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Comment: What exactly is the coalition government’s stance on gay marriage?

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  1. Ultimately the aim should be for full marriage reform. The Government needs to get it’s nose out of partnership contracts. However right now we need full marriage equality. Those who enjoy our “special” status and want nothing more than civil partnerships are either unaware, or worse don’t care, about the discrimination that still exists against transgendered people in marriage/civil partnership law. Until both institutions are opened up to all, regardless of gender, we will not be equal citizens in this country. Civil partnerships, as they stand, are special rights not equal rights.

  2. Dean_Buchanan 7 Jul 2010, 5:17pm

    The government don’t give a f**k and neither do I. Just a pointless charade to prove we can have the same ‘yumin’ rights as the breeders.

  3. Deeside Will 7 Jul 2010, 5:43pm

    I agree with Dean_Buchanan, and I don’t care who picks up stones to throw at me on that account. Our relationships ARE different from theirs – theirs are mixed sex; ours are same sex – so why shouldn’t they be called something different? To argue, as some people, do that this implies “second class status” is simply begging the question (in the original sense of that term).

  4. Dean you may be too ugly, self obsessed or immature to find someone to build a life with but many hundreds of thousands of gay people do and have. We should have the same rights as heterosexuals to get married even if some of us choose not to.

  5. Deeside Will 7 Jul 2010, 5:50pm

    I’d also like to add that, if you’re fortunate enough to be in a civil partnership, it’s a very handy way of indicating that you’re gay with a minimum of fuss. To the question, “Are you married?” you can reply, “No, I’m in a civil partnership.” (And if you don’t like it, you can f–k off.)

  6. Erm.. I don’t understand what your problems are. What does it matters to those who don’t care?

    Marriage won’t be forced upon you. You have a free choice not to get married. All those of us who support the right want is the free choice to choose it. What’s so wrong with that?

    This whole “I want all LGBT people to be like me” is very much in the same vein as the concept of marriage being a heteronormative construct. Both are equally ridiculous positions.

  7. Peter & Michael 7 Jul 2010, 6:35pm

    One does not have to have a religious marriage, after all civil marriage should be available to every couple whom wishes to commit themselves to each other whether gay/straight or martian, and should be recognised as such.

  8. Peter Leeson 7 Jul 2010, 6:36pm

    The difference is not negligible. There is a very big difference in the fact that no country outside the UK recognises a “civil partnership”. You may have the same rights in the UK, as soon as you leave the country you are not married. That means, among others, no visiting rights if your partner has to be hospitalized while abroad, even if you are in a country like Belgium or Spain where full marriage is accepted between same-sex couples. The difference may just be a word, but that word has legal implications throughout the world.

  9. #4- What a weird vile immature thing to respond with to Dean’s opinion.
    I don’t personally care for marriage, I’ve been with my partner for 13 years. But it is important that we have the same rights as anyone else, regardless of how ‘different’ some of you think we are.

  10. Jessica Green (Editor, PinkNews):
    > There may be no difference in the rights and benefits
    > received by those in civil partnerships

    Silly girl. Try harder. Are you not familiar with the overseas court cases that, since 1994 have all found that only marriage was equal, and exposed the prejudice involved in denying equal access to it? And why do you insist on the confusing and discriminatory phrase “gay marriage”? What about lesbians, eh? The term is Equal Marriage. The marriage law needs opening up equally. But you eventually came to the right conclusion.

  11. Deeside Will and Dean Buchanan – what a load of heterophobic nonsense.

    Dean – your use of the heterophobic term “breeders” just shows you to be an immature, silly little man.

    Will – our relationships are exactly the same as theirs actually. I am married (in a so called ‘civil partnership’) and I know many heterosexual married couples as well as homosexual married couples, and, believe me, their relationships are identical to ours and ours to theirs: same games, same demands, same love, same difficulties, same good times. It is all the same thing, trust me. There is not a bit of difference.

    Homosexuals need to integrate, which means having the same institution. the lack of integration is unacceptable.

  12. I think it’s a good article, sum it up more or less… CPs in lots of other countries are open to same sex and differenct sex couples, they usually have lsss rights and obligations eg you can get divorced much more easily , you can split your assets better etc and for some who have been in a CP or married before and are a bit disillusioned this is quite an attractive prospect. Others want to do a CP becuase they are against marriage for some reason. We don’t have this option in the UK, it’s all or nothing, one law for gays and another for straights. Why didn’t we bring in a CP for both straights and gays with less rights and obligations and keep marriage to more committed couples ..yes I know most CP in the UK are committed but what about those who are less so what do they have ….The CP in France is being taken up in France more by straights than gays becuase it is easier to get out of it. Keeping 2 parrallel laws is illogical, at some stage they might get out of step..Camerons tax promises to married couples also had to include CPs, what happens when there starts to be a diference. In other countries eg France, your CP is a PACS ie a contract with lesser rights than a marriage, if you’re from Holland then your gay marriage is a marriage with the rights of a married couple … there are differences internationally! By the way it would be interesting for a sum up of what each “charity”, gay org is thinking about gay marriage…. who are pushing gay marriage for us? What do lab LGBT think of this issue, the interview with Milliband was inconclusive… The messages coming from the coalition is confusing and no-one seems to be pushing them for an answer ie Stonewall!!!

  13. “Religious gay people want religious ceremonies – something the law does not currently allow. Others, who may be religious or secular, crave the gravity and recognition the word marriage offers.”

    And transgender people would like the option not to be forced to choose between delaying legally recognising their relationships (sometimes for years) and dissolving marriages/CPs for the sake of someone else’s convenience.

  14. Patrick James 7 Jul 2010, 8:51pm

    Both the Lib Dems and the Conservative party mentioned the possibility of bringing about the equality in marriage for lesbians and gay men prior to the general election. They were happy to talk about this as a “possibility” when they wanted votes.

    Now we see that the ConDem government is still talking about a possibility. We are told that stakeholders are being consulted, but we aren’t being told who those stakeholders are.

    If there is consultation going on then why is the ConDem government not telling us what that consultation is?

    Remember that as well as being told of the “possibility” of equality for lesbian and gay marriage we were also told about how marvellously open this new government was going to be.

    So, why are they not telling us what is going on?

    The Labour government pushed for and processed the vast majority of equality legislation for LGBT people.

    The Conservative party has told us over and over again that it has changed, that it is now in favour of equality.

    This gay marriage issue was left undone by the Labour government, surely as all the heavy work on equality was performed by Labour this new “changed” Conservative party can do this final small thing and bring about equality for lesbians and gay men in marriage?

  15. Patrick James 7 Jul 2010, 8:59pm

    The article reports that Boris Johnson:

    at one of the new mayoral ‘community’ receptions this week, he reportedly confused the issue with civil partnerships, saying he believed gay marriage was already legal. Following his remarks at Pride, a City Hall statement made clear he supported civil partnerships, with no mention of marriage.

    So does this mean that Boris Johnson does not support changing legislation to bring about equality in marriage for lesbians and gay men after all?

    I think Boris Johnson should clarify this.

  16. Both countries in the World Cup final allow same sex marriage :)

  17. Re: Deeside Will and Dean_Buchanan

    No condemnation or stone throwing, but here is a bit of intellectual information. The ‘same-sex’ relationship is just a colloquialism for ’same-gender’ relationships, so do not confuse the two. ‘Same-gender’ couples want to marry because of their love, not the sex in the relationship; furthermore, some couples – inclusive of all genders- do not participate in the act of sex at all. They want to marry because they love each other and want a marriage ceremony to celebrate that love in the eyes of their family and the law in the same way as straight people. Love is genderless, the same in all relationships. Where love exist it should be celebrated by all and with graceful abandon.

  18. “The Labour government pushed for and processed the vast majority of equality legislation for LGBT people.” Patrick James

    This is a little much, I’m afraid. 1) They clearly stated at this most recent election they don’t support marriage equality. 2) they send asylum seekers back to countries where they were told to “act straight” 3) The age of consent issue and the gays in the military were both court cases. In the first it started under the Major Government but Labour decided to “settle out of court” and pass the necessary legislation. With the military issue they had to be TOLD to allow gays in the military. 4) they compromised our equality and rights to religious freedom by introducing civil partnerships.

    They dragged their feet at every turn. Do not fall for their “We’ve led the movement for LGBT rights”. They didn’t, it was only because brave activists stood up to them and pushed and pulled them at every turn that we got the rights we have now. And even these aren’t equality.

    Today we had the spectacle of the Tories showing happiness at the Supreme Court decision to allow gay asylum seekers asylum AND announced they would also move this protection for transgendered people (which Labour thought against, hence why it’s in the Supreme Court!) I think it’s time we gave them a little slack, whilst maintaining pressure for equality.

    And ConDem is so immature, it’s like the BNP’s use of “Liebour”. Let’s not go to that silly level.

  19. Patrick James 7 Jul 2010, 11:41pm

    Jae writes about my comment on Labour’s success with equality:

    This is a little much, I’m afraid. 1) They clearly stated at this most recent election they don’t support marriage equality. 2) they send asylum seekers back to countries where they were told to “act straight” 3) The age of consent issue and the gays in the military were both court cases. In the first it started under the Major Government but Labour decided to “settle out of court” and pass the necessary legislation. With the military issue they had to be TOLD to allow gays in the military. 4) they compromised our equality and rights to religious freedom by introducing civil partnerships.

    Well, first of all thank you for your comments Jae.

    I remember very well how much we progressed during the Labour years, 1997 to 2010, and I will also mention that I remember very well the last Conservative government years from 1979 to 1997.

    The Labour government was by no means perfect and indeed to failure to secure equality for Lesbians and Gay people in marriage was very bad, and it is my belief that the asylum seekers issue was a much greater failure than that.

    However the vast majority of equality legislation that we now have was processed by Labour.

    You mention age of consent and gays in the Military. Well age of consent was an ECHR issue for England and Wales but the decision was not fought by Labour, they simply processed it through parliament. This was also the situation for gays in the Military.

    That was by far the most efficient way to proceed with those court cases which had started during the previous Conservative administration.

    So this:

    They dragged their feet at every turn.

    is a very unfair statement I think.

    Do not fall for their “We’ve led the movement for LGBT rights”. They didn’t, it was only because brave activists stood up to them and pushed and pulled them at every turn that we got the rights we have now. And even these aren’t equality.

    Well I’ve been a member of the Labour party for many years and an activist. In fact I was an activist in Northern Ireland where the LGBT issue was a very difficult one in many ways.

    I do not think that Labour led the movement for LGBT rights, however they were for the most part co-operative and not obstructive as you have described them.

    Today we had the spectacle of the Tories showing happiness at the Supreme Court decision to allow gay asylum seekers asylum AND announced they would also move this protection for transgendered people (which Labour thought against, hence why it’s in the Supreme Court!) I think it’s time we gave them a little slack, whilst maintaining pressure for equality.

    Well I know very well that Labour were never afforded any slack at any time, and I’m very glad there were not!

    I do not believe that the Coalition government has any great interest in LGBT issues. This Supreme Court ruling is a joy for them because they don’t have to put this through parliament themselves.

    Both parties in the coalition government have had may years in opposition to decide what they believe in regards to marriage for Lesbians and Gay men.

    I think it is time for them to stop telling us that they are consulting etc. and to give some indication of what they are planning to do.

    And ConDem is so immature, it’s like the BNP’s use of “Liebour”. Let’s not go to that silly level.

    Well, it is a lot quicker to write than Coalition :)

    We shall see how the, er, Coalition measures up over the coming months. Actually I confess I’ve just gone through my post and changed “ConDem” to “Coalition” so, you see, I do listen!

    For me the primary issue is not gay marriage but rather the ‘free schools’ policy. I think that this is the area where very significant discrimination will be created for LGBT people. Of the Coalition policies that is the one that concerns me the most.

  20. Gay couples are being discriminated against in the UK by being denied access to marriage.

    There are gay couples who have got married in Quaker, MCC etc churches and want legal recognition of that, but they are denied it. They won’t accept being forced to have a civil partnership because it is NOT a legal recognition of their marriage, so they stay married in the eyes of their churches, but have zero legal rights or protections.

    There are also married couples where one or both come from one of the many countries with marriage equality. Their marriages are given no legal recognition either. These people fought hard over years to get marriage equality in their countries and move on from civil unions, when they come to live here they do not want to step back in time when they are told that their marriages have no validity but they can have a civil partnership.

    Civil partnerships are second rate and are more akin to apartheid than to equality.

    The litmus test for equality is to compare the situation to other equalities groups. How would black or disabled people feel if they were told that they could’t get married?

  21. Sister Mary Clarance 8 Jul 2010, 12:34am

    “at one of the new mayoral ‘community’ receptions this week, he reportedly confused the issue with civil partnerships, saying he believed gay marriage was already legal. Following his remarks at Pride, a City Hall statement made clear he supported civil partnerships, with no mention of marriage.”

    I think he did what most straight people would do, its only the hard core ‘I am a victim and will always be one’ brigade that notice any difference.

  22. Douglas Pretsell 8 Jul 2010, 7:17am

    for me the issue is simple: I am a Quaker. Before the civil partnership legislation I could marry a same sex partner at my Quaker meeting but the registrar could not register it. I looked forward to legal recognition, which came in the civil partnership legislation. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the legislation explicitly forbids me from marrying in a Quaker meeting and explicitly forbids Quaker registrars from registering CPs. So, a right I had has clearly been removed to satisfy the bigotry of the Anglican and Catholic churches. Last year Britain Yearly Meeting 8the annual gathering of quakers in the UK) decided unanimously to petition the government for a change and has been lobbying patiently to achieve this. I am heartened that my gay and straight quaker colleagues of all ages see this as an important issue to campaign for. However, it will be too late for me. I will marry this August in a civil ceremony that explicitly forbids me or anyone at the ceremony from saying or doing anything religious. Crazy!

  23. http://www.queeried.co.uk/5-high-level-supporters-of-gay-marriage-in-the-uk-and-one-rather-unexpected-anti-one/

    Why is Elton John the one rather unexpected anti one ? I would also add Stonewall and the lab govt!

  24. Tim Hopkins 8 Jul 2010, 8:10am

    I agree with John (12) that this is a good article. It is missing some information about the position in Scotland though. Unlike the UK LibDems, the Scottish LibDems have a very clear position agreed by vote at their latest conference. It is for full equal marriage: that is, opening up both marriage and CP to all couples regardless of gender, and getting rid of the rule that trans people must divorce to get gender recognition.

    In answer to John’s question about LGBT groups’ positions, I can tell you that two of Scotland’s three big national LGBT groups are actively campaigning for equal marriage here, after consulting their respective community networks on the issue. They are the Equality Network and LGBT Youth Scotland. Other groups in Scotland are also actively campaigning, in particular NUS Scotland’s LGBT campaign, and the LGBT Network. And the campaign in the Scottish Parliament for equal marriage has been actively supported by the Metropolitan Community Church, the Quakers, the Pagan Federation of Scotland and the Humanist Society of Scotland.

  25. The constant arguement of marriage being between 1 man and 1 woman is seriously flawed esp in the 21st Century. It may have meant something in times when sex and childbirth outside marriage was unacceptable and even punishable but on this arguement the facts are surely misplaced.

    It shows how out of touch and indeed out of place churches/religions are to rely on such an outdated teachings.

    Surely, if our society is so ‘Broken’ it makes sense for people to be able to celebrate their union in full marriage, civil or otherwise, no matter who they decided to choose to be with.

    For religions to use irrelevant arguements to try to further their cause just proves how much they are just outdated and that they need to go the same way as all the other dinosaurs…

    Extinct!!

  26. I’m an atheist and I think civil marriage has to be made an option for any couple, there is no rational reason at all to bar same sex couples from civil marriage.

    I personally don’t care about the religious element but I recognise that it has significance to others and if freedom of religion means anything at all then it follows that same sex couples who want them must also be free to have church weddings. If the church they belong to supports them (as some already do)then the law has no business preventing a church from conducting same sex marriages, unless religious freedom is only for heterosexuals … but even anti-gay, heterosexual, religious bigots could not rationally support that.
    The right to religious freedom makes same sex church marriages inevitable. Some institutionally anti-gay churches will still not allow same sex marriages and they should not be forced to conduct them.

  27. As is usually the case in pinknews, I learned more from the comments than the actual article. The level of journalism on this site is pathetic. As an editorial / commentary in a gay publication it also spent too much time talking about how straights are being discriminated against. The whole thing sounded to me like it was written by a “well meaning” straight person with no first hand experience of being subjected to discrimination based upon their sexual orientation or, at least, was so targeted at appeasing a straight POV that there was nothing “queer” remaining. The most pathetic statement was the following: “There may be no difference in the rights and benefits received by those in civil partnerships, but to be married is to make a statement – to your partner, to your loved ones, to the world.” I expect to read such inaccuracies in the straight press, but don’t try to pass that off here. Read the comments and learn something about the actual legal differences.

  28. In the Netherlands a straight couple or a gay couple can get civilly marred.

    In the Netherlands a straight couples or a gay couple can get a civil partnership.

    That is where Britain should be at.

    We are not.

    And the people in Labour and Stonewall are going to continue alienating the LGBT population unless they step up to the plate and make a clear statement in favour of equality for all couples.

    After reading that disastrous interview done by David Milliband on this website I can state quirte clearly that I would not vote for Labour under his leadership.

  29. There’s no reason at all why civil marriage shouldn’t be gender neutral. It’s nothing to do with religion or indeed ‘tradition’. I’m fed up with people saying that marriage is ‘traditionally between a man and a women’ – it wasn’t in many places in antiquity.

    I don’t have a special mortgage because I’m a lesbian; I don’t have to use separate doors to access public places (hey, but they go to the same place *rolls eyes*); I don’t have a special bank account because of my sexuality. I see no reason why, simply because of my sexuality, I should be denied access to civil marriage.

  30. Peter do you really think if you turn up in Iran and say you’re “married” to a man they will respect your marriage? Eh?

  31. Brenda Lana Smith R af D 8 Jul 2010, 10:55am

    I would very much appreciate knowing not only what exactly is the Clegeron government’s stance gay marriage on British Overseas Territories, but the ongoing abysmal lack of gay and gender-variant human rights and equality thereon, too?

  32. silly billy 8 Jul 2010, 12:58pm

    Re the name of the coagulation. Howsabout Dunk’em? Like they used to do with “witches”? That’d sort the men from the boys. I can see Dunk’em-Smith (ever so quietly) hanging high over a gorge from his breeches…..

  33. Stephen C – yes the Netherlands would be a good example to follow, but other countries have also followed that path as well…and didn’t most of them start off with a CP then move onto the gay marriage thing – CPs are only a starting point not the end point!…these countries realised it, I just hope the UK does…

  34. Patrick James 8 Jul 2010, 2:55pm

    Sister Mary Clarence writes about Boris Johnson’s ambiguity on gay marriage:

    I think he did what most straight people would do, its only the hard core ‘I am a victim and will always be one’ brigade that notice any difference.

    I think Boris Johnson knows very well this is a significant issue for may LGBT people.

    He got a lot of good headlines during gay pride by his comments and now it seems that they were of no meaning at all.

    I wonder if he took his inspiration for this from the Coalition government?

  35. @ Tim Hopkins, comment 24: I missed the Scot Pride festivities two weeks ago but would be interested to hear what the SNP representative at the festival had to say in her speech to the crowd. That is, if you’ve been there to listen. I’m going to get in touch with you very soon since I’d like to get involved in the campaign for marriage equality in Scotland.

  36. Tim Hopkins 9 Jul 2010, 7:41am

    I was there but I was organising the speakers so did not have much opportunity to listen!

    The Equality Network has a mailing list for the marriage equality work, so if you’d like to join it, please email me here.

  37. Tim Hopkins 9 Jul 2010, 7:43am

    Oops, that mailto link didn’t work. It’s tim at equality-network.org

  38. Perhaps we should try this concept?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_privatization

    Marriage privatization is the concept that the state should have no authority to define the terms of personal relationships such as marriage. Proponents of marriage privatization claim that such relationships are best defined by private individuals. Arguments for the privatization of marriage have been offered by a number of scholars and writers. These arguments are most often raised in the context of same-sex marriage. Traditionally arguments surrounding the topic of same-sex marriage tend to be in support of same-sex marriage or against same-sex marriage. A third option involves a policy of allowing civil unions for same-sex couples while maintaining marriage exclusively for heterosexual couples. Proponents of marriage privatization often argue that privatizing marriage is a solution to the social controversy over same-sex marriage. Arguments for the privatization of marriage span both liberal and conservative political camps.[1]

  39. We demand marriage equality! Anything less is discrimination.

  40. Unfortunately by saying that you’re in a Civil Partnership actually ‘outs’ you when sometimes you don’t want to have to out yourself. In addition, as a Nichiren Daishonin (SGI-UK) Buddhist, I cannot have a ‘marriage at our head centre. I can have a Civil Partnership somewhere and then have a Buddhist ceremony (two separate ceremonies) – but why should I have to? Mixed sex couples don’t . . .

  41. OMAR KUDDUS GayasylumUK 3 Sep 2010, 11:18pm

    Would it not just be simpler to make everyone EQUAL, in the eyes of the Law, based on the fact that we are all born Equal by the mere fact that we are born Human and have the same rights, feelings and emotions as our counterpart Hetrosexual fellow Human beings.
    Discrimination has just too many forms and faces, and its time to realize just that, we are and allways have been treated as second class citizens.

  42. Omar Kuddus GayasylumUK 23 Sep 2010, 12:01am

    Dear Ms Featherstone,

    I realise the strict policy in regards to MP’s and constituents but i am not writing to you as my MP, but as the Junior Equality Minister.

    As the Liberal Democrat junior equality minister you said that the coalition government has a “long-term” strategy for equal rights.

    could you please inform me as to what exactly these “long term” strategies for equal rights involve and are about?

    Speaking at the Liberal Democrat conference in Liverpool you, she said that you was “proud” of successful motion calling for marriage equality and promised that the government would tackle homophobic bullying, protect gay parents and use Britain’s influence abroad to encourage an end to homophobic laws.

    Does the coalition government mean to keep these promises, and in particular its stance on, to ” use Britain’s influence abroad to encourage an end to homophobic laws”.

    You added that the government would get its policies “in order” on gay and lesbian asylum seekers fleeing persecution.

    Does that mean that it intents to follow the Dutch and German example on Homosexual persecution for asylum seekers, or will the standard response of “discretion” still overrule and be the main factor in declining LGBT asylum applications?

    I note, Ms Featherstone that you ,also attacked Labour’s record, saying the party which legalised civil partnerships had turned equalities into a “burden”, saying “[Equality] became a byword for bureaucracy and red-tape.

    “Less about liberation and more about frustration. And if ticking boxes and filling out forms led to equality, then Britain would be a utopia of fairness and optimism.”

    But would this not be easier and achievable if the government granted equality and similar rights to everyone, despite their sexual orientation and hence make the county a fairer and equal place for all its citizens, and thus exclude a second class society.

    In the past (MAY 2010) you criticised your own party’s coalition negotiators for being too “male” and “pale” and now added: “We also recognise that trans gender issues are often distinct and sometimes need to be addressed separately. That is why this government will be the first ever to produce an action plan on trans gender equality.”

    The question again is when, for words are cheep and at all party conference’s promises are made that never materialise.

    The conference may have voted in favour of a motion supporting marriage equality, which in essence means, that the party will lobby for civil partnerships and marriage to be opened up to all couples regardless of sexuality. But again the question remains when, for no time scale or concrete proposals have been put into place, or even indicted.

    In the mean time LGBT’s in Britain are still to be regarded and classified as second rate citizens/ nationals.

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