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Nick Clegg denounces free vote on equal marriage

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  1. He is entirely right to say that the Tories are wrong on this. Good to know that Lib Dems will vote en bloc. Will Labour be whipped? If not the[ proposal will perhaps fail.

    1. I doubt if it will fail, in all honesty. The Tory MPs that are against are a minority in the Commons as a whole. It’ll be a fight, but I think it will get through.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 27 May 2012, 2:32pm

        How do you know that ursus? From what I’m reading, a small minority in the Tory party mostly on the front bench support it. It’s those back benchers who are the thorn in the flesh. I wouldn’t mind betting there is less than 25% of the Tory party supporting equal marriage.

        1. Sister Mary Clarence 27 May 2012, 3:57pm

          The recent coup at the 1922 backbenchers committee actually indicates the opposite, the old guard got slaughtered and have been replaced by the Cameron loyalists.

          Several of those opposed to marriage equality lost their position and power as the Cameron’s supporters flexed their muscle.

    2. GulliverUK 27 May 2012, 1:25pm

      He is entirely right, as you say. And the Tories were whipped to vote against repealing Section 28, and I do see the argument that if it is government policy they should be voting with and supporting the government, because this isn’t really a conscience vote, as it’s Civil Marriage – nothing to do with the churches.

      BUT, I would very much like to see exactly who the bigots are. I don’t want to see a Tory politician saying he voted for X when really he was totally opposed to it. I want to know who the enemy of equality is. I seriously don’t believe there are enough bigots who will vote NO to stop it.

      ALSO, if Labour or LibDems slip in a Lords amendment extending ceremonies to all those places where Civil Partnerships can take place, AND give the same assurances which the Lords already approved, that no religious group could be sued under the equality act, then that freedom of religion vote can be done, on conscience. I don’t know if they’ll now add that amendment tho.

    3. Jack Holroyde 27 May 2012, 2:29pm

      At the 2009 LGBT Consortium Conference, then Equality Minister Maria Eagle said ‘If you are against equality, you do not belong in the Labour party’ in response to a question on the whip being used for the Civil Partnerships Act.
      I intend to make sure as many people as possible know it, and that Labour don’t forget it.
      If you’re against gay marriage, you don’t belong in a party that claims to be pro- fairness.

      I may send Ed Miliband a link to Expectation Old Streets excellent range of leather BDSM gear. Lovely whips in there.
      A lot more effective than his personality, that’s for sure.

    4. I really would be surprised if as many as 10% of the Labour party would vote against equal marriage – whether whipped or not.

      I would expect no more than 1 or 2 Lib Dems to vote against (and possibly not them if the matter is whipped)

      The Green MP is in support.

      Over 41 Conservative MPs are in support.

      If my assumptions are correct (and I am sure many more will join as time goes on) then we already have a majoirty.

      Given the history of whipping on this issue – the Conservatives are sending the wrong message. However, it will not prevent this being won in the Commons (in my view)

      1. Don’t forget that whipping affects the Lords too, where I expect the voting to be much closer.

        1. True. Nonetheless the Parliament Act could be used if the Lords fail to support humane treatment of all people and equality.

          1. I don’t think the Parliament Act applies, since enacting this legislation wasn’t a manifesto commitment of any party.

  2. Thanks for the support…just after you put the w*nkers in power. Cheers for that. Irony hurts doesn’t it?

    1. If he hadn’t put them in power, we wouldn’t have marriage equality on the agenda at all. I understand the anger at the Tories, and the Coalition, but that’s an incredibly silly comment. Do you know how hard I had to fight just to get the Labour leadership candidates to acknowledge marriage equality after the last election? No way they would have proposed it this Parliament if they were in power.

      1. Carl Rowlands 27 May 2012, 12:25pm

        Let’s not forget the differences the Labour Party did make between 1997 and 2010!

        1. Didn’t mention them as irrelevant to comment I responded to but as you brought them up I dealt with them below.

        2. Sister Mary Clarence 27 May 2012, 4:04pm

          Yes Carl, the slowly implemented legislation from Europe that the were required to do by international treaty, not always willingly and sometimes needing a push from the ECHR.

          They failed to enact or implement a number of key pieces of legislation that would have bought further equality specifically because they were NOT required to do so by Europe. Marriage equality being one.

          The also continued to deport gay asylum seekers to countries where the government knew they would potentially face torture and death because the ECHR had not yet forced them to cease reliance on the 1958 Refugee Act rather than the European Convention on Human Rights which would have afforded these people protection.

          So, your point is?

      2. Tony Blair’s government did a lot for us in the face of much opposition. Without them pushing through Civil Partnerships there would be no talk of Equal Marriage now. Labour and the Lib Dems have shamed the Tories into making the right kind of noises. I think the free vote is a shameful cop out. This is not an issue of conscience any more than any other equal rights issue is.

        1. Yes, but on most of the issues they pushed through they did so not through some sense of highmindedness but because there were pending court cases (age of consent court case inherited from Major Government, armed forces court case through ECHR, and pending cases that would’ve forced civil partnerships through too). And some of us were calling for marriage equality back during the civil partnerships debate. Unlike people like Labour’s Chris Bryant who came out against it in Parliament!!

        2. Sister Mary Clarence 27 May 2012, 4:09pm

          Labour could have easily introduced this legislation if they wanted to by if you recall Tony Blair was like a stuck record reminding the God-botherers that civil partnerships weren’t marriage.

          They didn’t introduce it because Europe never forced them too. Its a simple as that.

          It takes a matter of seconds to research each of Labour’s equality measures and their original source,. Had we had a Conservative government we would have seen exactly the same measures brought in. Don’t kid yourself.

          1. They could have easily introduced this and it was a disappointment that they did not. They might have struggled much more in the Lords at that time had it been marriage on the agenda though.

            Equally, Cameron could easily whip his party – he seems to be choosing not to. That is also disappointing.

    2. Jock S. Trap 27 May 2012, 12:28pm

      Actually democracy put this government into power. There is no irony unless of course your prefer a dictatorship just because people didn’t vote Your way.

      1. Hodge Podge 27 May 2012, 12:47pm

        “Tories 198 seats, 32.4% Labour 355 seats, 35.2% Lib Dems 62 seats, 22.1%”

        Look at that! Labour got more votes than the tories. At the very least, you have to decry the lack of seats the Lib Dems have. And lets not forget Clegg’s moderate position on cuts in the debates. Don’t quote democracy at us, this government has no mandate.

        (not that I like Labour or the Lib Dems.)

        1. Don’t know which election you got those results from, as if Labour had won 355 seats they would be in power now. I think the Tories won 306 seats and Labour something like 255 and could not construct a working majority even with the LibDems and the one Green MP.

          1. Robert in S. Kensington 27 May 2012, 3:10pm

            Absolutey right, Cathy! Equal marriage wouldn’t even be on the table if the Tories had won a mandate. That’s why I believe Nick Clegg is right about a whipped vote. Who cares if some of the bigots resign, the Tories are going to lose in 2015 anyway and even more so if they don’t see equal marriage pass into law.

        2. The actual results of the 2010 General Election.
          Conservatives 306 seats, 36.1%.
          Labour 258 seats, 29%.
          Liberal Democrats 57 seats, 23%.

          As you can see our rubbish FPTP electoral system creates a completely unfair distribution of seats, but in no way could Labour have been said to have a mandate over the Tories.

          1. None of the parties in the last election won a mandate because none won enough votes on their own to form a government. There had to be a coalition and the Lib Dems chose the Tories over Labour (largely because Labour were rude and uncooperative when they held talks about it, if memory serves). So, the Lib Dems did indeed put the Tories in power, as Louisa said.

          2. Dan Filson 27 May 2012, 2:39pm

            Manifestly 258 + 57 = 315, well short of the 326 required for even a majority of one. Labour had no chance of forming a government and, if rude to the LibDems , were proved justified after the event by the LibDems adopting policies not in their or the Tory manifesto.

        3. Spanner1960 28 May 2012, 10:51am

          I voted for nobody, and guess what?
          Nobody won.

          That’s democracy in action for you.

          1. lol

            I have to admite I prefer the Australian system where there is an obligation to vote (unless certain key exemptions are in force eg serious illness, incapacity etc)

          2. Spanner1960 28 May 2012, 4:55pm

            I have a perfectly acceptable reason:
            They are all as fcking useless as each other and none of them come close to what I want.

            Why should I be forced to pick the best of a bad deal?

          3. You arent forced to vote for anyone in the Australian system. You can choose to spoil your ballot. There merely is a requirement to attend a polling station – which tends to make people engage more effectively with politics.

  3. Thanks Nick. This is one thing you have always been consistent upon!

    Now let’s hope Labour follow your lead.

  4. Well said Nick!

  5. Revd.Paul Burrows-Gibson 27 May 2012, 12:12pm

    I would like to see the Lib Dems make a real stand on this issue, even if it means walking away from the coalition and force the hand of the Tories. Equality in marriage is essential for our human rights.

    1. Inspector General 27 May 2012, 4:48pm

      Now see here padre. We don’t want marriage devalued like this. It’s what Jesus would think too !

      1. And you base your view as to what Jesus would think on which pieces of evidence?

    2. Thanks, Paul

      I agree this is a matter I would like to see the LibDems make a complete and irrefutable line in the sand and walk away from the coalition if human rights are not respected and made right in law.

  6. Ben Austwick 27 May 2012, 12:23pm

    It’s not whipped because he’d have to deal with a load of cabinet resignations if it was. It’ll still get through and we’ll see who the bigots are.

    1. With any luck those that do not vote for it will not get a single LGBT vote at the next election and will end up not being re-elected.

    2. Ben

      I don’t think any more than 3 cabinet members would resign if he whipped them. Are they really losses?

  7. Jock S. Trap 27 May 2012, 12:31pm

    Well said Nick.

    I can’t see the difference in forcing by whips to vote for Civil Partnerships and yet not Civil Marriage.

    When will these idiots get it set that this has nothing to do with religion nor people who don’t wish to marry a same sex partner.

    1. GulliverUK 27 May 2012, 1:33pm

      In the case of Civil Partnerships it may have been to save face. 1st reading the Tories gave the impression they have changed and many were in favour, but a wrecking amendment, which they may have planned in order to scupper it before it came to a full vote was thrown out, then, when it came to the final vote they could only either confirm their previous vote for it, or explain why they had suddenly now all done a U-turn and were against it.

      As it was Tories had a low turnout 50%, and only half voted for Civil Partnerships
      (see at bottom). List of mostly Tories against it at bottom.

      1. GulliverUK 27 May 2012, 1:34pm

        ps. You can see people like Owen Paterson never voted for Civil Partnerships either.

  8. Robert in S. Kensington 27 May 2012, 12:44pm

    Totally agree with Nick Clegg. A free vote gives equal marriage a better chance of being defeated. I’m not so convinced we’ll succeed, none of us really know who in the Tory party supports it apart from those who’ve declared that they will vote for it and even they don’t appear to be in the majority. Don’t forget, there are even some in Labour who don’t back it.

  9. Dan Filson 27 May 2012, 1:00pm

    This should be a free vote decision, in my opinion, and I am sure the combination of most MPs from each party, even the Tories, should see it through. Even in the House of Lords which would hardly defy the Commons if all three main parties in the H of C vote for.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 27 May 2012, 2:29pm

      Dan, are you really that confident? I don’t even believe 25% of the Tory party are on board, but I hope I’m proved wrong. Nobody really knows how many of them will vote yes to equal marriage.

      1. Dan Filson 27 May 2012, 2:41pm

        Never underestimate the patronage power of the Prime Minister, very persuasive even on an unwhipped vote.

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 27 May 2012, 4:34pm

          Dan, I so hope you are right!

        2. Dan

          I am confident that you are right that the vote will be won.

          I also agree with you that the patronage issue of a PM etc is usually very strong.

          However, I do think the PM should look to the precedent set on the whip on CPs by the government introducing them and should follow this precedent.

          Failure to whip his MPs could be seen either as confidence that the vote will be won (which I suspect is the case) but could be perceived as being a sign that the issue is not seen as that important (whilst I believe this is untrue and mere rhetoric from the likes of Dorries, other right wingers and Christian fundamentalists – the government should be seeking to ensure they have no opportunity to hook into such false rhetoric).

          The vote will be won, all 3 major parties should whip their MPs, but the vote will be won regardless.

      2. GulliverUK 27 May 2012, 3:07pm

        That is why that table on C4EM is very important. Sow up the name NOW, let everyone see the growing support, so that the wavering fence-sitters know which side to come down on for a soft landing. It’s encouraging to see many Tories already saying YES to equality, and most of those that said NO have said no to every equality, unless caving in to whips. There are hardcore homophobes like Bone, Chope, Cash, Davies, Leigh, Julian Lewis et al.

        1. GulliverUK 27 May 2012, 3:09pm

          ps. You sound a bit glum about it Robert. Don’t give up hope as I can feel we’re nearly there — I can feel it in my toes :D

          1. Robert in S. Kensington 27 May 2012, 4:39pm

            GulliverUK, I’m trying not to give up hope but when another C4M poll rears its ugly head and gets wide coverage, then I feel very unsettled. I just wish we could see more Tory MPs speaking out in support than the small handful we have already. If we had 40-50% of them I wouldn’t have any worries, but we don’t.

          2. Inspector General 27 May 2012, 4:44pm

            Robert, you are right to be unsettled…

            Gulliver, naivety from one so young, touching !

          3. Robert

            The C4M lie – like the Inspector is lying about the need for you to be unsettled.

            It is the bigots who should be unsettled – the vote is going to be won – not only is our side the side on the right side of history, the side that is morally right, the side with massively increasing support (if you ignore the discredited C4M petition – EVERY single poll in the last 2 weeks (and many before) shows a majority of UK people supporting equal marriage), the side with the arithmetic of MPs on their side.

            This is not the sound of a naive young chap, this is the sound of realism and honest appraisal that ignores bigoted soundbites which are groundless and based in lies.

          4. Clarification

            EVERY single REPUTABLE poll.

            The Comres polls by C4M have already been discredited – I don’t count them as having any grounding in honesty or validity.

            Even polls conducted by the Telegraph, Mail and CoE have shown majority support for equal marriage

            In any event polls are not what this issue is about – its about human rights and MPs will vote appropriately and equal marriage will be clearly endorsed by the House of Commons

          5. Robert in S. Kensington 28 May 2012, 12:27pm

            GulliverUK and Stu, I feel a lot better after reading your comments. I’ll make a promise to myself not to allow C4M and its gang of haters and frauds to distract me or my confidence. I think that is probably their purpose, giving the impression they are winning. I almost fell for it. I always appreciate your inciteful comments, keep them coming and thanks to both of you.

    2. Why should they vote on it? There is no valid reason to deny us marriage. To hell with thier “conscience”.

      1. One reason they should vote on it – to change the law.

        1. You missed the point. There shouldnt need to be a point. They should just do it.

          1. You miss the point, in order to change any law there needs to be a vote … thats how we change laws.

      2. Spanner1960 28 May 2012, 10:55am

        It’s a little used concept round these parts.
        It’s called ‘democracy’.

        1. Staircase2 28 May 2012, 3:50pm

          lol what do you know about Democracy?

          You’re the least democratic person I know on here! (Just short of the daily troll…)

          Good that you’re sticking up for Democracy – although I’m deeply suspicious of your motives given your usual responses to people…

          1. Spanner1960 28 May 2012, 4:57pm

            That’s fcking rich coming from you.
            All you do is bleat on about democratic process until the vote goes in the opposite direction to the one you want, at which point you start complaining about everything being “unfair” and that human rights are above mob rule. You can’t have it both ways.

  10. Well said Nick Clegg….

    If the Tories aren’t being whipped then we will only get civil marriage I feel with the help of Labour and as such Labour need to be involved with the legislation since this is a cross-party piece of legislation and niot a govt policy.

    I feel a proper marriage equality bill needs to be produced that is acceptable to all parties. Equal civil marriage I feel is something that the lib dems agreed on only becuase of the Tories. If the Tories aren’t being whipped then lets get full marriage equality, civil and religious with opt out for religious orgs.

    For heavens sake, they got another yr to work on a proper bill before it can get into the Queens speech. If there is no whip I see don’t see why we don’t have private bill before that.

    1. John, if the draft Bill put to Parliament doesn’t include equal rights for religions to conduct same-sex marriages, there are Lib Dem MPs waiting to submit amendments.

  11. Inspector General 27 May 2012, 4:25pm

    Oh do stop congratulating him. He’s a Lib-Dem, and it’s well known that most gays are too. Nothing to do with policies, it’s just that they like the word ‘Liberal’ !

    He’d give prisoners the vote if he thought he could grub up enough support from everyone, but he’s no fool.

    This vote of conscience is great news. MPs will vote in a way that doesn’t have their reselection questioned, don’t you worry about that. Now, what are the chances of the bill going through in the light of this !

    1. The chances of the bill going through are very good indeed.

      Have a look at how many MPs support equal marriage on the C4EM website, compared with how many do not:

      Even if circumstances prevented this bill being passed, it is an inevitability that it will be passed eventually. Probably within the next five years. Very probably within the next ten. Definitely within the next twenty. And all these timescales are mere milliseconds on the temporal dial of human history.

      The days of homophobic discrimination and bigotry in Europe, Australasia and America are numbered.

      The focus now must turn to the appalling oppression of LGBT people in fascist pseudo-Islamic theocracies, and other countries where homophobic fundamentalist religious discrimination ruins the lives of gay and lesbian people. For far too long, western nations have been complacent about the atrocities happening elsewhere: a “so long as it is not in my back yard” attitude.

    2. Inspector General 27 May 2012, 6:11pm

      Twenty, I hear twenty, will anyone give me thirty ?

      Keeping marriage special for heterosexual couples is not anti gay bigotry. it’s the basic building block of our society. The real anti gay issues lie elsewhere with Johnny Foreigner’s culture. Stonewall rather quiet on that, isn’t it. Could be because they don’t want their files and documents blown out of the window by a massive blast, do you think…

      1. No. I don’t think anyone will give you “thirty”. Twenty years is a very conservative estimate.

        I agree that an opinion that marriage should be a term exclusively for heterosexual unions is not necessarily “anti-gay bigotry.” Though for some people, it is a view that *does* result from their anti-gay bigotry, and for many others it is a view that results from ignorance, and a closed world, and closed mind.

        “Johnny Foreigner”? Are you serious? Have you been locked in a cupboard for the past 60 years?

        Stonewall does campaign against homophobia abroad. They needed the consent of the Charity Commission to do so:

        Instead of worrying about the effective campaigning focus of Stonewall, I think you should worry about the Little England that has thankfully disappeared below your feet, leaving you without anywhere to stand. It is probably best for you to move to new terra firma under the circumstances. If you can.

      2. Inspector General 27 May 2012, 6:42pm

        Didn’t say that Stonewall DIDN’T campaign against foreign attitudes, but not at home eh. How long ago was the last gay protest outside of a British mosque complaining about their Islamic requirement to either hang you or through you off a cliff.

        Strikes this one that that’s slightly more important than playing happy sterile families with two gay men and a bunch of Afghan hounds standing in as ‘children’…

        1. What an insult to married heterosexual couples who are infertile.

          I don’t think you should underestimate the determination to challenge homophobia, whether it is preached in a British church or a British mosque. I don’t think demonstrations outside churches are very common, and I don’t see why they should be common outside mosques if the former is the case.

          Stonewall has proved how effective campaigns can be that do not focus on demonstrations outside religious institutions. I would never take part in a pointless demonstration outside a church or mosque, and I have been campaigning for LGBT rights for decades.

          You may need to be reminded that when religionists break the law in respect of inciting hatred against LGBT people, the law can come down on them like a ton of bricks. A case in point: the ‘Moslems’ who handed out leaflets calling on LGBT people to be executed, who themselves ended up in prison.

        2. “than playing happy sterile families with two gay men”

          What makes you think marriage is simply for making children? Are you really that insular, or do you like to unquestionably swallow the dribble of the religious dumb? What ho, eh?

      3. Why should marriage be a privilege for heterosexual’s and not a right for all. Why is my love for my partner any less valid than your love for yours? Love is love. Religion would have us all dragged back to the time of Jesus or Mohammed or Abraham etc if they could… there is a reason we need to strive for equality. It is a step in the right direction. History would not thank us for conceding the fight and letting us live however much longer as second class

      4. “it’s the basic building block of our society.”

        Indeed, and now it will be shared by gay people. Win win, isn’t it?

        Whine all you like here “Inspector”, the reality will not change about what’s going to happen. One way or another, it will change.

  12. The title of this article is very misleading.

    Disagreeing with someone’s policy is not equivalent to “denouncing” their policy.

    Indeed, Clegg does not seem to be denouncing Cameron’s decision not to instruct MPs on how to vote on this matter. According to the article, he says, “it was up to David Cameron if he wanted to force his MPs on the matter, but said Lib Dems would ‘honour what we have said as a party.’ “He’s a leader of his party, I am leader of mine.”

    He is clearly not denouncing Cameron for the decision he has made. Otherwise he would have said that Cameron *should* have forced his MPs on how to vote on this matter. Instead, Clegg is saying it is up to Cameron on how he approaches this issue.

    I enjoy reading Pink News articles, and it provides a good service to the LGBT community. But good journalism involves accurate representation. This article falls short.

    I support equal marriage as much as I support accurate journalism.

    1. Could anyone clicking on “thumbs down” for my post above please explain to me what Clegg has said about Cameron’s decision that amounts to “denouncing” it rather than “disagreeing” with it as far as how he thinks this issue should be dealt with among Lib Dem MPs.

      My point is simply that Clegg is not denouncing Cameron’s approach, and instead is diagreeing with it as the proper policy for Lib Dem MPs.

      If you are clicking on “thumbs down” just because you think Cameron should be whipping the vote, and because you think that Clegg should be denouncing Cameron, then you are completely missing my point.

      1. My comment is at -5 at the time of writing this, and not a single person has responded to my challenge.

        I am gay and I support equal marriage. But just because I point out that Clegg has not “denounced” anything, as wrongly reported in the title, my comment gets voted down, without anyone explaining why.

      2. I haven’t voted on your comment up or down, but I do disagree with it. I don’t *denounce* it because I don’t happen to be running a political party which is collaborating with your party on a broad range of policies (including opening marriage up to same gender couples) with the purpose of governing a nation. So “denounce” is too strong a word for my disagreement with your reaction.

        Pink News, however, is perfectly correct to use the strong word “denounce” because it is highly significant for the two party leaders of Britain’s coalition government to disagree with each other over their handling of a key issue such as this.

        1. Thanks for your reply.

          But what follows from your argument is that, whenever Clegg disagrees with Cameron on a “key issue”,or vice versa, the disagreement must necessarily amount to a “denunciation” merely by virtue of the fact that they are both leaders in a coalition government.

          That doesn’t make any sense at all. It reads like a contorted attempt to justify Pink News’s title by presenting a new and completely unfamiliar definition of the word “denunciation”, which normally means condemning something as reprehensible. The article does not indicate Clegg did any such thing.

          1. I suppose I elevate Clegg’s stated disagreement on this issue to a denunciation in my mind, whether the PN headline calls it that or not, simply because of the significance of the publicly stated disagreement. Clegg must find this free vote reprehensible, even though he does not use such undiplomatic words, because if he made any habit of stating his disagreements with Cameron over government policy the coalition would be finished.

            I appreciate what you say about the linguistics of what Clegg has in fact said, and you are of course correct. I guess the PN headline is based on reasoning going beyond the words actually used, and I share this reasoning.

          2. Spanner1960 28 May 2012, 1:00pm

            denounce verb (denounced, denouncing) to condemn (an action, proposal, idea, etc) strongly and openly.

    2. I think the seriousness of Clegg’s criticisms could be legitimately characterised as a denunciation.

  13. What about freedom of speech on these readers’ comments?

    If someone posts something that is given a certain number of “thumbs down” by readers, the comment disappears.

    If the “thumbs down” function were reserved for reporting abusive e.g. homophobic or racist comments, that would be all well and good.

    But instead the icon is there for people to click on if they don’t agree with a comment. Which will then disappear when enough people have clicked on the “thumbs down.”

    It seems that it is enough for someone to say that Cameron has a good case for not whipping this vote, in order to get silenced here.

    Without the facility to express unpopular opinions, we LGBT people would never have had any voice in the UK media.

    Let’s have more respect for non-abusive free speech, please. We are not children, and do not need to silence or shout down those with whom we disagree.

    1. Inspector General 27 May 2012, 5:53pm

      Gazza is right you know. It’s like the coliseum here. Thumbs up or down. Poor show, types !

      1. Glad you approve of my judgment, as I’ve replied to one of your posts above, saying I expect equal marriage to become law soon.

        Which I find very encouraging as a strong supporter of equal marriage, as well as of non-abusive freedom of speech.

      2. “Poor show, types !”

        What’s with the 1890’s what-ho-chappies bollox? Does your particular brand of bigot-nonsense require facetiously flamboyant language, or is that your particular trick to beg money from cars at the intersection?

    2. Craig Nelson 27 May 2012, 6:17pm

      PN has a history of exaggerated headlines. Most stories are fine, some a bit wild and exaggerated, with some headlines not quite fitting the story that goes with it. This article is one such.

    3. Dr Robin Guthrie 27 May 2012, 7:09pm

      This was done to combat the high number of severely offensive troll on this site.

      Some of them were so bad that they are presently under police investigation.

      The “Thumbed Down” posts, do NOT disappear, they only get less prominence . They are still there if you click on them, so enough with the freedom of speech b0ll0cks.

      Just try commenting on any of the so called “Christian Sites.


      That’s right. You cannot, as they do not allow comments full stop.

      1. “enough with the freedom of speech b0ll0cks.” Why do you have to be so aggressive? Would you reply to me like that if we had just met in person as strangers and were discussing this issue?

        I agree with what you say about the so-called Christian sites. I am gay and in full support of equal marriage. And I also value proper discussion without censorship to public view, where I don’t have to click on a link to access a comment just because ten people have disagreed with it.

        It does have to do with freedom of speech. What happens to such comments on here is not a denial of it, but it is a restriction of it, as I have explained below.

        1. Mervyn the Robot 27 May 2012, 10:13pm

          no it’s not.

    4. There is no restriction on freedom of speech

      Comments are still available to be seen by those who wish to.
      They are only hidden (but still accessible) when 10 or more people vote them down.

      As far as I am aware the only comments ever removed from PN have been extreme racism or homophobia (and I mean extreme – everyone who is here regularly knows how much is left on this site!)

      I for one often read those comments with -10, so your claim of restriction on freedom of speech is groundless in my opinion.

      1. You are right. You can click on a link to make them reappear.

        But just think about the implied message: “You are being automatically shielded from this message because it is something that ten readers have disagreed with. If you wish to, however, you can click here to read it.”

        Do people really have to be shielded in this way? Are we so fragile? So long as they are not abusive, no comments should be “put under the counter” in this way. It is a restriction on freedom of speech if comments disappear and have to be accessed in a different way from other comments because ten people have disagreed with the thesis in them. It may not be a denial of freedom of speech, but it is a restriction.

        1. Clearly you were not around before this was brought into place.

          Most regular readers were very grateful for their introduction due to the aggressive homophobia people were demonstrating their freedom of speech with on a LGBT website.

          There is no restriction if you are able to read the posts.

          They are not deleted.

          1. I have been on a few times now with a Christian perspective and i have not been blocked at all. Although i disagree with some of what is said here It is important to listen a bit and adopt the right tone, ask questions .Insults are never justified wherever they come from.

          2. @Graham

            You will know that I disagree with some of your posts, but whilst I disagree with your mindset and world view on some issues – I have found your approach to debate respectful and a willingness to accept constructive criticism, and to give appropriate cirticism.

            The people who have been completely blocked have been causing harassment and/or using vile and extremely aggressive and offensive language which is both unnecesssary and demeans debate.

            The people who have 10 or more arrows down may have adopted some offensive or ungentlemanly language or may have an opinion many Pink News readers disagree with. Regular readers will all have had minus reviews from time to time, myself included. Where its opinion that causes negative ratings even if this gets to 10 or more, the comments are accessible but their being hidden is a measure that can be used to remove some offensive language by reader control rather than editor control and reduces the need for extreme editting.

    5. Staircase2 28 May 2012, 3:47pm

      Well said Gazza

      you’re right – it would be far better to replace the thumbs up/thumbs down with a single ‘report’ button – that would then change the way that certain people react to certain other people…

      I’m a little confused as to why otherwise very intelligent posters on here seem to think that hiding someone’s post is not the same as censoring it…

      I am all in favour of this when someone has written something offensive or (as is often the case) something illegally inflamatory – but that mechanism should not be used just to disagree with something…

      Many times those comments which have been disagreed with are perfectly reasonable comments that just challenge the ongoing general knee-jerkiness of many posters on here…

      Time for a change, Pink News…!

      1. Staircase2

        I have always had a very simplistic view of what censorship is. It has always been my view that if you are able to read something then it has not been censored. Therefore comments that are removed by Pink News editors (eg those from Keith which are deleted) have effectively been censored, and legitimately so. By a single click of a mouse any comment which has been marked down is readable in its entirety. Its stretching it to call this censorship or suppression.

        The report function was removed because it was causing crashes of the PN server.

        Whilst many of us would perhaps prefer a different system with report functions and functions where there can be pre-screening of comments on certain stories etc etc – one has to accept that PN is a relatively small outfit and has limited resources.

      2. Thank you, Staircase2. You are bang on the money.

  14. If gay marriage isn’t legalised I wont be disappointed.. I’ll be effing furious! and I’ll want answers!

  15. ”We are not asking any person with religious convictions to sacrifice anything,” adding, “We are simply saying those who want to show a lifelong commitment to each other should be able to do so.”

    Nick Clegg’s evaluation is spot on.
    There is nothing left to be added.

  16. The Tories are turning out to be as unreliable as many of us feared. Mayb it’s time for an election.

    1. Spanner1960 28 May 2012, 10:49am

      And then what?
      Getting that inept bunch of lefties back? Or maybe the Tories getting a majority?

      Either way we’re fcked.

  17. Thank you Nick for speaking plain about the situation as it really is.

    It is such a shame that the anti-gay religious bigots behind C4M muddy everything with their deliberately confusing misinformation and sheer dishonesty.

  18. After lots of discussion in 2005, Canada ended up with the obvious: “As a government bill, C-38 represented the official position of Paul Martin’s Liberal government, and the cabinet were thus bound to vote in its favour. Liberal backbenchers and members of the Conservative Party and Bloc Québécois had a free vote. In accordance with its party policy on LGBT rights, the New Democratic Party (NDP) whipped its members in favour.”

  19. Mervyn the Robot 27 May 2012, 10:09pm

    I want to withdraw my vote for Boris.

  20. Spanner1960 28 May 2012, 10:47am

    If I had my way I would make all parliamentary votes free votes.

    Whips are simply undemocratic. We voted our MPs in based on their personal credentials, and so should be trusted to make the right choice for the people they represent in their constituencies, and not be railroaded into doing what the party wants.

    1. I must admit I sympathise with that view, Spanner

      I can see the argument (although I don’t think it stands up to close scrutiny) that we don’t merely vote on personality for elections – most voters vote on either a partisan basis or a combination of party/personality. Therefore, there is some expectation from the electorate that politicians will stick to the partisan line they voted for (or not as the case may be).

      That said, I think parties would be more aware of what was required by the electorate if a whip was not available – although one would wonder if some governments would have introduced some essential legislation that was controversial if they were unable to whip (of course some less essential legislation that was whipped may also not have been introduced).

      1. Spanner1960 28 May 2012, 12:57pm

        Sure, but the word “party” defines a group of people, so one would assume the party’s directives and initiatives are defined by those people we voted in in the first place on a local level. Even the Prime Minister still has a constituency they are responsible for.

        1. No political party sets its policy based on the opinions of the constituents who voted for its MPs. People vote for MPs based on the policy of the party, broadly speaking.

          1. Spanner1960 28 May 2012, 9:07pm

            Like I said, the ‘party’ *IS* the MP’s.
            Somebody, somewhere has to decide on what they want. It’s not like some bloke descends from the mountain with a bunch of stone tablets.

          2. Spanner, a party is NOT just the MPs. I have a Liberal Democrat membership card, but I’m not an MP. I play a part in developing party policy. All parties are bigger than just their elected representatives.

            MPs have a responsibility to their constituents, but they also have a responsibility to the wider electorate that gave the parties their relative strength, and the party that helped them to get elected.

            Outlawing whipping might sound like a good idea but it would actually mean legislating what is essentially an internal party issue. It’s impractical and undemocratic to legislate the way parties run themselves internally to that degree.

            In practice there are a lot of free votes in Parliament, and many more that are only lightly whipped; MPs have a lot more latitude than opponents of the whip often make out. MPs also represent their constituents in more ways than just voting aye/nay in the chamber.

    2. I always vote on party lines. I have a reasonable expectation that the person I vote for is commited to the party platform they are running on. So in this context a whipped vote seems to me to be in order.

  21. MamaMario13 28 May 2012, 1:33pm

    Wow, Australia (my home) is soooo backward. Here the debate is about whether or not MPs should be whipped into voting AGAINST marriage equality or whether or not they should be allowed a conscience vote. Even though 60% of us think it should be legal we are being represented by homophobic bigots from the dark ages. The Coalition will vote no as a bloc and 25% of Labour will vote no so its doomed. Can we trade parliaments? haha.

  22. Staircase2 28 May 2012, 3:42pm

    The article makes it really confused as to what Clegg is actually saying…
    “he said it was up to David Cameron if he wanted to force his MPs on the matter” (yet the opening paragraph says the opposite…)

    …what’s going on…?

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