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LGBT Labour group criticise Ed Miliband for allowing a free vote on same-sex marriage

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  1. GulliverUK 12 Dec 2012, 3:49pm

    I’m with them all the way on that, although clearly the majority of Labour MPs will support the legislation.

    On matters of principle you set policy and expect MPs to follow it. This is not just any principle but a vote on whether to treat all citizens fairly under the law. Given Labour’s past record of extending our freedoms with anti-discrimination law, I don’t quite see why this issue isn’t another issue of principle.

    “Conscience” is a red-herring. If he was talking about whether mixed-ethnicity couples were to be allowed to marry I would hope that’s a principle of human and civil rights, not of Conscience.

    I’m wavering in my support for Labour because of this.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 12 Dec 2012, 4:53pm

      “Conscience” really is code for allowing religious bigots to vote no and escape censure, an appeasement. Case in point, Labour MP Austin Mitchell said a whipped vote would give him cause to rebel. He’d rebel anyway and will probably vote no.

      1. Yes, I agree. How can equality be a matter of conscience? Would they allow a vote of conscience if there was a matter relating to racial equality, for example? This is about people being treated equally under the law – nothing to do with conscience at all. In fact, calling it so devalues the word.

    2. de Villiers 12 Dec 2012, 6:43pm

      I said on another board that it is the right decision to ensure that such a law is not repealed. If the vote wins on a free vote then it will have been won by a contest in which the opponents will have lost. It will be seen as a genuinely cross-party measure.

      By contrast, look at the Human Rights Act that has been perceived as being passed by only one party and has never gained popular acceptance. If equal marriage passes on a free vote then it can genuinely be said that free democracy has won and has passed the measure and that those opposed to it were democratically defeated.

  2. At last, a gay campaign group affiliated to a main political party which isn’t afraid to speak out when the party gets it wrong!

  3. Hysterical Screamer No. 243 12 Dec 2012, 4:26pm

    With things going the way they are, unless there’s some kind of concerted action from millions of people, there’s a very real possibility this legislation won’t make it.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 12 Dec 2012, 4:57pm

      I get that sense too. Having a cabinet in support isn’t enough. The legislation should not be allowed a vote if the votes aren’t there to get it through. The opposition will of course claim victory if it fails. There is no guarantee it will pass either. It’s alll well and good saying the majority of this or that will support it, but who knows when it comes down to an actual vote. I’ve no doubt that the C4M hate group and its followers have already organised a massive letter writing campaign to MPs and to the Lords in particular, while those in support sit idly by and let it happen.

  4. Jock S. Trap 12 Dec 2012, 4:33pm

    At the end of the day this isn’t about MP’s personal conscience, this is about MP’s doing what they were voted in for… to represent their constituencies and the people that voted them in… in ALL political parties.

    Being that the majority of the countries support equality in marriage they should too. I don’t care if they are religious this isn’t about them. If they can’t do the job of serving us then they should resign and make way for by elections for people who can speak for us.

  5. Robert in S. Kensington 12 Dec 2012, 5:02pm

    A free vote could even mean fewer voting yes. I hope that’s not the case but will make it much easier for those voting no. I don’t like this one bit. It’s as if Labour and Liberal Democrats are caving in to religious bigotry. I strongly disagree with Miliband and Clegg on this one. A bad decision in my view.

  6. Without massive and continual lobbying from Stonewall and other LGBT groups this legislation will not get through the House of Lords.

    1. If we do not have marriage equality by the time of the next election it looks like the Greens are the only viable choice for the LGBT vote.

      This stunt by Miliband is utterly contemptible.

  7. “The change in position by both Labour and the Lib Dems has been attributed to the government’s decision to incorporate religious ceremonies in its equal marriage plans.”

    That’s what I was afraid of. I know it seems untidy to some, but I would have preferred equal civil marriage sorted first, then equal religious marriage a few months later to keep the two things separate.

    1. Much as I loathe religious cults (including the so-called progressive ones) I think Miliband was only too happy to allow a ‘conscience vote’ (puke) on our fundemental civil rights.

      He has clearly always believed that our rights are dependent on majority rule.

    2. Tim Chapman 12 Dec 2012, 6:05pm

      Once again, religion does some harm.

    3. Robert in S. Kensington 12 Dec 2012, 7:04pm

      I’m in agreement with that. The churches already had a ban in place so I think this could have waited. Let’s hope that it passes regardless, although I feel less certain now that this has happened. Make no mistake, the opposition will now be more emboldened than ever to intimidate MPs and the Lords into voting no. C4M I’m sure have a mail campaign already in gear to do just that. Makes you wonder what StonewallUK and Out4Marriage are doing about it? We should all make our voices heard by writing to them ourselves, especially the Lords who will have the final say.

      1. Out4Marriage is just a video campaign based on the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign in the US. I would prefer it if this group banned politicians from making ‘Out4Marriage’ videos – they should not be engaging in PR games like that, when they are actually in a position to make marriage equality happen.

        Who knows what Stonewall is doing – its complete lack of transparency as to who it represents (its members? its corporate sponsors?) or how its policy is formulated, means that it cannot really be trusted,

  8. This is what happens when all the energy and activity is on the other side. Step by step, things start to turn against the passive side, until defeat, once a remote prospect, becomes a very real possibility. I am not saying that we are at that point yet, but if the sleepy indifference continues on the pro-equality side, we will lose.

    Does Stonewall actually serve a purpose other than to pay rent on its offices?

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 12 Dec 2012, 6:58pm

      Complacency is what’s going on. Supporters aren’t doing enough. You can bet the opposition are going to bombard MPs and Lords with mail to oppose equal marriage while our side sits idly by letting it happen.

  9. it’s utterly disgraceful that not a single one of the 3 main parties believe that our civil rights are fundamental.

    Appalling move by Miliband.

  10. Ed Miliband may allow a ‘conscience vote’ on whether or not we deserve equal civil rights; however I wonder if he will have the bottle to threaten career consequences for Labour bigots who vote ‘no’.

    Of course he won’t.

  11. I am hopeful this will still pass. In many ways a free vote may well give the policy more credibility.

    1. It will also give credibility to the notion that LGBT people’s basic civil rights are a matter of ‘conscience’ which before legislation can even be discussed, should be subject to an ‘public consultation’ (the 1st time in living memory that a British minority;s civil rights have been subject to such a consultation,

      That is an utterly appalling message.,

  12. Pavlos Prince of Greece 12 Dec 2012, 7:40pm

    And what means this so called ‘free vote’ (because every vote in the democratic elected institution is indeed ‘free’) of Labor and Liberal Democrats in the Commons for discussion on same-sex marriage in the House of Lords? I suspect, nothing good…

  13. This move proves how much clout the evil churches still have over UK politics. If we win it will be a greater victory but if we lose it will be a horrible, damaging setback. I hope Clegg and Milliband know what they are doing.

    1. Does Ed Miliband promise to remove those unelected cult of England bishops from the House of Lords?

      If not then why not?

  14. I know there’s no way of taking a decent picture of Ed Millipede, but can we at least have something a little different the next time the Pink finds an excuse to headline him?

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