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Comment: Why does the equality minister oppose marriage equality? by Peter Tatchell

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  1. Jennie Kermode 9 Dec 2011, 3:28pm

    Could it be that Lynne is waiting for the results of Scotland’s consultation on equal marriage, and related actions by the Scottish government, to become clear? This would provide her with a useful model and with a much clearer idea of the political approach most likely to be effective.

    1. that’s not an acceptable excuse.

      There are at least 10 countries with full equality already.

      The consultation is a delaying tactic. Nothing more.

      There is absolutely no need for a consultation. The fact that law abiding, tax-paying citizens are denied equal access to the civil contract of marriage simply because they are gay, is completely unjustifiable.

      The deadline of 2015 for marriage equality has been selected for a reason. Namely – to allow the government pretend they have run out of time.

      Marriage equality could be a reality by summer 2012 if the political will existed.

      If there is not equality by the time of the next General election then it is clear that the government has been telling barefaced lies about their professed support for equality.

  2. This is just a re-print of Tatchell’s smear from Lib Dem Voice at

    , with no reference to Evan Harris’ excellent rebuttal at

    1. Tatchell’s piece was not a ‘smear’.

      It is completely fair and asks some very reasonable questions that Featherstone is refusing to answer.

      1. Dave Page 9 Dec 2011, 5:11pm

        Tatchell’s piece tries to insinuate that Lynne Featherstone and Nick Clegg are personally opposed to the equalities for LGBT people for which they, and the Liberal Democrats as a whole, have fought for many years. It is nasty smear-ridden conspiracy theory twaddle.

  3. The whole thing is badly thought out. The ban on legal recognition of marriages performed by Quakers etc is a blight on religious freedom and is unacceptable and unsustainable.

    The situation is on a collision course because the Scottish government’s consultation DOES include full marriage equality, i.e. including religious marriage for those faiths that opt in.

    So what happens when Scotland recognises marriages that England & Wales don’t? Religious gay couples will have to head to Gretna Green to marry! It’s ridiculous.

    1. If Scotland introduces marriage equality before England and Wales then I expect there will be court cases for the Westminister government to defend,

      What is clear is that we cannot rely on the word of politicians or political parties.

      They will say ANYTHING to get votes. They need their feet held to the fire in order to make sure they honour their promises.

      Marriage equality could be a reality by summer 2012. We need to start asking why 2015 seems to have been decided as the apprropriate date (hint: it’s to allow the government to pretend they ran out of time to introduce equality).

  4. 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. well, lib dems knew tory party hostile stance on gay issues, so why go ahead with proposals for marriage equality in first place, so whats that all about?

  5. The lib dems are treacherous with their empty promises, to those who voted for them. I can’t wait to see their decimation at the next election.

    1. And thus have Labour and the Tories gain more power instead? Neither party of which has formally endorsed same-sex marriage (or electoral reform, etc). The Lib Dems are bound by the fact they are in coalition with the Tories. Their defeat in the 2015 seems inevitable at the moment, so I guess we can only HOPE that Labour *finally* progresses on same-sex marriage as it is likely to take most of the votes.

    2. And end up with Labour and the Conservatives picking up their votes? Two parties that have yet to formally endorse same-sex marriage (or electoral reform, etc). The Lib Dem loss at the next elections seems inevitable at the moment- this means we can only HOPE Labour *finally* progresses and formally supports marriage equality if they win.

    3. hilary clare 9 Dec 2011, 8:37pm

      “decimation” implies 90% of their old voters will vote for them – did you mean that>

  6. Make no mistake… the Tories plan is to get rid of the Lib Dems and assume total control. They are well ahead with their plans to swerve the party to appease to the nastier “extreme right” elements in the country. As expected they’ve already managed to put the party back on their natural fascistic path. If Mrs Featherstone is trying to play strategic games, she can forget that…is she aware of the carpet being pulled from under her feet?

    1. The LibDems need to grow a spine.

      The shameful way they capitulated on university tuition fees, and now their behaviour on LGBT equality, is simply painting the party as entirely ineffective and irrelevant.

      1. They capitulated on so many things, and now they’re starting to feel irrelevant as on the other side DC himself is capitulating ever more to his ewwro/homophobic backbenchers. Nick is left with no other option but moan, moan and moan some more … All of this was already written on the cards from the word go …

  7. Keith Farrell 9 Dec 2011, 7:47pm

    All I can say about this discussion is WHY?
    the goverment says we are equal in terms of the law between a civil partnership and a married couple, but it seems that straight couples would prefer to have a civil partnership because they feal it is better for them. If this is the case how can the goverment say that these two laws give the same rights, when it does not.
    we, my partner and I, feel that if our civil parnership is not equal to a marrage, then why have a civil partnership, admittedly we needed to be legal so that my spouse would have no trouble with his visa, although that is another problem story and very expensive to do when you have a limited income and your spouse cannot wotk because the visa expires shrtly, the obtain the required visa, you need to be able to prove that you do not need goverment funds, but you cannot work because your visa is about to expire, I wonder if the straight people have the same problems, is it just me or is this goverment still stuck in the past, seems I would have had more rights for my spouse had I stayed back in South Africa and it would not have cost me as much.

  8. Agreed.

  9. Peter Tatchell 10 Dec 2011, 12:43am

    True, Lynne 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.

  10. We need equality. Personaly i want state marriage. I want to be able to marry my partner

  11. I doubt we would have got the promises of equal civil marriage, religious CPs, human rights considerations in international aid, plans to remove certain historic offences from criminal records, change to blood donation rights, better consideration of LGBT issues in terms of immigration, improving of how hate crimes are responded to etc etc if we had been in a Tory majority government without the LibDems or a Labour majoirty government (Labour had just had nearly 13 years to alter these areas of law).

    Yes, there are lots of improvements in addition to these that should be made, and some of those made do not go far enough … but its churlish to suggest that equality has not improved … lets urge more rather than deny whats already happened

    1. … busy counting crumbs initiated during the last government while totally unaware of a massive army of road rollers and bulldozers heading in your direction…. priceless…

  12. Very good article. I don’t understand the need for consultation either. It makes no sense. Just get on with it and make civil marriage gender neutral (same with CPs), and allow religious groups to choose whom they marry just as they do in the case of divorcees, etc.

    Why’s it so hard? Why would it take years?? Pathetic and insulting.

  13. carrie baker 13 Dec 2011, 3:22am

    THE presidents and human rights parties must start serious actions and reprimands against the bigoted part of the republican parties, for discrimanations Obama has ground and so do democratic party , to reprimand them for the discrimantion of women and gay candidates, the republicans blocked all of the women candidates and have tried to block all gay candidates, thats in your face discrimination, they have not within the week came up with where any of the people have commiteed terrorism against the people of the nation, and themselves as individuals, the republican are the terrorist and is commiting crimses of discrimantions, against women candidates and gay one, legal momentum and the acclu and judge virginia , an women rights lawyers had better get involved and sue the republican party for interffering with good candidates , the president must override their blocks because of their false stance, and defamations all unfounded rehetereic , which is really their own personal bigotry

  14. postopgirl 29 Dec 2011, 6:46pm

    well its not all that surprising is it, I mean she has stated that the coalition will not get rid of those amendments in the “2010 Single In-Equality Act” that reverse transsexual rights, and didn’t her boss Theresa May vote against every LGBT rights legislation whilst in opposition, or at least the vast majority ?

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