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Exclusive: Andy Burnham supports gay marriage but won’t change mind on lesbian IVF

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  1. So just one Labour leadership contender – Ed Miliband – who has not declared their support for same sex marriage – and he may well declare his support soon I suspect in a u-turn. If we do get his support, that would mean we would have a guarantee that the next Labour leader would support SSM – to add to Nick Clegg’s support. Things continue to head in the right direction.

  2. Ian Bower 3 Aug 2010, 7:19pm

    Blimey – there are so many holes in his arguments that it’s difficult to know where to start.

    On the item about ‘it’s important to listen to scientists’ (giving blood). Yes it is.
    Cannabis was advised, by a Government scientist to be downgraded. What did Labour do? Just the opposite. Listen and then ignore. The scientist (and colleagues) resigned in disgust. Mmmmm?

    Male role model? Yes, fine but that doesn’t mean that children cannot be raised in loving same sex partnerships. I know of many. Oh, and where does that leave all the kids in single sex parent (not parents) ‘families’?


    Quote ‘It’s about schools having a good anti-bullying policy…’
    Er, yes, partly, but many schools already do and then ignore it.
    It’s about school’s taking the same action on homophia as they do with racism.

    He certainly gives out a message of not fully understanding the issues. This is a dangerous place to be for a politician.

    At least he won’t be in power for some time, time enough for him to really try to understand the issues.

    Here’s hoping!

  3. trimegisto 3 Aug 2010, 8:21pm

    Its so backwards!! a Leftist Politica leader, in 2010, who opposse IVF treatments on Lesbians cause the children need “a man and a woman”.

    It reminds me the Socialist Party of Spain 10 years ago. Really.

  4. He sounds like the only reason he will let gay couples adopt is because he considers those children as trash, some sort of lost cause…
    I’m not sure if I should be more offended by this, me or the children (since by his definition, they’re being sacrificed to “inequality” parenting, due to the lack of the other sex parent)!

  5. Mihangel apYrs 3 Aug 2010, 9:03pm

    I think a S-S couple with kids ought to take this little boy home for a week so he can see how “role models” are provided

    Merciful mother, they’re all so young! We’ve lost a generation of politicians, and some with rela world experience!

  6. He’s definitely lost my vote. Lesbians having to get a man to ‘sign off’ a pregnancy? That’s completely unacceptable. So it’s Balls or Abbott.

  7. Lucio Buffone 3 Aug 2010, 10:22pm

    May be an unpopular line to take, but I oppose all IVF, gay and straight. There are 10,000 kids in care in the UK, IVF is selfish.

  8. friday jones 4 Aug 2010, 12:08am

    It’s nice to know that when my Pop was beating the hell out of me and sexually molesting me that I was equal to all the other kids because I had me one of them there male role models. Because all that matters is that there is a penis on board at all times, right? Raising a child without a pair of functional testicles in close proximity is like trying to raise a fish without a bicycle in the tank.

  9. screw you burnham. not good enough.

  10. He was tripping over himself when it came to same-sex parenting. It seems to be okay… as a last resort. Isn’t Labour leadership a foregone conclusion, anyway? It’s going to be a Miliband, right?

    But like Patrick said, it does look like we’re making steps towards full gay marriage, which is always nice.

  11. Maybe a good place to start will be a Child Access Agency (rather than the Child Support Agency – which relegates the male ‘role model’ merely to a source of revenue). Perhaps then my man, might get access to his children, who are being raised in the catholic cult, to hate all things gay. Sadly, many men, gay and otherwise, are prevented from parenting by hostile ex’s.

    … and of course, great parents come in all shapes and sizes, and equivalence of treatment should extend to IVF as well as blood donations … (although I question ‘the right to have children’ which lies behind state funded IVF).

  12. Strange interview…are these the kind of answers you get from a MP struggling with his Catholic background? Not quite the person who believes in “absolutely equality” for everyone surely…But very glad he is for gay marriage, so when exactly is one of these guys going to raise the issue in parliament… so many MPs and parties for gay marriage now and yet no real progress – it’s easy to make promises when you are not in power and all the time in the world to change you minds, make excuses or dither when you’re in power! – didn’t someone in one of these comments somewhere in pinknews say anybody can raise a bill for gay marriage, do we have to wait for the tory/coalition party to do something? Even a party of one (greens) could presumably do it?

  13. As Andy Burnham says, ‘you have to listen to the scientists’. But Mr Burnham seems not to be doing so.

    Mr Burnham’s suggestion that children of same-sex couples need a third parent of the other gender seems perfectly reasonable, just like the idea that the sun goes round the earth. It just happens to be wrong.

    On parenting, recent studies have concluded that it is the number, not the gender, of permanent parents at home which affects children’s outcomes. If we listen to the scientists, then we have to accept that it is likely that children don’t, in fact, require parental role models of both genders. To keep up with all the latest publications, see .

    This is a surprising result because lots of other research indicates that for all that children and teenagers go on about pop stars and the opinions of the kids at school, it is parental influence which has the biggest effect.

    We don’t really have good research combining these two findings, but there is one obvious possible explanation: gender matters less than we think it does. The differences between men and women may be prominent in our society, but they are dwarfed by what we share as human beings. In the real world, individuals possess a mix of characteristics, not solely defined by gender. A child will find qualities to emulate even in a parent of a different gender and/or very different personality. Parents possess a variety of parenting styles, not solely, or even predominantly, defined by gender.

    If Mr Burnham is serious about listening to scientists, then perhaps he will listen a little more, and consider altering his position in the light of the evidence.

  14. @John

    Any MP can introduce a bill (known as a Private Member’s Bill) but it is very difficult to get these bills through parliament, especially if there is significant opposition. Private Member’s Bills are rarely controversial.

    Only government ministers can propose “Public Bills”, like the Civil Partnership Bill. So, in theory any Liberal Democrat or Conservative minister could put forward a Gay Marriage Bill or an amendment to the Civil Partnership Act.

  15. vulpus_rex 4 Aug 2010, 11:16am

    I still do not understand the issue with lesbians and IVF – surely the instances of lesbian couples where both women are infertile are extremely rare?

    IN any case single women who are infertile can have IVF so why not lesbians?

  16. Incoherent twaddle. Lesbian couples not undermined by implying that the child must have a designated male father figure? Rubbish. It’s the usual patriarchal guff – the nurturing of a child is only morally validated by phallic authority. Guidance and mentoring cannot come from women alone. It’s pretty blatant. As suggested above, there’s no evidence to support these shibboleths. If children are loved and cared for in a stable environment, they generally do pretty well, whoever is providing it. Given the adaptability and sophistication of a social primate like H. Saps, it would be astonishing if anything else were the case.

  17. Joe – I suspect a same sex marriage bill will be put to a conscience vote some time next year. So I suspect it will be a “public bill”. If it does goes to a conscience vote, all Lib Dems would vote in favour I think, a good chunk of the Labour party would, and a decent number of Conservatives would, including Cameron himself I think. I have little doubt there would be a majority.

    The House of Lords will be the problem, but that can be overcome if necessary.

    Same sex marriage in the UK is inevitable, it is just a matter of time, and hopefully that time will be soon.

  18. All this interview does is show that Andy Burnham, like all the others do Not believe in equality. They believe in rationed equality. This is not good enough and they need to show their worth before I even consider voting for them again.

  19. Lucio – I see your point, but following the same logic you could argue that people who have their own children are selfish as they do this instead of adopting children who are in care – so your argument is a little illogical.

    I do wish more people would adopt instead of having their own children more, however people love passing on their DNA and making something of their own. I wouldn’t call them selfish for doing this, although as I say, I do wish more people would adopt instead of having their own children more.

    Calling them selfish is wrong though.

  20. Labour won’t get my vote under him.

  21. And he lost my vote.

  22. So he doesn’t support us on things that really mattert

  23. What an idiot. Full stop.

  24. The planet is warming; water is increasingly in short supply where it’s needed; overcrowding is creating the same problems you get when too many rats inhabit one small box — physical attacks on each other. And yet people talk about their ‘right’ to IVF. It’s insane.

    IVF should be removed from the NHS; instead, people should be PAID to adopt the ‘oversupply’ of unwanted children — just like Ian Duncan Smith is proposing the ‘pay’ the workshy to get a job.

    The result ? Lower taxes — because better upbringing for ‘orphans’ (who might otherwise join the criminal fraternity) would free up jail space, and the NHS would not spend on Vanity Projects like IVF.

  25. As long as there’s a penis around the house,
    then it’s “Happy Families”!
    Obviously an deep-thinking intellectual.

  26. Joe – but who are opposing SS marriage now, we don’t have a one party majority govt ….

    The labour did once and didn’t introduce gay marriage, I’d like to see some more action from them before I believe they have changed their stance on it , he does say here that he believes in “absolute equality of every human being” and what’s obvious from this interview is that he doesn’t really!

  27. he does realise gay marriage also means lesbian marriage?

  28. PumpkinPie 4 Aug 2010, 4:56pm

    Eh. Seems like a good enough guy. That “gender role models” business might be hogwash, but he does seem like he genuinely supports us in theory. While I may not be a Labour fan, it is refreshing to see that, finally, being openly pro-LGBT is in fashion among aspiring politicians from all the major parties.

  29. Before this I considered him the lesser of evils.

    Now I say screw him, he seems so ignorant onthe issue. Blood donations are far more likely tone infected by straight people snagging around as they are the majority. Blood screening is also very very thorough.

    The male told model thing sucks. It’s love people.

    For a guy basing his politics on equality he seems to hold vey unequal views.

  30. nothingpetty 4 Aug 2010, 11:19pm

    Being an citizen of the United States, I won’t be voting in this election, but I do think that there should be, at the very least, a father of record for every birth. I see this as necessary purely for genetic (health) reasons. BTW- I am gay.

  31. PumpkinPie 5 Aug 2010, 1:46am

    Being an citizen of the United States, I won’t be voting in this election, but I do think that there should be, at the very least, a father of record for every birth. I see this as necessary purely for genetic (health) reasons. BTW- I am gay.

    I see what you’re getting at, but that’s a common misconception. If a straight couple has IVF treatment, the mother’s husband will be listed as the father on the birth certificate, even if the sperm came from another donor. Birth certificates are for recording a child’s legal parents. The identity of the child’s biological parents will be kept on seperate medical records, so you don’t need to worry about a child’s health being at risk. It’s just that birth certificates themselves are mostly for legal purposes, not medical.

    So, basically, there is absolutely no need for a male name to be on a lesbian couple’s child’s birth certificates.

    It’s discriminatory: straight parents don’t have to be biologically related to their children.

    It could lead to families being torn apart: the legal wrangling involved if the named mother dies, or divorces the unnamed mother, don’t even bear thinking about.

    And it’s just plain nonsensical: even if they think a father figure is necessary, why record him on the birth certificate? Why on such an important document, meant only to record parental figures, and not token “cool uncles”? Why not on a seperate document, like they’d use for a godparent?

    Basically, it’s just a bad idea all-round.

  32. Charlie-o 5 Aug 2010, 4:15am

    This man is definitely not ready. Why in the world would you grant an interview that exposes your backwardness and lack of critical thinking? He must think that we’d be impressed that given his Catholic background, he’s come a fairly long way from blatant homophobia of the Vatican. Well, nice try, Andy, and congratulations that you’re not a complete troglodyte. But actually we’re looking for someone who doesn’t think that equality means having a male parent and a female parent. That position just won’t fly. Did he think that we would be able to just overlook this nonsensical position?

  33. I’m really disappointed with him. I had intended to put him down as my second preference – now I don’t know who to vote for after David M…


    Looks like gay marriage is going to be part of the lib dems official policy, when will labour be able to say the same thing!!!

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