Enter your email address to receive our daily LGBT news roundup

You're free to unsubscribe at any time.

‘Vocal minority’ of Tories fear equal marriage will alienate volunteers

Post your comment

Comments on this article are now closed.

Reader comments

  1. But does it matter? Do we really want people in politics, even at a grass roots level, whatever party they represent, to have anti-equality views? Would it be a loss if they were excluded? I suspect not!

  2. Garry Cassell 31 Jul 2012, 5:23pm

    Seems like this “vocal minority” is just trying to create fear where none exist…

  3. Mark Pritchard MP ….he talks a lot about our people but according to the C4EM website is unable to make his own mind up on SS marriage…..typical stirrer I think….

  4. So LGBTory were given permission to comment on this story by Tory HQ.

    Such a pity that they are so deafeningly silent each and every time yet another Tory MP reveals him/herself to be a BNP style homophobe (and there are many, many neo-fascist homophobic bigots in the Nasty Tory Party).

    Never trust a gay Tory – these people have serious issues.

    Marriage equality will be in spite of (not because of the Tory Party.)

    1. dAVID, you again are peddling this line that “Marriage equality will be in spite of (not because of the Tory Party.)”

      Several times I have asked you to justify this statement yet you never seem willing to do so. Previously you have alluded to the shadowy group of Tory MPs, ranging from 100 to 150 I believe was your highest claim. Given that only 58 Tory MPs are currently listed on the C4EM as against SSM and that there are in total 306 Tory MPs, even IF there was 150 Tory MPs who did vote against SSM then that would leave a majority of Tory MPs voting in favour. Therefore I’d be very interested in how you justify your assertion, rather than just being a false statement based on your pretty clear anti Tory bias

      1. I don’t see how this statement is controversial. Almost all of the parliamentary opposition to marriage equality is coming from the Tories. You say that only 58 Tory MPs are listed as opposing SSM, but then only 15 other MPs have stated their opposition, 8 of them being from the notoriously homophobic DUP (and only 72 Conservatives have stated their support, a far smaller proportion of their MPs than the other two main parties). While many Conservatives, including Cameron, have stated their personal support for marriage equality, this does seem to be being driven, to a great extent, by the Lib Dems, and it seems clear to me that it would be less likely to be going ahead under a Tory majority government.

        dAVID’s rhetoric was just a bit over the top, and there is nothing wrong with supporting the Tories if you agree with them in other policy areas, but I don’t think you can deny that, for the last few decades, they have consistently been the most anti-LGBT of the main parties.

        1. James

          It’s true that the Tories have been the most anti-LGBT of the main parties for the last few decades. But great progress has been made over recent years, and that should be acknowledged too. To the extent that the Conservative PM is passionately committed to LGBT rights and same-sex marriage.

          We should not be disregarding or dismissing the large chunk of Tory MPs who support same-sex marriage just because most Tory MPs have been homophobic in the past. The past is the past. If we reject today’s liberal Conservative Party because of shortcomings of the past, it will strengthen the position of homophobes in the Party, who have no interest in our support.

          It is absolutely incorrect to suggest that marriage equality is being driven to a great extent by the Lib Dems. The commitment was in the Conservative election manifesto literature, and was reported on by the Telegraph. For many Tories, this is a matter of principle, and consonant with conservative philosophy.

          1. I just looked up the main three parties’ 2010 manifestos, searched for the terms “marriage”, “marry”, “LGBT”, and “gay” and didn’t find any mention of marriage equality in any of them – maybe it was in some supplementary document? My understanding is that, before the election, the Conservatives and Labour refused to give a clear position, while senior Lib Dems including Clegg stated their support for marriage equality, but failed to put it in their manifesto.

            The reason I say it appears to be driven by the Lib Dems is because Clegg and Featherstone seem to be defending the plans far more vigorously than any of the Conservative ministers, the Tories only declared their support for equality once the coalition was formed (I think?), and I find it hard to believe that Cameron is really serious about this when just four years ago he was arguing that lesbian couples shouldn’t be allowed IVF.

          2. James

            There is no reference to equal marriage in the Labour election manifesto for the 2010 general election. There was a clear suggestion by Brown at the election that CPs were as far as Labour (at that time) were prepared to go.

            The decision to support equal marriage was not ratified by the Lib Dems in time for the publication of their manifesto but there was clear support by the leadership for equal marriage eg when Nick Clegg said “Yes I support gay marriage” http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2010/04/14/lib-dems-introduce-lgbt-manifesto-but-leave-out-their-previous-promise-of-full-gay-marriage-rights/

            However, it was a manifesto commitment of the Conservative party in their equalities supplement. It stated “We will also consider the case for changing the law to allow civil partnerships to be called and classified as marriage.”
            http://www.conservatives.com/news/news_stories/2010/05/~/media/Files/Downloadable%20Files/Manifesto/Equalities-Manifesto.ashx

            If one adopts a

          3. simplistic approach then it appears that the Conservatives (of the 3 main parties) was leading the way on equal marriage at the 2010 election. Of course, it is not quite that straightforward – but it is the only clear commitment by any of the 3 parties. Only the Greens did similarly.

        2. James, I’m in no way supportive of the Tories and have never voted for them. I just find that particular statement of dAVID’s to be incredibly biased with no factual basis and would like him to justify it

          1. James

            It was in the Conservatives’ Contract for Equalities and was reported on pre-election:

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/7673224/Gay-couples-could-be-allowed-to-marry-under-Tory-election-plans.html

            You say, “Clegg and Featherstone seem to be defending the plans far more vigorously than any of the Conservative ministers,” but Cameron has been no less vigorous than Clegg in defending the policy, and Lynne Featherstone is going to be at the centre of defending this policy, being the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Equalities. There are excellent videos on YouTube of Tory ministers and MPs expressing they are Out for Marriage.

            Yes, the PM has changed his mind about LGBT rights. Something to celebrate, perhaps, instead of treating him as though he hasn’t changed his mind. He has a lot to lose by supporting this policy. And he is supporting it regardless.

            He seems to be damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t. Thankfully he remains committed, regardless.

    2. dAVID

      Your comments often come across as pretty stereotyping, extreme, hysterical and aggressive.

      Recently I was in a discussion with someone online who pasted a really unpleasant hot-headed post from you, that he had copied from Pink News, into his post to me, to try to undermine my case for supporting equal marriage by implying I was on the side of hysterical and unreasonable people.

      I can perfectly understand you being angry about homophobia, but it really doesn’t help us to make progress with equal marriage when you post like this.

      So you don’t support the Conservative Party. Fair enough. But there are plenty of Conservatives who are progressive on the issue of LGBT rights. Why not say, “I am opposed to the Tories, but the support of many for LGBT rights in the Tory Party is a positive development?”

      Yes, I am a Tory. And I do have serious issues: with homophobes, and with people who provide homophobes with ammunition by being so aggressive, even to other LGBT activists.

      1. Anyone who opposes equal access to civil marriage for LGBT people is a neo-fascist bigot.

        That is a statement of fact – it is neither hysterical nor aggressive.

        Opposing equal civil rights for a minority group is neo-fascist extremism.

        1. And the majority of neo-fascist extremists in parliament are Tories.

          Again – a statement of fact.

          1. Vote my comment down all you like.

            It is an undisputed fact that the most homophobic party in parliament is the Tories.

          2. dAVID

            You say, “It is an undisputed fact that the most homophobic party in parliament is the Tories.”

            Ever heard of the DUP?

            When you end your posts with “Again – a statement of fact,” do you really think that the person reading them suddenly thinks, “Oh, he says what he is written is a fact. So it must be true.”

            If so, then I have to disappoint you.

            You behave like someone shouting at a demo and waving a banner, which means you cannot hear what anyone else is saying.

            Please put the banner down, calm down, and listen. And think.

    3. Oh do change the record dAVID, you’re like an ancient soothsayer, stuck in a 1980s groove! Get with it and join the real world of the 2010s where as many younger gays are Out, Conservative and Proud as gay liberal or labour supporters. The time of minding your burning brassiers on miners strike picket lines are long gone.

      Marriage equality is being progressed by the Conservatives, not the half-way house your lot voted in 7 years ago, Cameron is very publicly leading on this one, sorry if this turns your socialist worker world on its head, but this is 2012.

      And as for the vocal minority of anti-equality ranters – they are hardly going to vote Labour or Lib Dem so the Conservative Party shouldn’t pander to them.

      1. Approximately HALF of Tory MP’s will vote against equal marriage (despite what the PR crap that snake-oil salesman David Cameron spouts).

        marriage equality will be in spite of not because of the Tories.

        This is a statement of fact.

        1. “marriage equality will be in spite of not because of the Tories.

          This is a statement of fact.”

          Is it? Then why do you constantly seem to avoid giving me an answer to PROVE this statement of fact when I ask and outline why I’m asking?

          1. Until marriage equality becomes a reality – stating why and how it will happen, and what the causes of it are pure speculation not fact – as much as dAVID might like (due to whatever motivation) to dress it up as something different.

          2. Because the number of neo-fascist Tories who will vote against equality means that the ConDem coalition will not have enough votes for it to pass.

            In order to pass it will require Labour support.

            Therefore it is a statement of fact to say equality will be in spite of the neo-fascists in the Tory party.

            All this is assumuing that it is voted on during this government

          3. OK. Name all these “neo facist Tory MPs”.

            What, it appears, you are giving is your opinion based on rumours and your own,very clear, political bias.

            If you wish to claim your statement as fact then feel free to name or post a link to a definitive list of the 154 Tory MPs in question that would mean the Tory majority would not be voting in favour of equal marriage.

            All I’m aware of is the murmerings of the right wing press about an alleged group of 100-150 Tory MPs ready to rebel of this issue. The C4EM don’t have 3/4′s of that number(based on the 100 figure) so if your statement is fact then where’s the proof

          4. Wouldn’t that be democracy happening – a vote of MPs that leads to a change in law? Law proposed by a Conservative and Lib Dem coalition government. Suggests the Conservatives have had some input into this!!!

  5. Emma Pidding: “Anything which upsets any of my members, I don’t like to see that.”

    Does that mean that none of her members would be upset about her anti-gay comments?

    1. I took Emma Pidding as meaning that if her members were in favour of homophobia then so was she – and that is a shameful and spineless attitude.

  6. Cardinal Capone 31 Jul 2012, 5:48pm

    Have they not learned after going through 4 loser leaders, that the “traditional” Tory brand made them totally unelectable at least since 1997? They need to understand their opinions are deeply unpopular.

    1. They seem to be slow evolvers don’t they?

      Is this a party that can be entrusted with the country in the 21st century?

      1. Cardinal Capone 1 Aug 2012, 10:53am

        I always have the suspicion that they would revert if they didn’t have the libdems as a counterbalance to the right wing. The people in this article are like a recessive gene that could reappear at any time.

  7. These fear mongers NEVER point out that such a move could, and probably would, attract as many volunteers as it would repel. It would certainly attract as many young volunteers as it would repel those with one foot in the grave. And really, which set of volunteers does an intelligent campaign invest its FUTURE in?

  8. Do some of these people really believe that most people want to live in society resembling the 1950s? They were only the good old days if viewed through rose tinted spectacles, or if you were very wealthy and enjoyed all the cap doffing.

    Do they also assume that there are no LGBT amongst their volunteers, in or out of the closet?

    1. I think what the statement says is the vocal minority not supporting equal marriage are alienating LGBT volunteers. It is that minority who think all LGBT people think left

  9. And precisely which party are these disenfranchised Tories going to vote for? Lib Dem? Labour? Or maybe a ‘new’ nasty party like UKIP or BNP? I think the modernised Tory party would be well rid- and furthermore no longer tainted with the ‘nasty’ label.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 1 Aug 2012, 12:03am

      Those disenfranchised bigots will guarantee a Labour victory. For the sake of unity, they’d better hold their collective noses, vote for equal marriage or get what they didn’t wish for. That’s why a whipped vote would resolve the debacle once and for all.

    2. The disenfranchised Tories will go to their natural home – the BNP.

  10. Pavlos Prince of Greece 31 Jul 2012, 6:05pm

    ‘Local volunteers’ like, for example, Mr. O`Brien or Mr. Tarttaglia, I am right?

  11. So who else are they going to vote for, the far right?

    If they don’t vote they lose anyway.

    The tide is against them.

  12. Robert in S. Kensington 31 Jul 2012, 6:15pm

    And all of those nasty tory bigots who signed the C4M petition who vowed they won’t vote for the Tory party because of equal marriage will stay home I suppose. Good…that will guarantee a Labour victory and probably with a landslide. How stupid can they really be? Not voting for their party and staying home is only hurting their own interests. To paraphrase Abfab’s Edina Monsoon character, a pity there isn’t a stupid tax for stupid people. That goes for the Tory backbenchers too. If they want re-election, they’d better evolve and support equal marriage.

  13. Of course it is no surprise that talk of equal marriage is upsetting the Tory bedrock. I can’t see myself ever voting Tory – I haven’t forgiven them for Clause 28 and their opposition to GLBT rights in more recent years but I am really pleasantly surprised at how, with Lib Dem prompting, so many in the party now are enthusiastically (or grudgingly) coming to terms with equality and respect for Gay people. The dinosaurs of the party will follow or die off.

    1. That’s a heartening post, Cal. I would say though that David Cameron has not needed to be prompted by the Lib Dems to support LGBT rights. He describes himself as a “slow learner” on the subject, but he is a totally committed supporter of equality. There are a number of Conservative MPs who passionately support LGBT rights. And contrary to the religious propaganda, the commitment to look into legalising same-sex marriage was included in the Conservative election manifesto material, and was reported on by the Daily Telegraph before the election: so, presumably, before the Tories had any idea they would end up in a coalition.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/7673224/Gay-couples-could-be-allowed-to-marry-under-Tory-election-plans.html

      1. It generally has seemed, though, that the Conservative rethink on LGBT rights was borne more out of their ‘detoxification’ strategy of appearing more modern and caring, than out of any actual concern for LGBT people. Even Cameron’s speech to the LGBT reception at Downing Street a few days ago (http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/07/25/david-camerons-speech-to-the-downing-street-lgbt-community-reception/) wasn’t exactly convincing: the two main reasons he gave for supporting marriage equality were (1) he thinks marriage is really great and thinks there should be more of it and (2) he thinks opposition to LGBT rights turned people off the Tory party who could otherwise have been supporters.

        1. James

          You have misunderstood. He did present two arguments. The first was that he thinks marriage is a very good institution, and that if it is good enough for straight people, it is good enough for LGBT people as well. So the point he was making was that we should not be shut out of something good just because we are LGBT.

          The other point he made was that the Conservative Party’s unsympathetic attitude towards LGBT people in the past has alienated natural conservatives. I am one of those natural conservatives who was alienated, and so I agree with him. As a result of his supporting LGBT rights, I am now able to support the Conservative Party, and join for the Party with which I most identify. For me as a gay person, that is a very good thing.

          The fact is that the PM is willing to risk his premiership and large numbers of supporters defecting from his party because of his pro-LGBT stance. To me, that looks like someone acting from deep-seated principle, and not self-interest.

          1. Callmedave used to work in PR – you are truly naive if you believe what comes out of his mouth.

            (Look at Cameron’s own disgustingly bigotted voting record prior to gaining power.).

            If he believes in equality then equal civil marriage would be subject to a whipped vote and he would not pretend that it is a ‘conscience matter’.

      2. Yes, but “slow learner” while welcome is not quite good enough for me. It’s not as if he comes from a poor background with no education. I find his past record on GLBT rights inexcusable for a person from his privileged environment. He is most certainly jumping on a bandwagon. I believe him now to be sincere but that’s easy when it suits you. It’s not as if he hadn’t given the matter thought. I would imagine he carefully considered Clause 28 before voting against its repeal. So he’s changed his mind. That makes him better than Anne Widdecombe and Norman Tebbitt. Quite a low bar, you must admit.

        1. Cal

          So why should be bother?

          He changes his mind about LGBT rights, and as the PM has the power to legalise same-sex marriage, and commits himself to doing so.

          He does this even though it seems to be the cause of thousands of (religious) members leaving the Conservative Party and thousands claiming they won’t vote for the Party any more, while thousands are clamouring for him to be removed as leader. There are regular expressions of hatred towards him in the Telegraph comments because he supports equal marriage.

          In spite of all this, he sticks to his guns.

          And you say that isn’t good enough, because he was not supportive in the past.

          I just hope you are more forgiving of yourself when you make major mistakes in life, which we all do, and which you want to make amends for.

          1. Well there is no reason why SSM cannot be legal by January 2013.

            However Callmedave has set the deadline to the last possible minute before the next election?

            Why?

            He worked in PR – he is a professional liar (who went to Eton).

          2. I repeat – there is no reason why SSM should not be legal by January 2013.

            It is only the lack of will on the Tory side that is preventing this.

  14. I’m a volunteer – it wouldn’t alienate me

  15. The Conservative Party used to be diabolical towards LGBT people. I remember Section 28 and snide homophobic comments by people like Norman Tebbit.

    But there have been supporters of LGBT equality in the Conservative Party for as long as I can remember. And today, there are a lot of strong supporters of LGBT rights in the Party.

    Basically, if you are a real Tory, then you believe in individual freedom, and that the state should mind its own business as to what you do in your private life, so long as no-one is harmed. You also believe in a strong and healthy community, and strong relationships, which certainly aren’t furthered by discriminating against LGBT people and stopping us having the same right to marry as heterosexuals.

    David Cameron has been brave enough to stand up for equality, and is taking a lot of flak from Old Style Tory opponents. It’s now time for LGBT conservatives to support him.

    1. No – it is time for Callmedave to rid the party of the neo-fascists still rampant in the party.

      1. dAVID

        As I mentioned in a post above, someone opposed to same-sex marriage sent me a post of yours on Pink News as an attempt to discredit my arguments by implying the LGBT people supporting same-sex marriage have extreme and intolerant views.

        When opponents of same-sex marriage start using what you write on these comments pages as a weapon, it is time for you to realise you are doing more harm than good.

        Thankfully, you are in a tiny minority with your extreme views. But the problem is that elements of the anti-gay marriage lobby would have a field day copying and sharing your rants about neo-fascists, and will encourage one another’s prejudices and bigotry by doing so. You play up to their cherished stereotypes.

        So thanks a lot, dAVID, for making things more difficult for everyone else. You may feel better by mindlessly expressing strong emotion on here, but it doesn’t help us at all.

  16. Nick Sutton 31 Jul 2012, 9:17pm

    Listen to Chris Mason’s report and the response of Matthew Sephton of LGBTories here http://audioboo.fm/boos/904054-government-plans-for-gay-marriage-upset-some-grassroots-tories-the-world-at-one.

  17. That There Other David 31 Jul 2012, 9:44pm

    So Opus Dei has some Tory volunteers does it? Who gives a toss if they complain about losing the ability to treat others as lesser humans?

    I have a message for these people:-

    . <- that's the world tiniest violin. Listen carefully, it's playing the world's saddest song.

    Now grow up and stop thinking you have a right to tell people you don't even know what to do. Idiots.

    1. Well said.

  18. “Vocal minority”
    is what he said.

  19. Quite amazing that in the World at One interview, David Burrowes MP claimed that equal marriage wasn’t in his party’s manifesto (at 2m15s into the clip).

    He should have gone to Specsavers – I refer the honourable gentleman to Page 14 of this document:-

    http://goo.gl/Q8OMI

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

    So for once they’re doing exactly what it said on the tin !

  20. A non story. Must be short of news

  21. GingerlyColors 1 Aug 2012, 8:11am

    Let’s look at the bigger picture. Yes, there are a lot of people in the Conservative Party who think that legalising gay marriage will destroy the Party and lose it votes at the next election and this unfortunately this is no doubt the case. Where will those votes go? Most of them will go to UKIP.
    Personally I believe that Dave Cameron should go ahead and legalise gay marriage which he promises to do by 2015 but I also believe that he can pull out a trump card, not by promising, but setting in motion a referendum on UK membership of the EU by the next General Election. Such a move will guarantee a Conservative victory. I personally do not wish to see a return to Labour which has raided pension funds, jeapordised my job by opening up Royal Mail where I work to unfair competition and nearly bankrupted this country by bailing out greedy banks. As for the EU, I want Britain well out of it, why should we continue flogging a dead horse by trying to prop up the Euro? (Next ->)

    1. GingerlyColors 1 Aug 2012, 8:41am

      (<- From) The British taxpayer is fed up of having to lend money to countries which have chosen to live beyond their means and will not be able to repay those loans. Look at what happened when Germany was in the same position back in the early 1930's. Spain, Greece and Portugal are just about to go bankrupt and it was only in the 1970's that they had far-right governments. There will be no room for gay rights should people in those countries turn to extremist parties to get their countries out of the Euro-mess. If the Conservatives continue to sit on the fence over the EU then while we could see a return to Labour who WILL introduce full marriage equality, there will also be a big increase in support for UKIP (who will maintain the status quo on Civil Partnerships but stop short of marriage equality) and the homophobic BNP. What has started out with good intentions as the Common Market has descended into the Hell that is the European Union.

  22. “Anything which upsets any of my members, I don’t like to see that”, said Ms Pidding. Presumably then, when Bill Galbraith was upset by the candidate John Taylor for Cheltenham and said “Cheltenham should not “give in to a bloody n*gger even though central office have foisted him upon us”, she would like to see no black people in the party. You don’t hear her going on about it though; I wonder why.

  23. David Nottingham 1 Aug 2012, 11:55am

    Good, let them be alienated then and maybe they will leave the Party. There is no place for those with anti-equality views in any modern political party in the UK (or anywhere, for that matter) whether they are “volunteers” or not. Let nature take it’s course..!

    1. There is certainly a place for neo-fascist extremism in the Tory Party – have you missed all the bigots spouting their bigotry in recent months?

      If there was not then marriage equality would be subject to a whipped vote and would not be a ‘conscience’ vote (which is probably the most offensive piece – as if our equal civil rights were a matter of debate).

  24. “Anything which upsets any of my members, I don’t like to see that.”
    Well, Master Pidding, I don’t like to see appallingly bad grammar and tautological idiocies but have to put up with them.

  25. Can someone explain to me why LGBTory NEVER condemns a Tory bigot (of whom there are so, so many) who opposes equal civil rights for the LGBT community.

    Surely LGBTory should be calling for the expulsion of these neo-fascists from the party.

    Unless of course LGBTory is a meaningless PR stunt, which considering David Cameron’s previous career as a professional liar (also known as PR) is very believeable.

    1. Doesnt LGBTory condemn the intolerant views expressed by some Tories in this very issue?

      Seems your use of the word never is incorrect, dAVID

  26. Staircase2 2 Aug 2012, 1:57am

    No matter how far they Conservatives come they still retain that knee-jerk, reactionary element within that is only happy with WI, cricket on the village green and warm beer in the company of white middle class and monied individuals who vote Tory…essentially the Tea Party…

    Norman Tebbit is alive and kicking…

  27. I know that party-political sentiment is quite out of place on these threads, but please, everyone, hear me out when I say that I am heart-broken at the possibility of the Conservative Party losing activists on the ground on my account. That said, I will now go and pour myself a glass of wine and cry into it over the seemingly relentless decay of grass-roots democratic participation.

These comments are un-moderated and do not necessarily represent the views of PinkNews.co.uk. If you believe that a comment is inappropriate or libellous, please contact us.

Top commenters this week

Latest stories

See all