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Comment: A U-turn on equal marriage would set the Tories back years

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  1. Great article, Matthew!

    The likes of Dorries, McCartney and Howarth have shown that the nasty party is still alive and kicking.

    Camerons refusal to discipline them for their attack on human rights and their bigotry speaks even louder than the ignorance of the buffoons who claim suppressing human rights has more support than fairness.

    The ignorant right wing and theocratic extremists have shown how outdated they are, when we take into account that this week major politicians in the USA, New Zealand and Cuba have all stated that they either support or do not oppose the right of LGBT people to marry.

    The campaign Out 4 Marriage shows that many people from a wide range of walks in life, famous and not, support fairness equality and integrity. They support the right of people to marry regardless of orientation. Love will conquer.

    As Obama did, and many others have before us, lets listen to the children. They don’t understand why people they look up to (whether famous gay celebrities

    1. or the same sex parents of their friends are not shown the same respect as other people – just because they love someone of the same sex. Out of the mouths of babes often comes wisdom. If they can see that orientation doesnt matter – then so should society.

  2. Robert in S. Kensington 11 May 2012, 5:01pm

    Excellent article, Matthew. It would be political suicide for Cameron to ditch the equal marriage issue and I can’t imagine he isn’t aware as well as his cabinet. Allowing the back bencher religious bullies in his party to succeed will signal a Labour Government in 2015, no question about it. We all know its the economy that caused the Tories to lose so many seats, but until Cameron summons the courage and integrity to push back on them, he can forget about re-election knowing that his own party’s opposition to equal marriage was the one of the culprits. If this does end up being dropped, the Tories can expect to remain in isolation for the next ten years or more. Are some of them really that determined to see it happen over equal marriage? Its absolutely mind-boggling. I voted for them once only in 2010, I won’t be voting for them again. Back to the Liberal Democrats or possibly Labour.

  3. Robert in S. Kensington 11 May 2012, 5:07pm

    To illustrate how nasty some of them are. Tory MP Craig Whittaker responded to an email I sent him earlier in the week asking him to produce the official evidence to support his polygamy and three-way relationship allusions.

    He avoided giving me a direct answer and instead, said…’I think you totally miss my point — my main point is the fact that by interfering with legislation on marriage now, who are we to predict what may come in the future? I highlighted the point that 45 years ago when homosexuality was legalised in our country, did our forefathers envisage that today we would have civil partnerships and indeed having discussions on same-sex marriage — I think not. On the same thread of thought, who knows what our successors will be discussing in 40 years time? I don’t know and would be a wealthy man if I did. I don’t accept that it is totally irrational and pandering to fear, but is a point that you and I disagree on.’

    What a total cop-out. Couldn’t even provide any evidence.

  4. It is also important to remember that marriage equality is a key LibDem policy and the coalition would go into meltdown if the Tories ditched it. The force behind the proposed is as much Clegg, if not more so.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 11 May 2012, 5:31pm

      Exactly. A lot of people seem to forget that if weren’t for the Liberal Democrats forming the coalition, there would be NO equal marriage consultation underway. Notice, it’s a Liberal Democrat, Lynne Featherstone (her Out4Marriage video is great too) overseeing the consultation and not a Tory to take the onus off of Cameron and his party perhaps?

      1. Craig Denney 11 May 2012, 8:02pm

        Where was the Liberal Democrats when the Tories decided to kick equal marriage into the long grass?

        1. How has it been kicked into the long grass? The consultation is still ongoing

        2. Craig falling for the lies of the right wing Tories.

          There has been no change in government policy on equal marriage.

      2. That’s simply not true. The following is a statement from page 14 of the ‘Contract for Equalities’ (Part of the Conservative Party’s 2010 manifesto):

        “We will also consider the case for changing the law to allow civil partnerships to be called and classified as marriage.”


    2. Robert in S. Kensington 11 May 2012, 8:46pm

      The Tories worst nightmare. If Nick Clegg decided to pull out, then I suppose we’d be looking at another election and a resounding defeat for the Tories. If those toxic back benchers persist in their antics, that’s what the outcome will be and it will be all because of the minority in their party. I don’t think the majority could face losing power over it.

    3. Let’s not forget that Clegg-y is a proven hypocrite and liar. I always used to be a lib dem voter but they have betrayed us (their voters). I don’t know what I will do come election time now.

  5. Craig Denney 11 May 2012, 5:52pm

    I think the crunch point will be when Michael Gove’s finishes his investigation into St Philomena’s Catholic High School and the Catholic Education Service.

    Putting this in perspective what would happen if the Coalition for ‘Equal’ Marriage did the same thing in schools. The Tories and there religious friends would freak-out and gays would go to prison for sure!

    If the headteacher is not at least sacked and the Coalition for Marriage petition is not completely discredited then we will know where the Nasty Party still stands.

  6. This is my reading of it. The Tory leadership is the political wing of the City of London but relatively socially liberal. Many back-benchers and grass-roots activists are apologists for the City of London and also social reactionaries. Some of the latter are blinkered zealots who haven’t noticed that millions of people outside the party membership lists no longer share their values or, in many cases, even understand them. Some of them are so solipsistically deluded that they even seem to believe that an active return to explicit homophobia will garner significant numbers of votes outside the party support base. They are actively hostile to a leadership which no longer panders to their prejudices and even seem determined to undermine it despite its parliamentary vulnerability. Much as I am gratified by Tory civil wars, I suspect that Cameron has enough of the characteristic ruthlessness of a Tory leader to ignore these Kamikaze buffoons and press on with marriage equality in the full

  7. …knowledge that he cannot back down on a major political commitment without serious personal damage. Apart from all that, it has every reason to reach the statute book given the current composition of parliament.
    I believe that the antics of these bigots are a distasteful and ultimately irrelevant sideshow.

  8. Robert in S. Kensington 11 May 2012, 6:38pm

    Someone posting on her several days ago said that even if 100 Tories vote no, it would still pass in Parliament having sufficient votes. I wonder how true that is.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 11 May 2012, 6:39pm

      ”’on here….

  9. There’s a very powerful leader page article by Ivan Massow on a similar theme in tonight’s Evening Standard.

    The Standard is a very influential London paper, so it’s good to see that it’s being so supportive of equal marriage.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 11 May 2012, 6:51pm

      Good article, Gerry, thanks for posting. David Cameron definitely needs to take the bull by the horns and give those back benchers a good shaking.

      President Obama’s declaration have galvanised his base and I won’t be surprised if he’s re-elected.

      If David Cameron doesn’t draw a line in the sand, then the bigoted religious nutters in his party will win the day and send their party into defeat in 2015 and back to political isolation for a good decade or more. Is that what David Cameron and his cabinet are prepared to let happen? I can’t imagine he’s not aware of that.

      1. Absolutely, Cameron needs to get off the fence PDQ. Boris showed that being decisively gay-friendly (banning the bus adverts) worked wonders, and it must have been much harder for Obama to make such a bold statement considering that the main opposition party and the bible belt is so bigoted.

        It should therefore be infinitely easier for Cameron because he has only has a few old dinosaurs to contend with, and they are almost all in his own party. If he dithers much longer, he’ll be just end up as Yesterday’s Man.

        He should just enable equal marriage at the earliest possible moment and get it over and done with. Gays will remember and boost the Tory vote at the election, but it will then be off the radar for most people, and the religiots will have nowhere to go except their own imploding churches. As their slogan used to say, ACTION, not Words !

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 12 May 2012, 12:02am

          So right, Gerry. Boris realised that pragmatism works.

    2. Great article, thanks. This stood out: “In fact, the younger generation are, paradoxically, adopting some of their parents’ values.”

      Why aren’t conservatives lapping this opportunity up?

      They complain that gays would devalue marriage but there’s evidently more chance that this could change gay self-perceptions for future generations by offering many happily married gay role models. Somehow they don’t understand that the word ‘marriage’, ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ hold a special place to gays as well as straights and we want onboard to maintain and share in that same special meaning. They’d call that conservative values so they should be the ones pushing it on us.

  10. “Young people are genuinely baffled by what they are hearing recently from the Church and the Tory extremists.”

    Not just the young – In my 30s and I’m baffled by the scale of vitriolic, anti-gay hate still simmering in this country. Even my granny said, “I thought those days were over.”

    We should all take a scroll through the comments section of any gay-related article in the Telegraph or Daily Mail simply as a reminder why rallying together as a community is still relevant and why we’re the good guys.

    The rate the Church and it’s ilk are alienating itself from the youth, it’s extinction is all but guaranteed. At least we can take comfort in those 37,501 church buildings falling in to disuse ready for us to redecorate and make a home with our happy gay families.

  11. Peter & Michael 11 May 2012, 8:16pm

    To the Conservatives, No Gay Marriage, No vote !

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 11 May 2012, 8:39pm

      I agree, but on the other hand, the bigots in their party are spinning the notion that legislating for it will lose them the election.

  12. The big mistake the Conservatives made was insisting that a period of “consultation” was to take place prior to the introduction of equal marriage- instead of just quietly legislating in the first available Queen’s Speech. The result is a long, drawn out and agonising tearing apart of the various wings of the Conservative party. The longer it goes on- the more they will be tearing each other apart- and portraying their party as “nasty” as ever. It’s ridiculous that any consultation or deliberation is occurring at all. Equal marriage is completely INEVITABLE- it’s time is NOW- we aren’t in the intolerant 50’s now!!

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 12 May 2012, 12:01am

      Well, there is something that could have been done about that. David Cameron could have shown some leadership and backbone by admonishing those in opposition. The fact of the matter is, he didn’t. He allows it to fester. He needs to draw a line in the sand and spell it out for them. Either they are with the majority in the party or they’re against, and if they’re against, then kiss the 2015 election goodbye, economic issues notwithstanding. There is no way the Tories can survive by returning to their policies during the Thatcher era that saw the introduction of Section 28. If they allow the bigots to succeed, then they will be confined to the political wilderness. I find it hard to imagine that none of them have come to that realisation. If they want another term, then they have to be pragmatic about it.

  13. Of course the ones against gay marriage are far more vocal and they take every opportunity to spin negative stories in such a way we think sometimes that the whole thing has been called off.

    If you look at the C4EM supporters website there are 98 MPs in favour and 32 opposed so far. Not the final figures of course but lots of the supporters are Tory and we should’t forget that.

    I’m still trying to get a written response from my MP to add to the list!

  14. The masturbating-by-candlelight brigade? Is that really necessary? Throwing around insults like that does nothing to help our cause.

  15. GingerlyColors 12 May 2012, 8:43am

    With gays making up only a small percentage of the population a Tory U-turn on marriage equality will hardly dent the Party’s showing in the polls, particularly as the vast majority of gays (me excluded) do not traditionally vote Conservative.
    Maybe the Conservatives should examine other issues that affect the people of this country, such as the Granny and Pasty taxes, Europe, the Human Rights Act and the economy. Of course it will be nice to see marriage equality introduced under this current government – if they don’t do it Labour certainly will but to me, they were the party who raided this country’s pension funds before throwing the money at bailing out greedy banks, nearly bankrupting the country in the process.

    1. Gay people have friends and family who care about them and consuder them when making voting choices. Thus the percentage rises. I would hope you would consider the impact on others when placing your vote too.

  16. Don’t forget where they were up to 2005.

    That’s really bad.

    I saw another article saying that the Tory cabinet we have now was more homophobic than before (don’t have the link to hand), and then this…
    That was 2009.
    A law to ban homophobic hate speech passed a key vote in the House of Commons today – despite Conservative MPs turning out to oppose it.
    that was 2009.

    “The Labour Party’s gay group says the vote on Clause 58 promises to outlaw speech that calls for the rape and murder of queers, and that encourages the bullying of vulnerable children in schools.”

    So I ask – how much difference is there between the GOP and Tories? Whilst I was beginning to relax about the Tories being in power, if they are going to do a U-Turn it could be because they had no intention of every seriously voting for marriage equality, and it was all political posturing.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 12 May 2012, 1:14pm

      I was taken in by them in 2010 and cast my first ever vote for a Tory after the shambles Gordon Brown left us with. But now, looking at the disarray over the past several weeks, I’d say the majority of them are identical to the right wing of the GOP. Looking back, I believe they’re only courting the gay vote using equal marriage as a carrot after the dismal performance in 2010. I mean, that they had to form a coalition just to gain power speaks volumes. Alieanting what little gay support it has will be their Waterloo in 2015 and failure to deliver on equal marriage will seal their fate. Those back bencher bigots are quite prepared to sabotage the Cameron crew over this issue and are intent on resurrecting the pre Section 28 homophobia, those good old Tory values. Why I wonder wasn’t a Tory heading the consultation?

  17. Barry William Teske 12 May 2012, 5:40pm

    Let us all be very clear here. This is not a brush stroke on all Conservatives or all religious people.

    This should be a heads up about a segment of people who are looking to HIGHJACK in an ‘underwear bomber’ style the freedoms that people all over the world have a right to employ. It will not stop at GLBTQ rights, it will go on to argue that people of colour have no rights, then it will renew its attack on women,and then the children.

    If the free people of the world do not take on the terrorists against personal freedoms, then we all become complicate.

    It is time to “Rise Up” yet again.

    Maybe this time we can put out the burning bush.

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