Reader comments · Tory MP Sir Edward Garnier: Call civil partnerships marriages, but don’t change the law · PinkNews

Enter your email address to receive our daily LGBT news roundup

You're free to unsubscribe at any time.


Tory MP Sir Edward Garnier: Call civil partnerships marriages, but don’t change the law

Post your comment

Comments on this article are now closed.

Reader comments

  1. ‘Separate but equal’ is never equal.

    Then again – he is a Tory.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 26 Nov 2012, 3:35pm

      As long as bigots like him remain in the Tory party, it will NEVER be able to shake off the stigma as the nasty party. Pity none of the Tory supporters of equal marriage don’t have the courage or the integrity to counter them. They won’t of course because they’re afraid to offend religious bigotry. None of them come to our defence when the bigots are dishing out the hateful rhetoric and spurious claims about equal civil marriage and trying to inject religion into every angle of the debate. They’re nothing more than religious bullies.

      1. Cardinal Capone 26 Nov 2012, 4:01pm

        He doesn’t sound bigoted, just shallow in his understanding of the issue.

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 26 Nov 2012, 8:48pm

          Reserving civil marriage for hetero’s only while relegating gay people to something less than his marriage and supporting the inferior status of CPs in his admission IS bigotry. I’ve looked at the definition in several dictionaries and his views clearly fall well within that category.

          As for his shallow understanding. He knows exactly what he’s saying. He’s expressing the views of all of the opponents of equal marriage that are deeply rooted in religious beliefs which is where this one man one woman nonsense comes from even though the matter at hand is a purely civil matter and has nothing to do with religious freedom, his marriage or anybody else’s. Introducing equal civil marriage affects only gay people, enough said.

  2. Celebrating difference? So you get married to celebrate that you are straight and civil partnered to celebrate that you are gay?

  3. [..]”because that necessarily involves two people of the opposite sex.”

    Hm-mm. That’s YOUR definition. It’s been said before, in many cultural and religious backgrounds, marriage means as many different things.

    In quite a number of free-thinking, Western societies, marriage is a ritual and legal union between two consenting adults in a loving relationship.

    1. Mumbo Jumbo 26 Nov 2012, 8:04pm

      “because that necessarily involves two people of the opposite sex.”

      And under English law that has only been the definition since 1972.

      1. Oh, wow, that’s an even better argument.

  4. What a great way to tell your constituency that you don’t care about their opinion.


  5. What a complete and utter toss pot the man is!

  6. He looks like Jerry Springer.

    A less classy version, obviously.

    Does LGBTory condemn his intolerance?

  7. For someone who appears to use reason in his measured arguments, it’s distinctly peculiar and more than a little disappointing that he clings to the concept of the word ‘marriage’ only applying in law to an opposite-sex couple.

    I would understand it better if he said “You’re quite right, in law it should be the same, but I – with my old-fashioned prejudices – will never see it as such; however, my personal opinion shouldn’t mean you can’t be married in the eyes of the law.”

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 26 Nov 2012, 1:51pm

      Rational reasoning and pragmatism evade the extremely devolved pea sized brains of many in the Tory party who oppose equal marriage. Granier is just another perfect example of bigotry. It’s religion at the root of it all. He’d even oppose CPs for heteros and would be among the first to protest at the very thought of it let alone abolish religious marriage altogether which is what I would like to see. If only we had adopted the French model of marriage removing all reference to religion. Civil marriage for everyone. Oh what a hissy fit the religionists would have about that one. I can just hear them ranting…abuse of religious freedom.

  8. another dinosaur.. for pities sake.. get on with it.. change a few words in the legislation to remove the gender identity, and hey presto everyone is equal. It worked in Belgium, the sky didn’t fall, no tragic storms. And guess what the bigots had one less thing to hang on to..

  9. Peter- You are so RIGHT. The LONGER this state of affairs go on-the more anti-gay comments will be aired by right wing MP’s and newspapers. I -for one- would just appreciate the government CONCLUDING their intentions-ONE WAY OR THE OTHER! This state of limbo serves only to foster homophobia.

  10. Robert in S. Kensington 26 Nov 2012, 1:44pm

    What is it with these Tories? What is the point in describing one’s CP as a marriage if it isn’t under the law? Which planet is he living on?

    You can bet this is religious belief coming into play. Many of these Tories voted against CPs, maybe he was one of them, but it’s now a very convenient vehicle for them to justify opposition to equal marriage even though a lot don’t even approve of them. Like many bigots in his party, none are able to discern the difference between religious and civil marriage. If the government decided it would campaign to abolish religious marriage altogether, Garnier would be one of the first to protest and it would be rather obvious why.

  11. Rather condescending, isn’t he? He’s just trying to put his prejudice into polite language.

    His interpretation of marriage is the Christian one, but he makes no reference to civil marriage which is a legal agreement and has no religious connotations. So why do LGBT have to be segregated with a different legal union?

    The fact that we’re different is utterly irrelevant. People can still be different but equal. His arguments against that could have been used against women in the past ( eg. you can be in the House of Commons, dears, but you can’t call yourselves MPs because MPs by definition are men).

    Basically, he’s saying ‘you can pretend you’re equal to us but you never will be’.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 26 Nov 2012, 3:13pm

      Exactly, Iris. They can pretend all they want that they’re not homophobic but their opposition to equal civil marriage is proof enough. Not one of them has ever been able to demonstrate as to how a civil marriage between two same-sex people negatively impacts or affects their marriages or even their ability to marry in a church? It defies logic. BIGOT, no other word for him, but he’ll claim of course that he has gay friends and now supports CPs after the fact, how convenient and politically expedient. About time some of our Tory supporters in government spoke up and took a stand against these dinosaurs in their party even if it means being politically incorrect for a change. I’m sick of their whining and lame excuses. They just can’t admit and say they don’t like gay people because we are considered “less” than they are and our relationships don’t count for anything. Even in that, they lie.

      1. “They just can’t admit and say they don’t like gay people because we are considered “less” than they are and our relationships don’t count for anything”

        That’s definitely the feeling I got from reading Garnier’s letter. From the very start there was something patronising and supercilious about his tone. It’s only my feeling and I may be wrong but I felt I could sense his distaste of gay people in the way he was writing and I found that disturbing.

        That’s something I come across more often than I’d like – people talking about us as though we’re inferior. The most surprising people do it, and I think it’s almost imbued into them, something they’ve picked up from society. That’s why equal marriage is doubly important – a crucial right for us, and a general message to society that LGBT people are NOT ‘lesser’.

        1. Robert in S. Kensington 26 Nov 2012, 8:31pm

          Exactly right, Iris and that’s why equal marriage IS important. They will no longer be able to say our relationshps are less than theirs and less important. CPs do nothing more than promote the “lesser” of the two. They want to keep us separate because of their religious beliefs which is at the heart of this debate. If that’s not bigoted, I don’t know what is.

  12. Robert in S. Kensington 26 Nov 2012, 1:55pm

    F-ck off, stupid Tory bigot! Our civil marriages aren’t going to affect his or anybody else’s. The only people affected are gay people. What is it with these dumb Tories lately? They’re an embarrassment to their party and all they’re doing is prolonging the nasty party stigma.

  13. This man voted against the equalisation of the age of consent, against the right of gay people to adopt, and against the repeal of Clause 28.

    He cannot, through his pretences to be polite and respect gay people, remotely claim that he thinks of them anything other than second class citizens, who should be subject to restrictions which he is not

  14. Judging by his previous positions on gay issues ‘Sir’ Edward is a poisonous old bigot.

    Why isn’t he in UKIP?

    1. Perhaps he’s planning on fostering children some day…

  15. He is a patronising bigoted man. There are too many tory MP’s being very vocal about being anti marriage equality. It seems the Tory party are never going to change. If they don’t introduce marriage equality – then what will they have done for our equality? Does anyone know if they have done anything?

  16. I’m somewhat impressed that Mr. Hawkins-Kennedy got a response with an actual opinion in it at all. As a fellow constituent I emailed Mr. Garnier previously about equal marriage and was fobbed off with a four-line response about waiting for the enquiry to be completed.

    I’ll write again and see if I am given a decent response this time. The fact that my home constituency is represented (and has been, for as long as I’ve been alive!) by such a dinosaur greatly saddens me.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 26 Nov 2012, 8:38pm

      Zovija, ask him if he believes straight infertile couples should be able to marry or those intending not to procreate? If he says they should but can’t provide one rational reason why a gay couple can’t have access to a non-religious, civil marriage, then that will be an admission of his bigotry. There is no reason to deny us access, absolutely none because civil marriage isn’t biblical and was invented by the state in the latter half of the 19th centuray to accommodate divorced people and for those who aren’t religious which was actually a redefinition of marriage by the state.

      I would write to him myself but most of them don’t acknowledge letters from outside their constituency.

  17. Well, I don’t think I have ever read anything as snide as that in my life. The bigotry is dripping off the page despite his disingenuous, Uriah Heepish drivel. Many in CPs (including me) call it marriage but to many people – and governments – it is not. The Tory dinosaurs are slowly going down the drain of their own making. Good. Bye.

  18. So, going by his logic, we still need a difference between heterosexual couples and homosexual couples. Easy – turn all heterosexual Marrakesh into civil partnerships and all same sex civil civil partnerships into marriages. Problem solved. Same but different. Keep civil partnerships elusively reserved for a man and a woman, and marriage exclusively for same sex couples only.

    1. Oops Marrakesh should read marraiges

      1. We should just call them all Marrakeshes

      2. Heterosexual Marrakeshes. Love it.

        1. Actually, I’ve always liked the word ‘Madagascar’ myself. Don’t ask me why, though. Maybe because it starts off mad and ends up in a car and … time for bed.

  19. A pompous and condescending basta%d..

  20. Pavlos Prince of Greece 26 Nov 2012, 2:54pm

    Very ‘logical’. Its like call Great Britain ‘United Republic’, but keep Queen Elisabeth as a head of the state.

  21. What a patronising response.
    I’m sure Sir Edward Garnier thinks of himself as a tolerant, open-minded (tory) person. In fact he’s just another self-righteous bigot, who thinks that gay people must be thankful for being allowed to live their life without too much of a hassle.

  22. he is a lawyer – what are the government policies on recognising marriages of non-UK marriages ? What are the policies of non-UK countries recognising UK marriages or UK partnerships ?

    Of course there is a difference. Not only should the equal rights demands proceed to include marriage, they should also be extended to ensure international recognition. If you are a LGBT couple and want to work outside of the UK then the status is important. Its equal or its not equal. 1 + 1 = 2 = 1.5 is not a formula anyone should accept.

  23. Robert in S. Kensington 26 Nov 2012, 3:23pm

    How would he and his fellow bigots like it if we referred to their marriages as CPs? It would surely piss them all off, just to turn the tables on them, make them feel insecure and expose their stupidity as well as their obvious bigotry.

  24. Not a subtle thinker, is he?

  25. Hang on a bit! This is a perfectly reasonable response from a man with certain views; views to which ALL people are entitled to have in a free society. Edward Gardiner gets his metaphorical “knickers in a twist” when he says that he will never regard a civil union as a marriage, but would be happy to call the union of his correspondent as a marriage. This is double-speak of a nature imbued in most politicians; particularly those who want people to vote for them.

    His reply was couched in very reasonable and logical terms, and could only be regarded as unpleasant by the most fanatical opponent of his views.

    I speak as one male who was “married” (should I take out those quotation marks?) to another male on the 17th November, 2012. I am sure that there are people who feel less than comfortable with this state of affairs, but their views were certainly not shared by our guests, the vast majority of whom are heterosexual. They saw MARRIAGE as a extension of our relationship.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 26 Nov 2012, 4:54pm

      So you think banning equal marriage is couched in reasonable and logical terms? Why does religion have to be interjected in a purely civil manner which is at the root of this man’s issue? He can’t even be honest about it by admitting it while feigning support for CPs, something he voted against I might add. If this were about forcing religious denominations to marry us, that would be quite a different matter. How would equal civil marriage affect this man’s marriage or anybody else’s? That mythhical can of worms is nothing more than a red herring to justify a ban on equal marriage. CPs have suddenly become a convenient tool for bigots to use to prolong the ban on equal marriage even though most of them don’t support such unions. They’d ban those too if they could get away with it.

      1. No Alan, you married a few days ago. You were partnered, civilly. I, on the other hand, here in Spain, was and am married to another man. For me, I can tell you, there is a bloody great difference and one most of the people on here can see plainer than plain.

      2. “Ban”
        To make illegal that which was previously legal

        If we could all stick to using words in their actual and correct meanings then we might have a bit more hope of remaining civil to one another as well as being understood.

  26. Peter & Michael 26 Nov 2012, 3:28pm

    No Thanks, we all know that a Civil Partnership is not equal to marriage, one only has to step out of the UK to reallse that !

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 26 Nov 2012, 4:49pm

      Exactly right!

  27. A more gracious and respectful response than one would normally expect from anti equal marriage Tories.
    But entirely wrong.

  28. And again the myth of same sex or opposite sex. Which leaves non-binary identifying and not a few intersex people out in the cold.

    What is so hard to understand…equal marriage to mean one consenting adult to marriage another consenting adult. Why does sex or gender need to be mentioned at all?

    And, as has already been mentioned, marriage takes and has taken many forms both globally and historically. Remember when traditionally married married women were not permitted to own their own property? That was changed only 140 years ago.

  29. darkmoonman 26 Nov 2012, 3:56pm

    Sad to see the fossils of the UK parade their ignorance as do those of the USA.

  30. When the Labour government introduced CP it was meant to be marriage in all but name. CP and marriage were afforded exactly the same legal and financial status. It is only a skillful use of legislative semantics that separates CP and ‘gay marriage’. This is why Garnier sort of has a point. The reason why we have CP instead of marriage is entirely due to the fact we have an established church. The law does not distinguish between civil marriage and church marriage in a state which has an established church. To allow ‘gay marriage’ then legislators would have to a) distinguish between civil marriage and ‘church marriage’ b) disestablish the church so that only the state can marry people. c) wait for the church to self-schism, then recognise only the liberal wing of the CoE.
    So legislating for same-sex marriage opens a potential constitutional can of worms and that is probably why some politicians are against it because they just can’t be bothered with the hassle.

  31. Cardinal Capone 26 Nov 2012, 3:59pm

    His reasoning is seriously flawed and prejudiced, but it’s not an unpleasant email. I don’t know enough about the man to say whether it is genuine or disingenuous flannel, but on the face of it he seems a nice enough chap.

  32. Well, why didn’t we think of that. Just callingit marrige makes it all ok then.

    What an idiot!!!!

    Can’t thay see, the reason they fight so hard to keep us seperate, is the very reason we must fight harder.

  33. I actually think CP’s are a modern version of a marriage and if the righ wing gays didn’t have this need to be”normal” we could move on from this stale debate and fight the rising anti gay attacks.

    1. Actually, I see civil MARRIAGE as a modern version of (religious) marriage. It comes without the religion and without lots of the ‘traditional’ connotations. There’s no reason why gay people should have to have something different from everyone else. A civil union between two people should be called the same regardless of their gender(s).

  34. It’s hardly the rudest letter I’ve ever read – by a mile

  35. Robert in S. Kensington 26 Nov 2012, 4:47pm

    It wasn’t meant to be marriage in all but name. It is not written into law that it was the intention. It was merely a Labour government avoiding a backlash from the CoE. Just because Garnier thinks they can be considered marriages but not legally is an exercise in futility to justify a ban on equal civil marriage. You are wrong to assume that CPs afford the same legal and financial status. They do not, especially in the area of pensions, a discrepancy that still remains. There is no marriage ceremony, no statutory vows exchanged and no rings, no divorce proceedings, entirely different to marriage in construct and the way they are administered.

    There is no can of worms for the CoE. Civil marriage was invented by the government to allow divorced people to remarry because the church chose to discriminate against them, legally I might add without any written law upholding it. This is more to do with religious beliefs coming into play in a purely civil matter as well as bigotry.

  36. As someone who is in a Civil Partnership and was instrumental in successfully introducing a form of this in Medway Kent before Parliament introduced the Act, I think that Parliamentary approval would be necessary to allow the word Marriage to be legally used. It may not require a full bill (leading to a new Act) but possibly a Statutory Instrument (SI) to insert the word Marriage. The current law* is not recognised as a marriage act in France for example but a new provision would probably I’m no lawyer, but ask your tame ones. Equates to PACS in France which is a tax provision. ‘Gay Marriage Light’

  37. This has the very same tone and tenure that many straight people had about civil partnerships.

    Sir Whatshisname really, really clarifies exactly why marriage needs to be civil and offered to same sex couples. He offers the verbal equality babble but is overtly saying ‘dont ask for such rights as I’. Man’s a tnuc.

  38. Yes, Iris, I don’t think he’d like to be told he has to settle for something that isn’t marriage, the universally recognised gold standard for a union between two people. CPs carry no universality and never will. There is NO clamour for them as evidenced by 11 countries who had similar unions prior to equal marriage which brings me to another claim by the opposition, that there is no clamouring for equal marriage by gay people in the UK and therefore, it isn’t necessary. Exactly who are they speaking for I wonder and since when did they become the spokes people for LGBT rights anyway? News to me.

  39. GulliverUK 26 Nov 2012, 5:47pm

    Don’t know why he’s worry about it – he’ll be out-of-government in 2015 and things like this will be taken care of by a real political party, who works for ALL people.

    The one single chance for the Tory party is to pass this quickly, and use this to show they are not a “nasty” party. This dimwit can’t even see that!! Where do they get these people from?

    1. Their selection boards, and their voters, of course.

  40. Ah, so it’s a case of “Let the queers say they’re married, but let them stick with CPs!”

    I say, Bunny, you’re a quare, so is Sir Edward Garnier a quare? He sounds like a quare? Garnier’s a perfume, isn’t it? Quares like perfumes. Yes, I’m afraid this Garnier’s a quare. Definitely a quare. So let him pretend he’s a married quare. But he’ll always be only a quare, you know. Secondrate quare, despite the posh perfume!

    1. Also with reference to “Harry Enfields” – Gentlemen Gits,

      so to speak. . .

      Definitely a “Posh Quare”

  41. That’s like saying ‘call the Apartheid walls a garden fence, but don’t change the law’.

    And these people are elected officials?

  42. “This does not mean that I am anti-gay ”
    I just don’t think you are good enough to be allowed to marry.

  43. Every day, with every new anti that comes out of the woodwork, my appreciation of David Cameron grows.

    His task of dragging the Conservative Party into the present is terrifying.

    Actually I think it is very positive that this wll be a free vote for the Tories as they each have to declare themselves for what they are. Or not turn up

    1. That There Other David 26 Nov 2012, 10:54pm

      I don’t think it’s that difficult to be honest. The anti-equality crowd are just more vocal about it, especially the Thatcher generation that still can’t quite work out why they don’t automatically get their way nowadays.

  44. Enough bickering …

    When is this govt going to produce the result of the consultation?

    When is this govt going to produce a bill for SSM?

    The Tory whip must already know which of this guys are for or against or who simply won’t bother turning up. Let’s get the bill out now and stop these naff comments by bigotted, homophobic tory MPs most of whom I suspect won’t even turn up for the vote.

  45. “If ever we meet and you would like me to describe you as part of a married couple I will do so without the slightest hesitation….”

    ie I am two faced c*nt, I’ll smile in your face and be polite but in actual fact in my mind I’m thinking your are a dirty, pervert who is not as good as me and never will be… ie what did you expect a tory mp to be like!

  46. I want to be able to have the right to decide with my partner wheter to have a civil partnership or a marriage. Who can dare to stand between my lover, myself and our god to be joined in that union.

    I would love to point out that the early church of the fisherman was all about same sex union. Just google solemn ceremony of same sex marriage.

    I’m sorry to say the times when Jesus himself was best man and vicar to the same sex couple have been hidden by modern church.

    I don’t need to worry about some contry’s law, my god’s law is above all human laws and discrimination.

    Go back and study your early church brother!

  47. How utterly ridiculous!
    ‘The fountain looks the same as mine, but you are not allowed to use mine, but feel happy as you are…….’
    Sorry, but different is never the same as equal…….!

  48. I do not want the civil partnership that I am proud of turned into an “inferior” ( in my eyes) “marriage”

  49. Brilliant. In California do you know what the actual legal effect of PROP 8 actually was, what it actually did? It removed the use of the word “marriage” to describe the status of a civil partnership between same sex people. It had absolutely no other legal effect. But if you go to another state of the US either you are “married” or you aren’t. And if you go to another country, you are “married” or you aren’t. And the neighbors consider you “married” or they don’t. I suppose we could say Jim Crow laws only applied if you thought there was a difference between ‘black’ and ‘white’….

  50. billywingartenson 28 Nov 2012, 6:24am

    maybe he should instead call his marriage a civil union

    I bet that he would have a fit.

  51. We can call ourselves married and that might not get us into trouble with the law, it is not recognised in the law. That’s the issue. For him to claim that marriage is between one man and one woman doesn’t “celebrate” difference, it continues it. That’s the point behind marriage equality. It’s not just legal rights, it’s being viewed as the same in the eyes of the law. He may well believe that he is not “anti-gay” but that doesn’t stop him from being such.

    1. Andrew Hawkins-Kennedy 28 Nov 2012, 5:24pm

      I agree with you totally and I had pointed this out to him in several emails on this subject. He is so willfully blind to this which is why I sent in his email response to Pink News.

  52. Andrew Hawkins-Kennedy 28 Nov 2012, 5:27pm

    I really appreciate all your comments on this as I now feel totally unrepresented at Westminster on the subject of equal marriage – for Sir Edward to say that equality is not the correct noun to use is an outrage.

  53. If he didn’t say “his opinion was that marriage is between a man and a woman” and that civil partnerships are not in his opinion marriage. Then this would have been a reasonable response (based on being ill informed that civil partnerships offer all the same benefits – which sadly even some family lawyers seem to think!).

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