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Labour MEPs pledge support for Equal Love campaign in Europe

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  1. Will the Labour Party now become the second major party to have party policy supporting equal marriage?

    While individual politicians supporting equality a positive step, having Labour catch up with the Lib Dems on this issue would be even more welcome.

    1. The Greens were the first UK party to advocate gay marriage (back in 2005). The LibDems followed suit in July 2009. Labour became the third UK party to have it as official party policy immediately after Milliband became leader in summer 2010.

      1. Is it official party policy? Last I heard on the subject was that LGBT Labour submitted it as an emergency policy motion to the Labour Party Conference in autumn 2010, but it didn’t get voted in on the priority ballot. Why would that have happened if it was already party policy?

        1. Marriage equality is not Labour Party policy.

          Miliband claims he supports it but he has done nothing to advance it.

          In his last interview with Pink News Ed Miliband was still rabbiting on about how amazing CP Apartheid was and how we should all be grateful for it.

          Not good enouigh.

          Marriage equality can and should be a reality by summer 2012.

          1. Milliband and labour do need to move forward on supporting equal marriage …

            They may support it as individuals, but are not being explicit enough (if they do) … They are certainly not demonstrating commitment as a party (in anything I have seen) …

            Your use of the word apartheid is demeaning to those who suffered at the hands of apartheid in South Africa. Whilst the disequality in marriage in the UK is wrong – there is no segregation of a aprticular group of people. There are no places that LGBT people are not entitled to go. There are no employment restrictions on LGBT people. We can share buses, beaches, work places etc etc with non LGBT people – so whilst we do not have equality, that does not mean we are either segregated or subject to any form of apartheid. Yet another example of you deliberately using provocative language in a manner that undermines the case you state you wish to progress.

          2. Apartheid is a Dutch word meaning ‘state of separateness’.

            CP’s were invented for the sole reason of denying same-sex couples access to marriage.

            Therefore my use of the word is correct.

            And remember the Apartheid regime in South Africa was fully legal. Just as CP’s are fully legal.

            They are still abhorrent however in that they serve to deny equality to a certain group of people.

          3. @dAVID

            The definition of apartheid in the English dictionary is:

            “a·part·heid (-pärtht, -ht)
            n.
            1. An official policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in the Republic of South Africa, involving political, legal, and economic discrimination against nonwhites.
            2. A policy or practice of separating or segregating groups.”

            Your use of the word is both incorrect and provocative.

            There is no segregation.

            Some people choose to have CPs … no one in South Africa chose apartheid.

            Personally, I would like to see equal marriage and equal CPs.

          4. Spanner1960 18 Dec 2011, 8:49am

            @Stu
            dAVID’s use of the word apartheid is totally correct.
            It has been somewhat corrupted due to the Western attitudes on South Africa, but the Dutch / Afrikaans meaning of the word is simply “kept apart” – nothing more than that.

            The point is, we are kept apart from the main. If someone asks you your marital status, you cannot say “married” even if a CP is, to all intents and purposes, the same thing. As soon as you say “Civil Partnership” you have also said “I am homosexual”.

            This is WRONG.

          5. @Spanner1960

            If we were speaking Afrikaans or Dutch, fair enough …

            As it is we are speaking English … so I tend to use the English definitions of words – which I have expressed above … I suspect if I asked 100 people in any UK city what they perceived as the definition of apartheid, they would supply a definition similar to that found in the dictionary (as expressed above)

            The use of the word Apartheid which is now a word in English is wrong in the context that dAVID has used it and demeans those who suffered under apartheid.

            CPs are right for those who want them – as part of the bigger picture we need equal marriage and it will happen … our case is not advanced by sloppy use of vocabulary in deliberately provocative manners

        2. concerned resident of E3 16 Dec 2011, 9:49pm

          policy is not (and never has been) made through conference votes in the Labour party. Believe me, it is party policy and this has been the case since summer 2010. This has been explicitly stated by several members of the shadow cabinet on repeated occasions with Yvette Cooper (the relevant shadow minister) recently stating “”We have called for and support same-sex marriage and we welcome this shift in Government policy.”

      2. scottie, look back at Gay & LGBT history in the UK and you will find that the Liberal Party were campaigning on our behalf long before the Lib Dems, Greens, and Labour together.

        1. concerned resident of E3 18 Dec 2011, 7:10pm

          that’s as may be, but it is the Labour party alone that has delivered again and again and again in gay law reform in the UK from the mid sixties on. The Liberals were indeed early in the modern advocacy (if not delivery) of gay rights but lets not pretend that the Labour movement has delivered nothing for us. I suggest you google Edward Carpenter, one of the founders of the Labour Party and one of England’s first ever gay rights advocates. While Catholic conservatism may have held back progressive elements in the Labour Party there have ALWAYS been strong supporters of gay rights within the party from its very earliest days. The same cannot be said of any other political party in the UK.

  2. Spanner1960 16 Dec 2011, 12:46pm

    Too little, too late.
    As the EU is close to going critical and disappearing up its own backside, I doubt matters such as this are of any major importance.

    I would let the dust settle first before worrying the EU, and try and get this countries priorities in order first, like legalising same-sex marriage, instead of poncing about trying to appease the Europeans, the church and all the other numerous homophobic organisations taking pot-shots at us.

    1. It’s a Labour PR stunt to pretend Labour supports equality.

      Equallity is not the official Labour Party position.

      Marriage equality by summer 2012 is what we need to start demanding.

    2. Jock S. Trap 16 Dec 2011, 3:29pm

      The EU will remain no matter what, the direction may change along with the outfit but the product will remain. Wishful thinking there maybe me thinks?

  3. Great progress.

    We are still part of the EU and resolving the economic situation (whilst a priority) does not mean that business as usual does not occur. So I welcome the symbolism and support that this demonstrates.

    1. It’s empty symbolism if the official Labour Party does not endorse equality.

      Marriage equality should be a reality by summer 2012.

      That gives the government plenty of time (they’d have had even more time if they had not kept delaying their unncessary ‘consultation’ on equality.

      If we do not have marriage equality by summer 2012 then we need to start demanding why!

      1. Jock S. Trap 16 Dec 2011, 3:36pm

        Actually I think religious CP’s should be around of at least ayear or two to show those idiots the world doesn’t cave in on itself. If it takes a couple of years to get the safeguards to protect us from religious extremists and their oh so precious buildings then I’m for that. Otherwise the Church will stop us at every point with legal challenges which would then result in a situation similar to California and quite possibly years and years of bitter legal mockery just to stop us having the choice.

        Personally if I had to wait 2-3 more years to know that I could stick two fingers up at the church by getting married with or without their approval then it’s all been worth it. Just wish it could have been with the love of my life, still here hoping we get to have the choice fairly and squarely without the bitchy religious fruitloops gettin in the way!!

  4. 1. Why is equal marriage not part of the official Labour Party policy? If it is not official Labour policy then surely this support by Labour MEP’s is just a PR stunt.

    2. It’s interesting to note that even though the government claims it supports marriage equality (by 2015) that the Equal Love Campaign continues. Surely if the government was serious about equality then there would be no need for the Equal Love Campaign.

    3. I think the deadline of 2015 for equality is a complete disgrace and shows a real laclk of commitment to equality by the 2 government parties.

    4. The consulation on marriage equality should have occurred a year ago. It has been repeatedly delayed for no valid reason.

    5. Marriage equality should be a realiity by summer 2012. That is more than enough time. We need to start demanding equality by 2012. Allowing the government to tell us that we’ll be equal before the law by 2015 is simply allowing them an excuse to claim they ran out of time to introduce it.

    1. first, the Labour party have had marriage equality as official policy since 2010 and the LibDems since 2009. They can do so because they know that the vast majority of their elected MPs support the policy.

      The Tories however have a problem – Cameron and much of the front bench probably do genuinely support marriage equality. However most of the parliamentary party does not. If you add to that opposition from the Tory benches in the Lords ion cahoots with the bishops it is not hard to see why Cameron is treading very carefully. We don’t have government by diktat and cabinets can only execute policies as legislation with the consent of both the lower and the upper house. Remember the difficulties Labour had in bringing in an equal age of consent and that was even with clear parliamentary majorities in the Commons.

      I am not a Tory and never will be but kind of feel waving our hands in the air and demanding action on an unrealistic timetable will be self-defeating.

      In Scotland the issue is different. Holyrood is unicameral so a simple parliamentary majority would deliver change fast. Salmond probably could deliver that majority if he chose to but he has one particular problem: the biggest contributor to the SNP before the last election was Brian Soutar who is himself at the forefront of the campaign against equal marriage. So Salmond is dragging his feet and hiding behind the english soncultation period. Shouting and protesting about this WILL shame him in to acting and we should be doing that as much as possible. If Scotland legislates for marriage equality early it will make the momentum unstoppable for England (as it did over the age of consent before).

  5. I don’t see how Labour can hold out much longer on this issue. Once that happens, it’s going to push the Tory party into a corner, even though David Cameron has voiced support. If it wants re-election in 2015, it had better start making noise and adopt it as official policy. If Miliband adopts is, it’s definitely going to put pressure on the Tories, no question about it.

  6. Jock S. Trap 16 Dec 2011, 3:26pm

    This is good news and positive in the progress department. Here’s hoping it will make a difference. It would be good to see all major parties now follow the Lib Dems and back marriage equality.

    I know David Cameron and Nick Clegg does but lets have the parties make the pledge.

  7. Dave, the Labour Party will have to endorse it if it wants to keep or gain more of the gay vote. I can’t see the Tories standing idly by if it does whether they like it or not. Let’s face it, they only barely scraped through in the last election and joined with the Liberal Democrats to form a government. It would be foolish if they didn’t, political suicide. The Tories need every vote they can get in 2015, especially the gay vote.

  8. Unfortuntely there’s an epetition to stop gay marriage standing with 3577 signatures and the equal love petition stands with 2196 signatures only.

    I’d like the labour party and conservatives to adopt a policy but which one?Gay marriage only, gay marriage and CP equality, gay marriage and some new kind of partnership policy?.

    It would be nice if we stuck to one policy, one petition and we got thousand and thousands of signatures in support of it and it was endorsed by everyone.

    1. concerned resident of E3 16 Dec 2011, 10:01pm

      the Labour Party *does’ have a policy and supports gay marriage. This has been the case for more than a year now as has repeatedly been stated by shadow ministers. For example Yvette Cooper, the relevant minister, recenty stated “”We have called for and support same-sex marriage”

      It dismays me that despite this it would appear that most gay people posting here believe the opposite . . .

      1. I admit I thought labour didn’t have a party policy but knew they had put their support against SS marrigae. I don’t know if there’s a difference between just support and policy – would backbenchers have a conscience vote or something?

        Have they put their support against , the lab MEPs have by signing this petition. My worry is that there isn’t a consistent policy or petition out there…

        1. concerned resident of E3 17 Dec 2011, 8:36am

          written physical policies only really get written down for manifestos when parties are making a committment to the electorate. In this way the Greens wrote it in to their 2005 manifesto an the LibDems into their 2010 manifesto. Other than that, outside the election period policy is more mutable and dependent on events. For an opposition it will depend largely on the agenda set by the government. This government announced early on that they would have a consultation on gay marriage (though it took a while to get going). So it was important to respond. I think many straight people in Labour previously did think that civil partnerships were enough but in the summer of 2010 that position evolved with a growing campaign from gay people and their supporters within the Labour movement so that one by one each candidate in the leadership election came out in support. Once Ed was elected the shadow cabinet met and thrashed out their agenda on a whole range of issues including gay marriage.

          1. concerned resident of E3 17 Dec 2011, 8:41am

            inasmuch as there is policy outside of manifestos, this is policy and it has been publicly stated several times.

            If, at the end of he consultation, the coalition decides to introduce legislation, they will decide how parliamentary votes are implemeted – ie threeline whip or free vote (my guess is the coalition will go for a free vote). That choice will dictate how the Labour MPs end up voting but note that in every single piece of gay rights legislation for the last half century – the overwhelming majority of Labour MPs have always supported gay rights. That is not actually true of any other UK party, even the libdems.

          2. Until Miliband adopts marriage equality as official policy, the Labour Party and Tory Party do NOT support it even though both he and Cameron do.

          3. concerned resident of E3 17 Dec 2011, 3:10pm

            aaaaaaarrrrrggghhh. IT *IS* OFFICIAL LABOUR PARTY POLICY FFS!!!!!!!

          4. concerned resident of E3 17 Dec 2011, 3:24pm

            Ed Milliband: “I want to see heterosexual and same-sex partnerships put on an equal basis and a Labour Party that I lead will campaign to make gay marriage happen.”
            Now I am not a supporter of Milliband but he and his shadow cabinet have unequivocally and repeatedly stated that they will campaign FOR gay marriage and yet you ignorant dweebs all ignore it and try and pretend there is some parity with a Tory front bench who have NEVER said they will support gay marriage and whose backbenchers have a history right up to the present moment of always supporting the homophobic end of any argument. Sheesh!

          5. Have Labour taken a vote on it as official policy? Nick Clegg’s party did. Until that happens, it isn’t official party policy just because Miliband says he and his party will campaign for it. Only two parties have voted on and adopted it as official policy and Labour or Tory parties aren’t among them.

          6. concerned resident of E3 17 Dec 2011, 11:54pm

            Robert, Labour policy is NOT formulated by conference votes, most of which are only symbolic. Actually the same is true of the LibDems too.

          7. Jock S. Trap 20 Dec 2011, 10:06am

            Actually concerned resident of E3 he may have said those thing but it is as yet Not Labour party policy. Only the Lib Dems to date have marriage equality as party policy.

          8. concerned resident of E3 25 Dec 2011, 12:00pm

            you are wrong Jock. Right back at the start of this debate I was a little ncertain so contacted central office. It is official party policy just has been stated repeatedly by multiple members of the cabinet. It is actually dismaying that no matter how many times they announce it, people like you just claim they are lying or something.

        2. concerned resident of E3 18 Dec 2011, 7:30pm

          even the archbishop of canterbury is clear that marriage equality is official labour policy: http://virgov.co.uk/broadsheets/?p=127

  9. We don’t even know where we are going with gay CPs yet…if the British gay CP is found to be redundant after gay marriage then why bother with the call for straight CPs.

    Why do we have to confuse the whole issue by calling for straight CPs when the issue is bringing in marriage equality , full marriage equality ie religious marriages as well.

    As someone pointed out above labour has supported the call for SS marriage , but has it done the same for straight CPs?

    They are totally seperate issues but agree with PT that they should be part of the consultation process but only becuase we need to know what is happenning with gay CPs.

  10. Craig Nelson 17 Dec 2011, 10:13pm

    It’s clear Labour supports marriage equality from statements of the Leader and front bench. What is holding up marriage equality is the Government delaying its consultation to March 2012 and only promising to bring it in before 2015. When it comes before Parliament it will carry largely on Labour MP’s votes with a lot of Tory MP’s voting against – this is why the Government is dragging its feet on it instead of acting upon it with a clear timetable to implement. As they are proposing to introduce the possibility of same sex civil marriage only there is no reason to delay and it can be introduced pretty much straight away – just do a brief consultation, introduce the Bill in 2012/13 and then bring it into effect as soon as it is passed. Having made the decision to move forwards there is simply no reason for a delay. There is no reason it cannot all be done in 2012 rather than dragging it out.

    1. Craig – yep !

      I agree labour support marriage equality regardless of whether there is a set policy and that is all we know. That probably also goes for the majority of the Tory MPs as well. Who knows about the house of lords, they’re a bit unpredictable.

      I just wish we would leave straight CPs out of the petitions and debate sincce apart from the lib dems??? no-one knows what position the other parties hold on that point.

      If PT wants to add this to the debate then we may not get marriage equality for ages. We all agree the real issue is gay marriage so I wish the labour MEPs and PT would stick to this point only becuase this could happen quite quickly if we stop fannying around with the issue of straight CPs. In fact if we admitted that CPs were redunant after gay marriage then I really can’t see what the delay could be.

      1. concerned resident of E3 17 Dec 2011, 11:57pm

        How do you figure “most of the Tory MPs” support marriage equality????? Suggest you go back and look at a few parliamentary votes on gay rights – they may surpise you. Even on civil partnerships when the Tory front bench supported the legislation, a majority of Tory backbenchers opposed it. Get real for a moment and stop being taken in by Cameron’s soft soap.

        1. I concur. I remember when Cameron declared support at the party conference back in October. There wasn’t exactly rapturous applause. A lot of the old age pensioners sat there stone-faced and didn’t even clap. Cameron’s wife seemed enthusiastic and cracked a smile once he voiced support. I suspect she is the one motivating him. That said, I still think it would push the Tories into a corner if Ed Miliband did in fact adopt marriage equality as official policy. The Tories would be hard pressed to resist it with the Liberal Democrats and Labour on our side and what that would portend for the Tories in the the next election in 2015.

          1. concerned resident of E3 18 Dec 2011, 7:15pm

            for the last time, Milliband has explicitly stated it is party policy as have the LibDems some time before. Unfortunately the Tories have not and neither have the SNP (yet) preferring to wait for the end of the consultation. I don’t doubt Cameron’s personal commitment to gay rights actually, I just doubt he will be able to carry his party with him in any vote. He will likely plump for a free vote as he cannot really afford a rebellion on that scale.

        2. concerned resident – I don’t tink for an instant we would be having even a consultation on gay marriage if Cameron didn’t feel he had a majority vote in the commons on this issue. He’d personally look weak and his party homophobic. Yes, I agree the Tories MPs will probably rebel more than labour MPs but I believe there will be rebels both in the labour and lib dem party as well who will be totally against this.

          From my experience here in Australia , most Catholic MPs,
          regardless of what arguments you throw at them, will never support gay marriage. I can’t see the UK being much different.

          You have the added problem of old homophobes in the house of lords who really are unpredictable and many of whom aren’t of any party.

          I think labour ,becuase of relgiious reasons, will also give their MPs a free vote…

          And once again apart from your insistence that laour has a gay mariage policy none of us know what they think of relgious marriages or straight CPs and this is what PT and the labour MEPs have signed up to ie a different policy to the one that you say labour has!!!

          1. he will have a majority vote for it in a free vote largely with LibDem, Labour and nationalist backing. That is how every other gay rights vote has stackked up for the last 40 years and I just see no evidence whatsoever that it will change this time round.

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