hardly a cause for villagers with burning torches! Its a fact: If every gay man and woman came out now the world would be a damn sight more tolerant. Maybe we have been lucky having had next to no problems with homophobia through our lives but I dont think so. He is a coward and using his closetness as an excuse for fraud is pathetic.

  8. What a drama queen. As if anyone cares. Quite attractive but not Tom Cruise. Get a grip, dear.

  9. Jean-Paul 1 Jun 2010, 5:23pm

    “There are many people with far greater problems than I have and they are entitled to expect me to get on with the job which I am paid to do.”

    I like his attitude.

  10. I hope others learn a lesson from this (former) closet case. He deserves all the trouble he gets for not being open.

  11. Patrick James 1 Jun 2010, 8:53pm

    I do believe that people should not be outed by the press unless it is absolutely necessary.

    However I am now truly sick of David Laws.

    It is my belief that David Laws is using his “coming out drama” as a way to excuse the £40,000 of tax payers money he pocketed.

    David Laws himself pursued MPs with expenses issues in the last parliament.

    There is nothing different about David Laws fiddling of expenses and that of the other MPs with expenses issues.

    David Laws stood for election on an economic manifesto which was the reverse of that which he was putting into practice with such enthusiasm.

    In David Laws constituency there was a Labour candidate who stood with a similar economic manifesto to that of David Laws however that candidate had every intention of proceeding with those policies in government.

    It is absolutely obvious now that David Laws stood on an election manifesto which was absolutely the reverse of his beliefs and intended objectives.

    The Murdoch press is telling us that David Laws is a “talented man who made a mistake” but David Laws only had a couple of weeks in his role. His “talent” was for completely abandoning the policies his constituents had voted for and adopting the Conservatives, opposing policies, with absolute relish.

    So, if we drop the “gay coming out story” from the David Laws tale we can see that this is a very hypocritical individual indeed.

    I would not trust a word he says.

    Do you really think he was going to resign as MP, or do you think he was just playing his constituency party for maximum sympathy?

    I know what I think :)

  12. Patrick James 1 Jun 2010, 9:12pm

    I think this related story in the Guardian is interesting:

    Sun criticised over ‘gay cabinet ministers’ poll

    It looks like with Conservatives in power the Murdoch press is getting back into 80’s 90’s stylee with brazen homophobia.

    Apparently in the Daily Mail Richard Littlejohn has a column for which the first line is:

    “To be honest, I’ve always considered all Liberal MPs to be homosexuals unless furnished with concrete proof to the contrary”

    I remember very well the 1998 story in the Sun claiming that Britain was being run by a “gay mafia” in the Labour government.

    We can be absolutely certain that even the Sun won’t be able to claim Britain is being run by a “gay mafia” in 2010!

  13. Sister Mary Clarance 1 Jun 2010, 10:16pm

    Patrick, can you have the decency to claim a prejudicial interest in this story – that being that you are eaten up with bitterness that Labour lost the General Election.

    Let’s face it we’ve got 6 billion quid less to pay back than we had this time last month and to those of us who actually have to contribute to paying it back its good news.

    Things are going to get harder before they get easier because of the cock up your chums made of the country. No doubt you’ll be yacking on every time a difficult choice has to be made, but lets face it, those choices are all the more difficult because of people like you supporting a government that couldn’t run a bath let alone a country.

  14. He said in a statement he had paid a “high price” for his secrecy but found it too hard to come out.

    Surely the £140,000.00 he has claimed in expenses alone over the last ten years must be some consolation at least.

    Greedy little tyke.

  15. Patrick – what planet are you on?! Britain in 2010 is very much run by a great number of out and proud gay councillors of all parties (though the greatest number in the authorities I’ve worked for have been gay Conservatives), Chief and Senior officers in local government, the civil service, the health service, banking, retail and the media – this country would grind to a halt without dedicated and professional gay staff and elected members at the highest level. I just do not understand why some gay people pretend we are down-trodden victims of some imaginary mass-persecution.

    Of course homophobia exists in this nation and much more needs to be done to combat it especially in schools but lets drop this pitiful and disingenuous charade that the world and establishment are against us.

  16. I’m disgusted at some of the comments on here insulting Laws for not having come out sooner. Have you people entirely forgotten what it was like to be in the closet and to come out? Maybe for the last few years you’ve settled down and only socialised with and encountered people in your LGBT-friendly circle, but there is still homophobia everywhere in Britain – and you think things suddenly changed when the law did? There are kids today who are scared of telling their parents, and kids who still get chucked out on the street for doing so. Just because you took that leap and were lucky, don’t deride those who don’t have as much self-confidence, faith in their family or reckless abandon as you do.

    Laws was perfectly entitled to keep his personal life secret, and now he has come out he will have to deal with the consequences of his expenses claims and press fallout – but hopefully he will end up in the position that many of us are enviably in, that of being able to openly speak about his sexuality and live a free life.

  17. Patrick James 2 Jun 2010, 12:04am

    Sister Mary Clarence writes:

    Patrick, can you have the decency to claim a prejudicial interest in this story – that being that you are eaten up with bitterness that Labour lost the General Election.

    Well I am certainly sad that Labour did not win the election.

    But it is the Conservatives who are bitter they didn’t win the election :)

    Let’s face it we’ve got 6 billion quid less to pay back than we had this time last month and to those of us who actually have to contribute to paying it back its good news.

    This “6 billion quid” not having to be paid back is due to the Labour government having dealt with the financial crisis even better than it thought it had.

    Things are going to get harder before they get easier because of the cock up your chums made of the country.

    Do you remember the global financial crisis?

    Do you remember how the banks collapsed and had to be refinanced?

    No doubt you’ll be yacking on every time a difficult choice has to be made, but lets face it, those choices are all the more difficult because of people like you supporting a government that couldn’t run a bath let alone a country.

    Labour got all the calls on the global financial crises absolutely right.

    Because of Labour vast numbers of people are still in work now that otherwise would not have been.

    During the financial crisis the Conservatives got every call wrong.

    The Conservatives, for example, would not have nationalised Northern Rock, at the time they criticised Labour’s move. This is now seen as a very good move indeed including the Conservatives who have (very) quietly retracted their criticism.

    If Labour had not stepped in and refinanced the banks then the economic collapse would have been very much worse than it was.

    Of course Sister Mary clarence does not understand this, but most of the population of the UK does.

    That’s why the Conservatives didn’t win the election :)

  18. Patrick James 2 Jun 2010, 12:08am

    Thomas writes:

    Patrick – what planet are you on?! Britain in 2010 is very much run by a great number of out and proud gay councillors of all parties

    But none in the Cabinet. It was the cabinet that the infamous 1998 Sun “Gay Mafia” article referred to.

    The Sun could hardly claim there is a “Gay Mafia” there today, could they?

  19. I’m surprised at the many gay people who have acted so negatively to Laws. Maybe you found it easy to come out, but I’m sure you know of someone for whom it was quite difficult. It’s not so much about society, or the number of gay ministers, but that none of us can appreciate what it was like growing up in the Laws household. Should he have taken responsibility and talked to his parents before now? Probably. But don’t condemn or dismiss him for it.

    And I don’t know why there has to be a continuous reminder of this, but he could have claimed more had he been open about their relationship, through mortgage interest relief.

    I’m from Ireland, so I have no partisan loyalties in this question, just a measure of sympathy at a human level for Laws.

  20. “There are kids today who are scared of telling their parents, and kids who still get chucked out on the street for doing so. Just because you took that leap and were lucky, don’t deride those who don’t have as much self-confidence, faith in their family or reckless abandon as you do.’ – Greg

    We are not discussing homophobia in Britain today Greg, we are discussing Laws internalised homophobia brought on by himself, with plenty of opportunity, as others have, to be honest to people around him including voters. Others have done it with ease. He has plenty of self confidence to become a successful banker, a millionaire and a cheat, why not confidence in being authentic?

    Yes, there is still plenty of work to do around homophobia in society, but what example to the frightened bullied kids is an MP who lies to cover up his own sexuality shame. Then he demands respect.

  21. Laws didn’t have internalised homophobia, he just didn’t want to have his sexuality made public, that is his right. I am not aware of him voting against gay people or any other kind of homophobia. You can demand that people follow your rules of nailing everything to a flagpole but we live in a society which still allows us privacy.

    Why exactly should we all live by your rules ??

  22. Sister Mary Clarance 2 Jun 2010, 4:59am

    Do you remember the global financial crisis?

    Yes Patrick, very well. I believe it was in no small part due to the failure of governments to regulate the financial sector. Checking my diary, I’ve definitely got Labour down as the government of the day at the time.

    Its all very well to say that its not Labour’s faulty because it happened everywhere but had the British government introduced tighter regulation, firstly it would have likely considerably reduced tax income and secondly it probably would have engendered changes in regulation around the globe.

    Laws was wrong undoubtedly, but the real criminals seem to have got away scot free.

  23. For me the coming out thing and the money thing are seperate issues. Laws was a guy of independent means and secret lover or not, he had the fiscal stability not to rely on taxpayer cash to suppliment his income.
    If he hadn’t wanted to out himself, he could have simply coughed up for his boyfriend’s expenses himself. It’s not a valid excuse for sticking your nose in the trough if you’re perfectly well off regardless.
    However, being brought up Catholic in Yeovil (I have relatives close to Yeovil, so I know) is not an easy environment to out yourself. Some people have the confidence to do it at 14, others take their gayness to the grave. As someone who waited till I was 29 to come out to my parents I totally relate to that. If you’re already confident enough that you don’t care what response you get from your family and work colleagues you can come out anytime, but some people find it tougher going than others.
    Throw religion and living in a parochial one-horse town into the mix and you’ve got a pretty heavy cocktail of pressure to conform to overcome.

  24. He was born 2 yrs before homosexuality was legalised and the bill to legalise it was put forward by David Steele , a liberal. Clegg and the lib dems are supposed to be all for same sex couples and have hinted at gay marriage, he’s rulucatance to come out is astonishing considering he is in the lib dem party. When he says he probaby should have corected things in 2006 , I think he probably should have left out the probably part.

  25. I was born into a traditional and religious small town family in 1958 and I don’t remember the country David desribes; I never had any problem being honest with myself, family and friend colleagues, society etc and never had any problems being out in a very old fashioned career (soem of the time in Yeovil!).

    David put himself forward as one of the leaders of liberal society. It is very disappointing that he still insists on spinning the line of gays as victims and expressing feelings of shame.

    He was apparently the chief strategist for the lib dems. One might read into that that denying ones sexuality was a LibDem strategy rather than a personal failing. Was he encouraged to do so by other senior Liberals? The party needs to take a hard look at its strategy.

  26. I respect what David Laws is saying. For some it is easy to ‘come out’ for others very difficult but don’t blame David Laws… Blame religion, blame society for making people doubt themselves. Blame the self-righteous people who always feel they know best and will do anything to put others down.

  27. “It was too hard to tell the truth about being gay” – equally it was probably to hard tell the truth about the expense claims prior to a general election. Do the people of Yeovil really have much choice, would they really have voted for him if this saga had come out prior to the election. His conservative neighbour in Wells lost on an even less expense saga after being there for more than 20 yrs. What is lib dems political strategy if you are a gay MP? I was born 2 years before this guy, by the time I was at uni and at work , being homosexual WAS NOT A PROBLEM…Whatever happenned to the sob story about coming out to his parents, we seem to be back to the story that in his day and age homosexuality was thought harmful and shameful ….By the way flapjack I’m from Glastonbury and Yeovil is considered the big city… How patronising to the people of Yoevil…

  28. ‘Blame religionm blame society//’ Blame anything. These things will always be with us. Its just excuses. You cannot force the approval of anybody, not to talk of everybody. he did not come out, yet was happily enriching his partner at public expense. Indeed! Now the story is all about (not) coming out, not about passing 40 grand to his young lover. I think he is just deflectign the attention from the real issue.

  29. No-one should accept his expenses claim but I just think some should step back and realise that for some ‘coming out’ is not easy. Just because for some it is but for some, and I know for a fact in the South West, it can be a ‘life-threatening’ experience.

    People should think before they preach all should be out and proud and consider those where coming that live in areas where coming out is just not an option without serious consequences. Sadly in Britain this still does exsist and yes it Is because of religion and their vile hatred.

    A society fair for all we certainly still Ain’t!!

  30. No sympathy at all.

  31. the guy is pathetic leople in less fortunate circumstannces have come out he a snivelling little prick who happy to put 10’s of thousands on the dole and maybe make them homeless too from the safety of his cash filled closet he is an embarrasment a money grabbing embarrasment.

  32. George Broadhead, PTT 2 Jun 2010, 11:24am

    “I respect what David Laws is saying. For some it is easy to ‘come out’ for others very difficult but don’t blame David Laws… Blame religion, blame society for making people doubt themselves. Blame the self-righteous people who always feel they know best and will do anything to put others down.”

    Quite right, and don’t forget that Laws himself has admitted that he was terrified of his Catholic parents’ reaction to his coming out as gay.

  33. Wow – what a contemptible little wimp David Laws is.

    When you look at those 2 gay men jailed in Malawi you see real bravery.

    David Laws is a thief.

    And he is now playing the self-pitying ‘Poor little me, burdended with the horrible affliction of homosexuality.’

    He should resign immediately as an MP.

    if he is so spineless and dishonest then he is clearly not fit for public office.

    He had NO excuse for being in the closet. He is 44, indepedenently wealthy, in a gay friendly party, in a gay friendly country.

    It was cowardice and greed that kept him in the closet. No other reason.

    Contemptible little coward.

    It is impossible for me to have ANY respect for a closet case in his position. There is absolutely no justification for it.

    If Pink News knows the names of closet case politicians then they should name them.

  34. George his parents were hardly going thow him out or arrange for the community to attack him the guy is a p*ssy who needs a good slap

  35. No 32: George: you say: “Quite right, and don’t forget that Laws himself has admitted that he was terrified of his Catholic parents’ reaction to his coming out as gay. ”

    Laws needs to build a bridge and get over it. His is no excuse for his cowardice.

    He is 44 and independently wealthy AND he is an elected public servant.

    It makes him look like an utter fool and a ridiculous wimp.

    He had no valid reason for remaining closeted.

    he is simply a dishonest coward who is not fit for public office because he is so dishonest and cowardly.

  36. Sister Mary Clarance 2 Jun 2010, 12:52pm

    Oooh blimey the milk of human kindness runneth over in here today.

  37. Chameleon 2 Jun 2010, 1:15pm

    Ugh – the more comments I read in this thread, the more my sympathy for David Laws grows.

    What is that you don’t understand about ‘he didn’t steal’. As an MP he was entitled to be reimbursed for the cost of running two homes. Hundreds of MP’s are legitimately claiming for the expense of a second home shared with a declared partner. David Laws jsut went about it the wrong way and, rightly or wrongly, he says that was because he wanted to keep his sexuality secret.

    I expect we all wish he could have found the will to be more candid. But he’s human. When he came to maturity in the 1980s, Mrs T was in power. Remember her? Y’know, the author of section 28, that bit of leigslation that was still in place only 10 years ago.

    For those of you of the ‘I came out in a pit village in 1896 and never had a problem’ school – good. I’m pleased for you. But to suggest that your personal experience is a universal experience is palpable nonsense, and an insult to all those gay men and women who have suffered for their sexuality, and continue to do so. Reading some of the posts here you’d think being gay has been a bed of roses for the last three decades. Well, it hasn’t.

    David Laws constructed a version of himself twently years ago, and has been trying to keep the illusion in tact ever since. Now the edifice has tumbled, and I expect he wishes he’d had the courage to do things differenly. But a lack of courage is not equivalet to being wicked – it’s just human. Of course he did wrong, there’s no argument there, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve some compassion. I’m surprised that quality is in such short supply here.

    Those of you that complain about him being independently wealthy – you’re jealous. Get over it. It’s irrelevant. He’s entitled to be reimbursed for the job he does, just like everyone else. I don’t gather that there are any plans for the means testing of MP’s reimbursement.

  38. I grew up in a society where homosexuality was illegal.

    I came out. I faced far more dire consequences than this moronic, dishonest coward Laws did.

    Laws had NO excuse for being closeted other than cowardice and self interest.

    For that reason he is not fit for public office.

  39. At the time laws was earning his millions Albert Kennedy was chased to his death. Laws and his cash could have done some good but he dosent care about anyone but himself. Well he was a banker. Why should we pity his just cause hes gay I really dont get it. He’s not a nice man being gsy dosent let him off the hook. And chamelion putting thousands of people into financial insecurity while you are very rich is a very wicked thing to do

  40. The people of Yoevil are stuck with a liar, if you had been found out to be diddling the expense priors to the election they wouldn’t have voted for him. Please look at his comments after initially been cleared of expense fraud. The guy is a con artist. Coming out is an issue to some but to blame what he did on this or any other reason is crap…

  41. pete the meat 2 Jun 2010, 3:58pm

    Lying, swindling bitch.

  42. “Laws had NO excuse for being closeted other than cowardice and self interest”

    He also had personal choice, and no matter how much you scream, peoples personal decisions are their own and should be respected.

    Not everyone is as bull headed and secure as you. This is evidenced buy the unacceptably high number of teen suicides due to unresolved sexuality issues in this utopia of acceptance you seem to live in.

    I too grew up in a country where homosexuality was illegal and I wouldn’t have come out for anything. We are not all the same.

  43. SteveDenver 2 Jun 2010, 9:12pm

    I am always heartbroken for adults who have to hide because they’re too scared or ashamed to come out. Now that he’s out, I hope his life is happier and freer, and that great opportunities come his way. I am from a Catholic family and I gently confronted my parents after several years of rude treatment, “You can either have a gay son or no son at all, but I’m grown and respectable.” They chose me.

  44. Many people are defending his right to stay in the closet. But look at the circumstances that he was forced to come out under. It’s far worse for him and for the “gay community” that he’s perceived as representing than if he had just been casually open all along.

  45. Jean-Paul 3 Jun 2010, 4:56am

    @37 Chameleon:

    Good grief, there is a lot of negativity on this thread.

    I’ve read and re-re-read his statements on the threes stories in PN, and frankly I’m inclined to believe David Laws when he said he never intended to play the system for his financial gain.

    There’s no harm in letting off steam – it is really annoying to see the lid blown right off his case – but his constituents want him to stay. There must be a real good reason for that.

    Laws said there are people in Britain with bigger problems than he has; he has been there to serve, and he will continue to do so, hopefully as a proud gay man.

    No two paths are the same.

  46. Caught CK’s down and hand in the till…
    This man ( i use that term VERY loosely ) has enough wealth, not to claim living expenses, If he really wanted to keep his PRIVATE life PRIVATE, why claim the money ?.
    Im not interested in his sexuality, BUT, what I am interested in is the fact that he thinks he can excuse his actions due to his sexuality. I find this kind of behaviour insulting and it is a huge insult to everyone who is gay lesbian trans and the like.
    Take the GAY bit out of the head line and you will see the truth …
    Yet another MP thinking he can manipulate a situation for financial gain
    It saddens me to think he will be back, when all the dust settles and the ink has faded on the cheque that he uses to pay the money he has claimed for .
    He does not deserve the term “The right honourable” but then again how many of them in the nest of vipers do ?

  47. jean Paul. “I’m inclined to believe David Laws when he said he never intended to play the system for his financial gain”. he did not need to claim a penny he’s loaded and obviously a greedy criminal. save your pity for those people in jail for not paying their frigging tv licence or the elderly people who freeze to death because the privatised fuel companies charge what they like. seriously the guy is contemptable you’re blinded to the truth because he’s gay.

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