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Comment: Peter Tatchell is wrong to criticise Lynne Featherstone by Evan Harris

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  1. What is Lynne Featherstone’s job title? Equalities Minister? Meaning she is there to make sure that all segments of society is treated equally.

    This article by Evan Harris is nothing but a list of excuses for the shortcomings of both Lynne Feathersone and the LibDems.

    Tatchell is absolutely right to criticise Featherstone.

    She wants to retain the prohibition on heterosexual civil partnerships and on religious same-sex marriages by faith organisations that want to conduct them.

    But she is ‘equalities’ minister?

    Also why has the consuitaton on marriage equality been delayed to March 2012. It keeps getting postponed. So often in fact that it appears that the deadline of 2015 for marriage equality will not be met.

    Quite frankly I don’t care what Lynne Featherstone is like as a person. She is the equalities minister.

    And at the present time the LGBT population remain 2nd class citizens.

    Until that changes then the LibDems and Featherstone deserve to be strongly criticised.

    1. And a note to the LibDems.

      If there is not marriage equality by the time of the next general election then it is evidence that a vote for the LibDems is a wasted vote if they are unable to deliver on their promised to the LGBT community, even while in power.

      I am tired of politcians making excuses for their inaction.

      The LGBT population remains discriminated against in the eyes of the law.

      There is absolutely no justification on earth that Harris or Featherstone or Cameron or the Tories or the Lib Dems or Stonewall or the religious cults can think of, that will excuse this continuing discrimination.

      So quit whining Harris and start putting pressure on Featherstone to start acting like a proper equalities minister.

      1. Dave Page 9 Dec 2011, 5:14pm

        There’s no need to put pressure on Lynne. I trust her to be doing everything in her power as a minister of a coalition Government, from the only major party to support equal marriage, to bring it and other aspects of LGBT+ equality about as quickly as possible.

        Perhaps Tatchell could put pressure on the Tories and Labour to join the Lib Dems in supporting this and other forms of equality?

        1. I agree, Dave

          Lynne is a fantastic choice as equalities minister – and with a free reign would go further

          1. free reign … ??? like granny bessie, the queen of the hive ?

          2. She’s a fantastic choice?

            Even though we remain 2nd class citizens and apparently there’s nothing she can do about it.

            She sounds pretty inadequate to me!

        2. Why should we trust her? All she has done is make pretty speeches and excuse the homophobic voting record of Theresa May.

      2. ” it is evidence that a vote for the LibDems is a wasted vote if they are unable to deliver on their promised to the LGBT community, even while in power”

        There is ample evidence of this already regardless of marriage equality or gay rights

    2. Evan Harris 9 Dec 2011, 4:53pm

      David

      Ref: “She wants to retain the prohibition on heterosexual civil partnerships and on religious same-sex marriages by faith organisations that want to conduct them”

      As I make clear (please re-read and comment rather than repeat the argument I have rebutted), I would say her own view is supportive of both those things but she is a minister in a Coalition Government so can only publish what has been agreed in the Coalition, which means getting the Tories on board for what is published. The proposal as it stands is pretty radical and I think that if a bill comes in to introduce gay marriage, then it can be amended by Parliament to align with Lib Dem policy (presuming Labour politicians support that).

      1. @Evan

        Its interesting how some people fail to understand that in a coalition there is a difference between what you might like to introduce if you were a single party government, and what you can achieve working with other parties.

        Both the LibDems and the Conservatives have had to make sacrifices on a range of issues …

        Indeed, even if there was a single party government – it would not be an exceptional event for a minister to lead a portfolio where the government policy on one or two issues did not fit completely with their own views on how they should be responded to by the government, by be able to lead the policy with legitimacy and honesty.

        We are all keen to see progress on LGBT issues – and there has been with this coalition, so far – yes there still needs to be delivery on a range of issues, but the promise is there – its tangible …

        The progress of international aid and human rights coupled with promises on equal marriage etc are great results.

        1. So effectively what Evan Harris is saying that Featherstone may in theory support equality, but seeing as she’s a LibDem then she has zero influence in introducing equality.

          Good to kniow that. At least the LGBT community will be aware that a vote for the LibDem is a wasted vote.

          And Mr Harris – when will straight couples be able to enter a CP?

          Evan Harris is using weasel words to disguise how ineffective and inconsequential both Lynne Featherstone and the Lib Dems are.

          2015 my arse! If the political will existed then we’d have full legal equality by 2012. The political will is not there and the LibDems need to accept their share of the responsibility for that.

          1. There is a distinct difference to both what the Conservative party promised and what the Lib Dems promised and the coalition agreement – on MANY matters.

            In terms of LGBT issues the coalition has gone and is (provided it continues) going much further than the coalition agreement suggested …

            I suspect the coalition is a little rocky and in danger of collapsing relatively soon, but even if that happens, and even if that leads to a general election – I can not see that any of the main 3 political parties could resist a call for equal marriage as a priority whether that be in the lifespan of this coalition (if it conitnues) or a newly elected government (of whatever complexion)

          2. If the coaltion collapses before 2015 then there will be the PERFECT excuse why CP apartheid remains – like a stain – on our statute books.

            I bet that’s what Callmedave is hoping anyway.

            I think summer 2012 is plenty of time to wait before marriage equality is law.

            What is Lynne Featherstone and the LbDem Party going to do to make that happen?

          3. Wow – what type of homophobes are criticising my suggestion for marriage equality by 2012?

      2. But to not mention straight CPs and religious marriages at this stage as though you can just brush them under the carpet and they will go away seems mad. I simply don’t understand how we can continue to have new gay CPs being done ( after the introduction of gay marriage) and not have straight CPs as well. Equally I can’t understand how we can have civil marriage only and exclude religious ones, despite spending 2 yrs bringing in religious CPs to cater for LGBT who are religious and for the Quakers etc. How can justify this as progressing equality and religious freedom. To not even mention them (in fact drop them from the earlier govt statement) without explaining what their reasons are is unfair. She has said she is having confidential meetings with people to shape the consultation, does this mean her govt statement will change again? It’s all so vague …we’re not even guaranteed to get religious CP for more than 10 days unless the lib dems stand up against the Tories on the 15th..I hope they make a good show of it and start talking more openly about marriage for us at the same time..

      3. Patrick Lyster-Todd 10 Dec 2011, 1:42pm

        Evan, I’m afraid that I just don’t agree with you. I hear or, rather, read, all that you say re Lynn having her hands tied by the coalition agreement but, as a gay man, still fed up with being discriminated against by this government, this isn’t good enough. What about her showing a little bit of principle or integrity? She is the ‘Equalities’ Minister yet appears unwilling to acknowledge or even admit to being ‘held back from doing what she would really like to do. At least. I assume that she does actually agree with same-sex marriage. Or does she too need a public consultation to be able to subscribe to this?

      4. Your calculations, or miscalculations, don’t take into account many factors. Right wing rhetoric is gaining ground and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future due to economic austerity. In times like these, scapegoating becomes many people’s favourite past-time. Minorities are always placed on the fire line … Support for either the UKIP or the BNP is steadily growing, that’s the general zeitgeist. Your lot have already chosen bed partners … are you having fun? If not, good luck next time…if your given the chance, of course … because the way things are going,… you could be joining a long queue for a job … and let’s hope you don’t try to jump to the front, but join it at the back … together with your gay constituents…

    3. Yes, why hasn’t there been an explanation for the delay in the consultation scheduled for March 2012? Does anyone know? How come Scotland’s has just concluded and ours hasn’t even started?

    4. Rashid Karapiet 11 Dec 2011, 4:27pm

      Of considerably more relevance and importance than so-called marriage equality are the various campaigns to deal urgently with homophobic and other forms of bullying at all levels in schools. Even teachers, who are required to know better, are afraid to act apparently even in relatively clear-cut instances. If campaigners such as Peter Tatchell choose ‘marriage equality’ they’re providing the government with an open goal; bullying in schools needs urgent commitment from all concerned including if necessary financial involvement which, as we’re discovering, is anathema to our benighted coalition, and hence trickier for Lynne Featherstone and her ilk to deal with.

      1. Are you a LibDem?

        Yes bullying is a problem and urgently needs to be tackled. However bullying will not be solved by legislation.

        CP discrimination WILL be solved by legislation.

        But the CP laws in place in present are actively discrmininatory.

        It is a very easy task to repeal discriminatory legislation.

        The political will in the Tories does not exist. And the LbDems clearly have no influence on government policy.

  2. So, perhaps the Tories are holding back on a decision on same-sex marriage, so as to gain support from the Gay community at the next general election. Bit like holding a carrot to a donkey, don’t you think?

    1. Considering the disgusting homophobia of the Tories up until the last couple of years (and let’s be honest there is a thick vein of appalling bigotry still in the Tories) I don’t think they are in any position to be waving carrots at the gay donkeys.

      A delay in marriage equality simply tells the LGBT community that the Tories are the horrible bigots they have always been, despite what empty promises Callmedave is making.

    2. Exactly what I have been thinking isn’t it odd that its so far away and so close to an election?

    3. I thought it was a bit strange that they were holding it off till so close to the election!!

      1. Ooops it didn’t show up when I checked

  3. the point about the coalition agreement binding the LIb Dems – far more than it binds the Tories is well made –
    and brushed over by vociferous critics.

    The fact is that progress on all real change is slower than the single issue groups affected can bear to tolerate – whereas politicians have to always deal in compromises…

    If we were to have my ideal world overnight there would be no armed forces, no churches, no boundary controls and ultimately no government – but I think that might take another few millennia –
    support progress where it is made and keep lobbying, but don’t get bogged down attacking the allies of change because they aren’t working miracles fast enough….

  4. So what would Harris say if Labour eventually adopts marriage equality as official party policy, enjoining the Liberal Democrats? If that were to happen, I don’t see how the Tories could not legislate and pass same-sex civil marriage into law if it wants to retain or gain more gay support. It’s a win-win situation if that happens. Let’s face it, the Tories are only in power with the support of the Liberal Democrats, hardly a mandate in the last election. I don’t think they’ll want to alienate any more gay support than they have already by failing to deliver before 2015.

    1. Evan Harris 10 Dec 2011, 8:41am

      “Harris” would welcome if Labour adopts equality and human rights in thjis (and a whole load of other areas). If they went as far as the Lib Dems, that would mean that any bill might be amended to provide for the straight and religious equality as we would all want.

      We need to avoid guessing about electoral motives and the gay vote and instead do the right thing. The fact is that that there is more electoral benefit is opposing gay marriage which is presumably the basis for Labour’s lack of official support.

      We need to demonstrate that any party opposing gay marriageb will lose the progressive vote and just compete for the reactionaries.

      1. Why has the date for marriage equality been set for 2015?

        When will straight couples be allowed to enter CP’s?

        These delays are simply not good enough, irrespectiive of how many excuses get concocted for this unnecessary delay.

        1. Seriously – how can any LGBT person negatively vote for a comment asking for LGBT equality before 2015. I think the LibDems are voting here.

          Message to LibDem Party – get your godamned finger out and deliver equality before 2015.

          Otherwise wave goodbye forever to the LGBT vote.

          After all who would vote for a party which has no influence even when in government.

  5. I’d rather have Lynne Featherstone than an equalities minister who is our foe. Nobody is perfect and this is not an ideal world either. We have to make the best with what we have and keep on lobbying until we win in a civilised manner. We need more straight support than ever.

    1. Featherstone is better than the old bigotted hag Theresa May (whose voting record on LGBT issues was so appalling that she was deemed unsuitable to be an equalities minister).

      However being ‘better than May’ is hardly great praise.

  6. while i admire peter thatchell’s objectivity towards the governments plans- i think his article is a bit unfair on featherstone. we all know that, especially in coalition with the tories, the lib dems can’t work as they truly wish- not that it excuses the fact the coalitions plan for same-sex marriage still discriminates on religous grounds…

    For all we know if the Lib Dems were in government on their own, or had a majority within the coalition, there would not be any discrimination on same-sex religous marriage in their plans…

    And I must say- yes I am a Lib Dem supporter. I think it does more damage than good to very directly criticize the most pro-LGBT politicians and major party in the country when they are bound by a coalition with the tories.

    At the same time Thatchell is raising this issue and standing up for true equality- making sure the public are aware of this is very important.

    So I agree with Thatchell, just not the manner he criticised Featherstone.

    1. It is perfectly acceptable to critiicise the most pro-LGBT party in the country, if they are basically admitting that their pro-LGBT policies are effectlvely worthless because they are in coaltion with the Tories.

      The LibDems will never be in power by themselves.

      So if they are unable to get marriage equality introduced while they are in coaltion government, effectively they are admitting that their pro-LGBT policies are meaningless.

      And why then should anyone vote for them?

      I think Lynne Featherstone needs to explain this outrageous delay to 2015 for legal equality.

      It is quite simply unacceptable to expect us to wait until 2015, until we become full, equal citizens of this country.

  7. I like Evan Harris (and sure, I like Peter Tatchell too!) but this article just comes across as a little too defensive. I understand what Evan was trying to say but even I, a Lib Dem, feel a little less satisfied with the Government’s response at the end of it than I did at the start!

    Stop with the excuses already. It’s not good enough, and that’s all you need to say. It doesn’t matter why! “The Tories made us do it” simply doesn’t wash on issues of basic individual liberty.

    Religious freedom now, straight civil partnerships now, equal marriage for everyone NOW.

    1. Evan Harris 10 Dec 2011, 8:47am

      Equal marriage was not in the Coalition Agreement. There is a price to pay to getting something liberal onto the Government agenda, in terems of having to allow other things wich are illiberal in return. My article was not at all defensive it was merely pointing politcial reality.

      We just ahd 13 years of a Labour majority Govty which boasted it was pro-equality. and there was continual rejection of even consultation on gay amrraige. The fact that a Tory-led Government has, in its first two years, started the process to towards legislation with a view to legalsing it in its first term, is remarkable in itself. The challenge is to deliver it and more not to carp about not yet getting something presently supported by only 58 MPs

      1. Again, I understand what you were trying to say. But it simply sounds like excuse upon excuse. We’d be better served by NOT suggesting that fighting for individual liberty and religious freedom is “carping”. That is how your article ends up coming across and I don’t think that casts us in the best light.

        I don’t think a response to Peter Tatchell was actually necessary and serves only to make his argument seem more on the ball than it was before.

      2. Patrick Lyster-Todd 10 Dec 2011, 1:53pm

        Evan, from an activist perspective, it doesn’t matter whether this particular issue was on the original agenda or not. Peter was right to take Lynn to task on this. It’s been exceptionally badly managed by her department and the reasons – excuses even – given are not, as I and others have said before, good enough. Some of your colleagues within the coalition have had the – is it ‘courage’? – something like that – to stand up and stamp their feet loudly on certain issues of import. Surely the coalition has the strength and flexibility to accommodate some healthy debate? That’s all that we’re asking of Lynn – don’t let the senior coalition partners kick this issue into the long grass which she appears to be allowing. Show a bit more determination, grit and teeth. And, on an entirely separate matter, when are we going to see you back in the House? Soon, I hope. P

  8. so the lib dems have gone after a policy that has no realistic chance of becoming a law, whats the bleeding point and i dont buy their excuse its a coalition, again why go with something that is a dumb squid in the first place and then blame the coalition partners, school boy politics

    1. Callmedave claims to support marriage equality.

      Marriage equality is LibDem policy.

      Most Labour MP’s would support marriage equality.

      Marriage equality could be law by summer 2012.

      I guess Callmedave doesn’t want to upset the blue-rinse brigade. And the LibDems don’t want to upset their Tory masters.

      1. I see the LibDems are voting negatively on my comments.

        I don’t want to hear any more pathetic excuses from the LibDems about why we remain 2nd class ciitizenships.

        I want to see marriage equality by the summer of 2012.

        It’s possible you know. There is absolutely no impediment to it happening. Except the lack of political will.

  9. Cracks are starting to appear on the house of cards? ‘course not… these cracks have been there from the start … now some gay tory supporters are already pocketing their miserable prizes and disappearing to some far away islands, while their brothers and sisters are left to face right-wing backlash …

    1. Which supporters are these … name them?

      1. Do i know anything you don’t?

        1. I dont know, do you …?

          1. I can point you to a direction babe… the rest you need to work out for yourself… I’ll give you a tip: stop kissing the wrong frogs. If you really don’t know who you are kissing, start paying more attention to your surroundings…

          2. de Villiers 11 Dec 2011, 9:49pm

            You are so blinkered, Beberts. Babe.

          3. @Beberts

            Child!

            Blinkered child.

            Arrogant child.

            Bigoted child.

  10. I think Scotland have done the right thing and Eng/Wales are doing the wrong thing. We see in Scotland a united front, down here we don’t.

    Just removing straight CPs and religious marriages from the consultation just raises more questions than answers.

    How are we going to continue offering gay CPs only and continue excluding straights?

    How are we going to offer civil marriage only? We already (hopefully!) have religious CP. The CofE has already said when we get marriage then it will fall into equality law since marriage is marriage regardless of whether it’s civil or religious.

    Lynne’s current responses are now that she is consulting with religious and non religious orgs to shape the consultation in March. Sorry but why consult with religious org if the only thing on the table is civil marriage.

    We have been left in a confused state and it’s depressing we have to wait another 4 months before we know what is happenning.

  11. Tatchell needs Lynne Featherstone as an ally.

    1. So Harris thinks Thatchell is being unfair. Of course he does, he’s a Lib Dem. It doesn’t mean that we have to accept this discrimination, or be thankful to any party for what are basic human rights.

      Harris can tow the party line and can accuse Thatchell of being unfair, but the basic fact is that his party in the minority party in the coalition government. Issues arise in government all the time that were not part of a coalition agreement. Stop making excuses!

      1. Or he can ‘toe’ the line, even ;-)

    2. I think in fact it would be better for Lynne Featherstone to have Peter Tatchell as an ally.

      How will she get re-elected if there is not marriage equality by the time of the next general election.

      If there is not full legal equality by the next general election, then it will be clear that one should never again vote for the LibDems.

      It will be a wasted vote.

      1. Lynne Featherstone still has a fight both against the
        homophobes and a large part of the Tories who not really allies.

  12. on the 25th oct LF replied to the following question….I really don’t know what is happenning from her repsonse, why are religious orgs being in involved, what has stonewall been saying etc etc.., is PT involved? I can’t link religious groups with civil marriage only!

    Mr Allen: .. what meetings she (a) has held and (b) plans to hold with religious groups and religious representatives to discuss the proposals for civil marriage for GL people. [76143]
    LF: The Government announced on 17 Sept the Government’s intention to publish a formal consultation document on equal civil marriage in March 2012. From now until the publication of the consultation myself and officials in the GEO will be meeting with a wide range of people with an interest in this issue, including LGBT groups and religious and non-religious organisations, to help shape the formal consultation document.
    These meetings are scheduled to take place over the coming weeks and are being held on a confidential basis

  13. oh look, another spineless lib dem defending Lynnr Featherstone, bigot enabler in chief

    Lynne Featherstone ahs done NOTHING but make pretty speaches to cover Theresa May – one of the most virulent homophobes in government

    She is an enabler and a fig leaf. To my eternal regret, I voted for the Lib Dems last election – I won’t even consider doing so again while she is in the party

  14. I don’t know whether the lib dems are towing the stonewall/BS line or the tory line. BS has said CP he wants to support the special nature of gay CPs, he doesn’t want them watered down by straight ones, too costly anyway he says..

    Can we start talking with one voice please before march 2012…

    1. That non-entity Ben Summerskill should have been sacked as soon as he was caught campaigning against marriage equality at the LibDem conference in 2010.

      If Featherstone is taking advice from Stonewall then perhaps someone should inform her that Stonewall has lost massive support from the LGBT community thanks to the activities of Ben Summerskill.

      Seriously. Stonewall does not represent anyone other than Stonewall’s board of directors.

  15. Only an idiot would trust a lib dem. They have allowed cameron to do so much damage. My uni fees will go up from £700 to £5k after the promise of no rises. Lib dems are already finished

  16. George Broadhead 10 Dec 2011, 9:31am

    There is on thing that should be made clear in connection with this wrangle. Though not himself gay, Dr Evan Harris’ staunch commitment to LGBT rights goes back to when he was a Liberal Democrat MP and Shadow Minister and proposed many pro-LGBT resolutions in Parliament. As a Humanist and Securalist he became a vice-president of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) and vigorously opposed the hostility to LGBT rights from religious quarters. He deserves much credit for this.

    1. I don’t care the damage the lib dems have done is much more serious than his LGBT credentials. He has screwed over a whole generation and has made a uni education a dream for most people. The lib dems have created a generation of cynics thanks to their blatant lies nothing will make up for what they have done to society. 340 disabled people have their day centre closed 35 colleagues lost their jobs people will die at home alone. One service commited suicide on Wednesday he was disabled and was going to be thrown out of his flat in Janurary.

      Lib dems are scum

      1. “made a uni education a dream for most people”

        What, by cutting the monthly loan repayments thus making them more affordable, and removing the lower earning graduates from making payments completely?

        Or by stopping Labour’s plan for £15,000 fees and forcing a lower figure instead?

  17. Peter Tatchell 10 Dec 2011, 12:22pm

    True, Lynne Featherstone supports equality in theory and usually in practice. But she is clear that the consultation will not include equality. She has told many different people this, not just me.

    A big problem is that Lynne Featherstone won’t say why the gay marriage consultation has been delayed for nearly a year after she said it would start. Any eventual Bill could therefore be timed out by the time of the general election.

    She also won’t say why heterosexual civil partnerships will remain banned and why religious organisations that want to conduct same-sex marriages will continue to be prohibited from doing so.

    It is this lack of answers to reasonable questions that is also disturbing.

    1. Also, why does Evan talk about the opinion of the ‘bishops and the tabloid media’ as a reason for compromise on LGBT equality? A sad state of affairs when our democracy is held hostage to a few press barons & clerics. Of course, Mr. Clegg has made the situation even worse: the proportion of unelected clerics in the House of Lords will actually RISE. (On this point, I wish Peter Tatchell and Dennis Skinner and others would compromise their principles, mumble the words of allegiance, accept a peerage, expose these people in the Lords, and undermine this silly institution from within, but still…)

      I would also be very keen to know just how many of the new intake of Tory MPs elected in 2010 are evangelical Christians: see how Fiona Bruce got parachuted into Congleton for example.

      PS: the Unitarian Church at Newington Green boasts ‘300 Years of Dissent’ across its entrance. It could live up to its reputation by defying the law & staging gay weddings. It would send a powerful message.

  18. Keith Farrell 10 Dec 2011, 1:58pm

    The long and short of this is, How long are we as LGBT people going to accept being treated as 2nd class. We only want to be treated as equal, have the same rights etc. I was stoppen by the police just after we entered into a civil parnership, yes my spouse is young looking and asian, but I got cross when his door was opened by the officer and they demanded proof of ID, no crime was commited, there was nothing wrong with my vehicle, the only possability was that my drivers licence is not a UK one yet, but that was a simple matter to ask me as the driver, not my spouse. I feel that had we been a hetro married couple, my spouse would have been treated very diffrently. lucky I did not react and give the officer a good strong PK. I was in South Africa and only returned this year, so you ex SA people will know what a PK is

  19. I might have more understanding/respect of LF if she actually said something like, we are only looking at civil marriage now becuase we think this is the only thing we can achieve in the timeframe but that we will certainly look at gay religious marriages and straights CPs immmediately afterwards. But saying that I still can’t seem them avoiding these 2 issues during any debate. They’ll always come back to haunt them during the debate – how does not giving us religious marriages and straight CPs ever going to pass any equality laws. We see the trouble there is at the moment with that simple change to religious CPs. The govt needs to deal with these issue now during the consultation and not pretend they can’t….it’s pointless excluding them now, the house of lords, opposition etc will always bring up the issues..

  20. I suspect the consultation will be more than just civil marriage in March 2012. The unknown factor in all this is her statement about confidential meetings up to March 2012 to shape the consultation. If she’s talking to religious groups and we kow she has already had meetings with the quakers and unitarians then I suspect religious marriages are on the agenda. If straight CP are really totally out of the question then my suspicions are that once we have gay marriage, no new gay CPs will be allowed. They can’t, it’s just such an obvious inequality. PT is right to push her ,personally I find there is so little info coming out and too much is being done in private.

  21. As far as I’m concerned civil partnerships were just a stepping stone towards marriage equality and once marriage equality is achieved they will have served their purpose and no longer be needed. If straight people want CPs or an equivalent then that’s their battle and good luck to them.

    However, preventing legal recognition of marriages carried out in gay-friendly churches etc while equivalent heterosexual marriages is clearly discrimination and an assault to religious freedom. When marriage equality comes in I would think the Quakers and co would have a strong position for taking legal action, so it is appalling that this is not included in the consultation for England & Wales.

    But it gets much worse when you consider the consequences of the fact that the Scottish consultation is for full marriage equality, including religious. This will put religious gay couples in England & Wales at a clear disadvantage.

  22. What I want to know is why there needs to be ‘a consultation’ on an issue of EQUAL HUMAN RIGHTS. Would they have had a consultation to end segregation if we’d ever had that over here? Ridiculous and side-stepping.

    1. @Emrys

      I agree with you entirely. A government doesn’t consult on every single policy or piece of proposed legislation, so why do both the British and Scottish Governments feel the need to consult on what you rightly call a human rights issue?

      I also find the words used by Evan Harris “you need to consult on this sort of thing” very offensive, as a gay man.

      1. Scotland (neither Liberals nor Torys in government there) doing the same thing shows Evan’s right though – as does the way the same procedure was followed on similar measures under Labour. Whether it’s right or wrong, and I think it’s the latter and the govt should just get on with legislating — it’s just the way government works.

        My instinct is it’s a human rights act thing, that if an unplanned nuance of the legislation came back to bite the government they need to have consulted.

  23. I’m afraid Lynne Featherstone is not the saint that many may think.

    When I wrote to her in connection with her role on the HoC Equality Bill Committee – well before the election – I did not even receive a reply. It was about my Memorandum to the Committee. I had made it clear to Lynne that she was the only member of the Committee I’d contacted.

    Lynne Featherstone has zero credibility, and – sorry to say – at the present time that’s also the position with many others in her party.

  24. What we must all remember is that if by the time of the next General Election, that we still do not have legal equality in this country that we should NOT vote LibDem.

    If the LibDems cannot legislate for equality while they are both in governmnet and hold the equalities brief, then they are effectively admitting to being totally powerless in government and that a vote for the LibDems is a wasted vote.

    1. Assuming that the Lib Dems only exist to deliver equal marriage, and only exist in coalition with other parties, your hypothesis might be correct. However, given the major Lib Dem policies such as cutting income tax for low earners, green investment, improving state pensions etc. which have gone through, and the Tory proposals such as replacing Trident and cutting inheritance tax for millionaires which have not.

      And if LGBT equality is your only concern, the Lib Dems have the longest and proudest record on this.

    2. I have to say I will judge whether to vote for LIb Dem, Labour or any other party on a range of issues and not LGBT issues alone (although they will form part of the consideration when making my decision)

  25. I’ll skip over Labour being sued by the European Courts for not complying with an EU directive for 6 years on LGBT equality until being sued, before anyone starts going on about not voting for the LD’s (who pushed the EU to do something about it).

    http://ec.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/press/press_releases/2009/pr09146_en.htm

    http://lgbt.libdems.org.uk/en/article/2009/085740/eu-must-not-let-labour-off-hook-for-discrimination

    On this particular matter, the consultation hasn’t been delayed, it was due to start in March 2012 and will, as per what was said at LD Conference by Lynne in 2011 and will.

    In the meantime, Lynne has
    a) Carried out the Trans Action Plan consultation and now legislating on harsher sentences for violence against trans people, easier access to support etc.
    b) Launched a campaign on tackling homophobia and transphobia in sport
    c) Completed a consultation on civil partnerships in religious places of worship with legislation in progress

    Bit busy in a year and a half?

  26. Labour took 5 years to get Section 28 abolished (backed by Lib Dem votes in the Commons) when they said they’d do it in one parliament.

    Give her a break, jeez. At least Labour had a stonking majority.

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