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Comment: David Cameron’s principled and courageous support for equal marriage made me become a Tory

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  1. I suppose the bile and vitriol from the rest of the party didn’t register? That the positive vote was nothing even like a statement of universal belief in the concept?

    And here’s the thing – I may be LGBT, I’m also a citizen of this country. I wouldn’t reduce my politics to whether I, personally, could put a ring on it (even ignoring that the other parties were as if not more positive). There is a bigger picture in play here than just me and to reduce governance to this? This is something I find absolutely bloody hilarious.

    Many of us will marry, many will not, but every single one of us is going to need the NHS at some point in our lives….

    1. Yes the NHS is a much more important issue.

    2. Gary Powell 25 Jul 2013, 3:54pm

      Valksy

      Did you actually bother to read the whole article before making this comment, or was it made solely on the basis of the headline?

      1. Got as far as this: “who are absolutely nothing like the Tory Nasties stereotyped by today’s propaganda of the Left.” Started laughing, hit the back button.

        Propaganda? My left tit. We heard the bloody debates, watched the backlashes across any forum where the public may speak – there are a WHOLE lot of very bloody nasty Tories, self identified, and proud of that fact.

        1. Gary Powell 25 Jul 2013, 4:58pm

          Thank you. I thought so.

          Perhaps you should actually read articles before you comment on them in future, no matter how much your strong emotions are knocking you about. That means you are commenting on what the writer said, rather than on what your prejudices want him to have said.

      2. Got as far as this: “who are absolutely nothing like the Tory Nasties stereotyped by today’s propaganda of the Left.” Started laughing, hit the back button.

        Propaganda? My left tit. We heard the bloody debates, watched the backlashes across any forum where the public may speak – there are a WHOLE lot of very bloody nasty Tories, self identified, and proud of that fact.

      3. A priciple of good journalism is that you present your thesis up front. I think we’d all heard enough by paragraph 2

    3. Well said, Valksy!

      I’m coming to the end of my month in New Zealand and I can share that despite Equal Marriage having been passed here, just before it was passed in the UK, I have been out and about like nobody’s business over the last four weeks but have seen ZERO evidence of gay and lesbian life or EXISTENCE in public places or spaces. In numerous bookshops and other shops selling a massive range of magazines I have found ZERO gay or lesbian magazines! (There is one specialist magazine shop that I will visit today in Auckland as a last-ditch attempt to see if there is any gay or lesbian magazine available anywhere here.)

      I wonder if part of the invisible “deal” of Equal Marriage is that gays and lesbians in New Zealand must now become generally invisible in New Zealand society, except for events they hold in their own community, the gay drinking holes & saunas & so forth.

      So we need to be very wary now in the UK, I think.

      1. Colin (London) 31 Jul 2013, 8:26am

        I know NZ very well spending time there every year for some 30 years.

        I lived in Wellington when there were saunas and back rooms. Great places, really friendly, good music and lovely men. This was before London had them.

        NZ is a settled and relaxed country and as such I’ve watched the disappearing of gay venues because they don’t need them now. Gay people have integrated into society at all levels and if you start to chat up a guy in a pub he may simply say sorry mate I bat for the other team, laugh and share a joke with you.

        Try Autumn Farm in Takaka especially at Christmas or naked week. 30 guys on a farm enjoying great surroundings, swimming naked in river, kayaking, walking. Great food, home made entertainment and great company in beautiful surroundings outside of the town.

  2. Not sure it would have happened if Labour hadn’t paved the way with civil partnerships. Having said that, I don’t think Ed Miliband would have been quite so determined to pass this legislation if he was PM now.

    1. Ed Milliband doesn’t seem determined to do anything. What does Ed Miliband stand for? Actually I’d just like to know what he’s against and preferably before the next election… He just seems to say what everyone else says only in a quieter voice.

  3. What about the rest of the party? There are 3 main parties in the UK – 2 of them had a majority that supported our rights. The Tories aren’t one of the two. Cameron is a minority among the Tories

    What about the hateful bigotry the rest espoused? What about their records for that matter? Equal marriage isn’t the only vote that those Tory cabinet ministers voted on – check Ian Duncan Smith or Theresa May’s voting records

    It’s beyond short sighted to decide the Tory party is pro-gay over one vote that most of them opposed

    1. James Sutherland-Harper 25 Jul 2013, 3:37pm

      Cameron is with the majority of the party on same-sex marriage.

      Look at the bigger picture: opinion polls showed 55% of the party supported plans to extend marriage to same-sex couples. And the majority of peers on the Conservative benches in the Lords voted in favour of it.

      Many Tory MPs voted against it because they were bombarded with constituent “concerns”, and they’re accountable to their constituents. IMO, the sensible thing to do if they want to keep their seats, although not the honourable or right thing to do. Had more people actually made the effort to lobby their MPs in favour of the legislation then I imagine the vote for would’ve been an even greater majority. One thing you have to give to Coalition for Marriage was that they got out there and made a huge effort to stop this legislation. The pro-lobby maybe not so much, and they have to take responsibility for not getting through to as many MPs that were on the fence as they had hoped.

      1. ‘they have to take responsibility’. So you took no part then.

        I rest my case, m’lawd.

      2. On the manner of constituents over the civil rights of the minority, I would give you a piece of my country’s political history from Prime Minister Paul Martin in 2005:

        “To those who would oppose this bill, I urge you to consider that the core of the issue before us today is whether the rights of all Canadians are to be respected. I believe they must be. Justice demands it. Fairness demands it. The Canada we love demands it.”

  4. The Conservative Party has more than a handful of homophobic backbenchers. More Tory MPs voted against equal marriage than voted for it!

    You have a long journey ahead of you, Gary, in transforming the Conservative Party as a whole into one where the majority are in favour of LGBT equality, but I wish you every success in your endeavours!

    1. Gary Powell 26 Jul 2013, 8:40am

      BennieM

      The Labour Party has been through a similar process. We had to campaign hard through the 1980s to persuade Labour MPs to support an equal age of consent. If we had instead demonised them, and dismissed hope of transforming the Labour Party on this issue because of their poor historical record, then history would have been rather different.

      1. I think it’s admirable that you want to change the Conservative party, so that most members will support gay equality, and I hope you’re successful.

        I never suggested demonising Tory MPs who voted against equal marriage, I pointed out that your description of a handful was not accurate. It suggested a minority are homophobic when a majority voted against equal marriage.

        And I never suggested Labour didn’t have homophobic MPs, but they do have a lot less than the Conservatives.

        You support the Conservatives and even acknowledge they have a problem with homophobia, which is slowly improving. But please don’t kid yourself that it’s not as big a problem as it is.

        I’ve been through this with the SNP in the last 6 years. I was a strong supporter until they took Brian Souter’s money in 2007. That was enough for me, as a gay man, to stop supporting them. I’ve written to many people in the SNP about it, but nobody will admit it’s an issue. To me, that’s worse than taking the money.

  5. Councillor John Worrow (Thanet District Council) 25 Jul 2013, 1:01pm

    David Cameron’s failure to exclude Councillor Ken Gregory, who phoned me to say “With a bit of luck you’ll get aids” from the Tory party, and Mr Cameron’s failure to invite Peter Tatchell to last nights Equal Marriage reception, shows that my decision to resign the Conservative Whip, due to homophobic attitudes was correct.

  6. Well if tI was in an area where the choice was between the lib dem Sarah Teather or the labour Rob Flello and the conservative Nick Herbert then I’d definitely go for the Tory Nick Herbert. After the lies and bigotry shown by Rob Flello and Sarah Teather when it came to equal marriage then there is no way I’d vote for them regardless of where I was a lib dem or labour stalwart…

    However, I still remember that the headline news was that the majority of the cons party voted against or abstained on the equal marriage bill, most of them for the daftest and nastiest reasons,..

    I kindda like the sitution now, a coalition govt where we don’t have too many excesses from any party. Do we really trust a Tory govt with a huge majority??? The equal marriage debate convinced me that we most definitely don’t.

    1. It is very wise to heed John’s point about the coalition. Should David Cameron and the conservatives win the 2015 election outright- I predict we will see a very different David Cameron and a very different Conservative Government. Its only because they are at present part of a coalition that we are seeing anything like equal marriage. After 2015 the Bones and the Leigh’s and the Howarths will be in the ascendency and it will be the likes of them and their right wing colleagues who will be calling the shots. Indeed I fully expect Pink News itself to be in their sights. Its not for nothing that Tim Loughton and David Burrowes singled this website out for special critisicism.

  7. Respect to him on this issue still wouldn’t vote for them seen as the rest of em had to be dragged kicking and screaming like big girls for the record wouldn’t vote for those yellow lying bs either

  8. Common sense 25 Jul 2013, 1:07pm

    But curiously, 13 years of unstinting LGBTI gay law reform in the teeth of almost constant Tory opposition never once convinced you to support Labour. Pathetic!

    1. Labours action in those 13 years was not a pro-active stance. Every change that was brought in to play in UK law came about because the Government at the time were told to do so by the ECtHR. To think that Labour would have done so otherwise is foolish. Blair in 1997 and then in 2001 had massive majorities and could have easily done what he liked with regards to LGBT rights.

      However when in 2002 that they were looking at what would become civil partnerships, they briefly flirted with the idea of Equal Marriage to solve the situation. But the CofE had a hissy fit, and that’s why we ended up with the thing we did. Had they really cared about the LGBT people they would have just pushed ahead and introduced marriage at the time.

      The only reason Labour did what they did, was because they had to.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 25 Jul 2013, 2:26pm

        As a Liberal Democrat, I have to agree with you. Labour did NOT introduce CPs of its own volition. I remember quite clearly when Blair and StonewallUK said they ‘didn’t want to go that way’ in regard to same-sex marriage and you are again right, it was the CoE both didn’t want to upset, both cowardly in my view. Cameron, like him or not, demonstrated true leadership knowing there was a lot of opposition within his party and the CoE. I give him full credit for that although I have to say, if it hadn’t been for Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democratic party, there would probably have been no marriage bill.

        1. Common sense 25 Jul 2013, 10:12pm

          Absolute and total rubbish. The European court actions in the first place were wholeheartedly supported by labour in opposition as part of the campaign to get law reform. And you may remember that in the first attempt to reduce the age of consent, the bill was proposed by Edwina alongside Tony Blair and that while the Labour benches pretty universally supported reductions in the age of consent the Tories opposed it.
          In 1997 labour did indeed have a majority but it faced an insurmountable hurdle in the shape of a House of Lords dragooned largely by the church and te Tories into implacable opposition to any gay law reform. In Scotland, where the Lords did not matter Clause 28 was abolished and the age of consent reduced with very little fuss. But both bills in England and Wales were introduced in 1997 in the very early days of the labour government but were repeatedly blocked and thrown back on the Commons until the parliament act had to be invoked to get them through in 2001.

        2. Common sense 25 Jul 2013, 10:21pm

          And where did that Lords opposition come from. Look at the voting record. It is there in Hansard. Every single Tory Lord, most of the Crossbenchers, the bishops and a sizeable proportion of the Liberal Democrats voted repeatedly against any gay law reform for a decade in the Lords.

          It beggars belief frankly for political illiterates like you to wax on about Labour deficiencies in the speed of gay legislation when it was not down to Labour at all that the legislation took time,

    2. Gary Powell 25 Jul 2013, 4:07pm

      “Common Sense”

      Did you not bother to read the whole article? I started out on the political Left. I was there for a long time.

      I also became increasingly disillusioned with Labour. At one point I was director of a national campaign that was trying to help people, including some very vulnerable people, who had been victims of local government maladministration. The Labour Government showed no concern about the evidence we were submitting to them, and were actively obstructive in protecting their allies we had exposed. Hardly any Labour or Lib Dem MPs showed any concern when these constituents wrote to them. That opened my eyes with regard to Labour politics, and I decided never to vote for them again.

      The Tory MPs were better, but most still fell short of what they should have been doing.

      One of the most serious and urgent concerns regarding LGBT rights is brutal homophobic Islamism, at home and abroad: generally ignored and appeased by the UK Left.

      1. Common sense 25 Jul 2013, 10:17pm

        I did read it, but your stated positions on nuclear deterrence and abortion alongside your repeated use of the word “leftist” makes me doubt totally that you were ever in the UK left at all. My guess is that even though you may not have joined the party, you have always been in your heart of hearts a Conservative.

  9. Courageous? Yes – in the face of such unbelivably anti-gay vitriol from Tory back-benchers and grass-roots. While I warmly applaud Cameron’s stance, he needs to root out all the ancient homophobes in the Tory Party and eject them. It can never be a truely ‘modern’ organisation while so many vile bigots remain in its ranks.

  10. You seem to be whitewashing the recent history of the Conservative party a little bit. It’s only been about five to ten years since Cameron, Hague, IDS et al were championing Section 28 and trying to prevent LGBT people from having kids. I mean, it’s great that so much of the party has changed, and the other main parties haven’t exactly been perfect either, but you seem to be trying to create a false narrative in which homophobia left the upper echelons of the Conservative party with Thatcher.

  11. Bill Cameron 25 Jul 2013, 1:26pm

    A good and fair article.

    I come at this from a different perspective in some ways. I was a Conservative Party member for a number of years, resigning within days of Iain Duncan Smith becoming leader of the UK party; if I lived in England I would probably already have re-joined, because as Gary states correctly, I think Cameron (no relation, btw) has fundamentally changed the Party, however much noise the bigots continue to make – a lot of the worst elements have already left to join UKIP. Although no supporter of the LibDems I think it is fair to say the two parties have worked pretty well together, restraining each other from some of the wilder ideas of both parties, also of course they are doing the relatively thankless job of trying to clear up the mess left by Labour.

    However, I live in Scotland and Conservatives here are still some way behind those in England, although attitudes are changing slowly here, too.

    1. So Labour left a deficit, having bailed out the banks that collapsed due to a global banking crisis, ensuring that the public didn’t have to pick up the bill. But didn’t Labour also leave behind an improving economy, strong comsumer confidence, low unemployment and massively improved employee rights? How about the minimum wage, the huge decrease in child poverty, consistent reduction in crime levels, NHS waiting lists and cancer death rates, as well as a long succession of pro-gay legislation that gives the UK possibly the most formidable equality laws in the world? And wasn’t there greatly improved animal rights legislation including outlawing tearing foxes to death?,
      What an awful mess indeed, maybe I’m wrong, and the 1980s and early 1990s under the Tories were much nicer.

    2. Although I don’t support them the leader’s a lesbian, how can they be behind?

  12. Wow just wow, that is a really interesting story Mr Powell. You are proud to be a member of the nasty party that see’s dying and severely disabled member’s of society forced to work, jobs in critical services cut, more and more people becoming homeless, trying remove benefits from young mothers and forcing more children into child poverty! The ever increasing death rate of old people in winter which will force them into taking loans to warm up their homes with the green deal or risk but elderly members of society in homes? How we going to pay for that? Oh yes another loan which remaining family members need to pay? Is it bad enough when money is tight to have so many loans I ask you? The list goes on and on and on!

    Seriously am supporter of same sex marriage but its unlikely that I will. This policy is just tokenism in the larger scheme of things. This article is just ridiculous and is nothing short of right wing media fornication….

    1. Well said. Boggles my mind that we are supposed to coo and genuflect over this one issue and not look behind the curtain at everything else.

      I am LGBT, proudly so and very much out, but it is still but one facet in my life and this appeal to homo-groupthink is a risible pile of nonsense.

      1. But appeal to homo-groupthink about other issues is fine though. And it works a treat of course.

  13. Ethel Clutterbuck 25 Jul 2013, 2:15pm

    The mess Labour left behind? Possibly £100 million is consumed by “benefit cheats”. The 3 RBS bankers who were recently castigated were, by themselves, responsible for a loss of £26 billion of taxpayers money. It was the banks wot done it. Labour failed to regulate them, but it was Thatcher who deregulated them in the first place. In 2007 Osborne was screaming for even less regulation.

  14. George Broadhead 25 Jul 2013, 2:46pm

    Gary writes:

    “because the benign values of Conservatism have now been separated from the pernicious influence of homophobic dogmatic religion, which is always a toxic parasite and a blight on the individual and collective soul, no matter what dogmatic religion it is, and what society it infects. (And I am by no means referring to liberal and non-fundamentalist forms of religion, for which I have a lot of time.)”

    But the Conservative Party kowtows to religion whatever its form, promoting the expansion of sectarian schools, including homophobic evangelical Christian, Orthodox Jewish and Muslim, and all these religionists receive a warm welcome at 10 Downing Street.

    1. Gary Powell 25 Jul 2013, 3:51pm

      George

      All three main parties support faith schools, unfortunately. As I wrote in my article, my support for the Conservative Party is a matter of “best fit”. I would like to see an end to all faith schools, and for there to be a clear separation between religion and the state. Children should not be pressured to adopt any religious belief, and they should be allowed to make up their minds about religion in their own time, and have access to information that allows them to do so in an informed way. It might take another fifty years for the main parties to come round to this way of thinking, but it is a campaign worth fighting for members of all political parties.

      Where the Conservative Party definitely has the edge concerning fundamentalist religion, is on the question of violent homophobic Islamism. It is shocking how many on the Left ignore this issue, and accuse opponents of fundamentalist Islamism of “Islamophobia”.

      1. George Broadhead 25 Jul 2013, 5:39pm

        Garry,

        You are quite right about “faith” schools which I prefer to call “sectarian”. This is why Humanist and Secular organisations like the Pink Triangle Trust and the National Secular Society strongly oppose them and why they deserve your support and that of other rationally minded LGBT people. You are also quite right about the Left which comes down like a ton of bricks on anyone who dares criticise Islam

        1. Gary Powell 25 Jul 2013, 6:12pm

          Yes, the Pink Triangle Trust and the National Secular Society have been doing sterling work for a long time in combating the influence and exposing the injustices of fundamentalist religion. Thankfully, they are not intimidated by those conformist Leftists who pretend to be so progressive while appeasing Islamofascism and glossing over the oppression of women, children, LGBT people and other minorities by violent Islamists worldwide.

  15. Gary Powell – a question.

    How on earth could any LGBT person vote for the 128 bigot MPs in the Tory Party?

    A majority of Tory MPs in fact.

    The rank and file Tory Party remain homophobic monsters, undeserving of public office due to their homophobia.

    1. Gary Powell 26 Jul 2013, 9:03am

      SteveC

      As a number of the comments on this page demonstrate, supporting equal marriage is also perfectly consistent with being a narrow-minded bigot closed to uncomfortable facts and evidence. That is exactly the mentality that perpetuates all kinds of prejudice, including homophobia.

      Among the 136 Tory MPs who voted against equal marriage, there were certainly some bigots. There were also people who objected to the Bill on procedural grounds, people who succumbed to pressure from constituents, and basically good people who are on the same kind of journey a lot of people are on who hold deeply-ingrained prejudices formed during childhood they eventually ditch.

      Demonising and writing off people with prejudices, rather than engaging with them and trying to change minds and views, is not what helped to transform the Labour Party into the largely pro-LGBT institution it is today.

      I don’t remember the Labour Govt insisting on equal marriage rather than civil partnerships in 2004.

  16. I’m gay, 24, and a conservative
    I didn’t know DC would legalise equal marriage when i voted at the last election, but instead simply voted because Labour didn’t have any credibility to run the economy.

    I’m glad i voted Conservative and probably will again.

    The last 3 years has soured my opinion of Labour as bullies, slanderers and pompous windbags thinking they deserve my vote because I am gay.

    Vote how you feel, vote for the party you think will serve the country best

    1. 2;4! Bless!

    2. You, plus the article writer, are turkeys voting for Christmas. Every single bit of legislation that improved the lives of gay people has come under Labour governments, apart from equal marriage. Which actually changes our lives less than reforms such as equal age of consent, civil partnerships, adoption rights, anti-discrimination legislation. And it didn’t even come under a Tory government – there is a coalition, in case you haven’t noticed it, and relied on huge Labour support to get through. And how exactly can an opposition party be ‘bullies’? 24, and with a pathetic childlike tunnel vision and inability to see the bigger picture of how equality has been achieved in the UK.

      1. Labour wouldn’t have give us equal marriage, they had their oppurtunity and said no.
        Labour was forced to pass the equal rights legislations we have now because the EU forced them to every step of the way.

        If you don’t like Tories that’s fine but at least learn your bloody history.
        Typical Labourite spreading lies, slander and misinformation. Thanks for proving my point by shunning a rational debate in favour of insults

        1. Oh Tigra…it really is very sad to see a young gay man of 24 holding the kind of views you have.
          You are the one who needs to learn their history.
          The Conservative party has a disgraceful record when it comes to gay rights.
          I am old enough to remember when I could have been sent to prison for two years simply for living with another man!
          It was Labour MP Leo Abse who introduced the Bill to decriminalise homosexuality in Parliament.
          Haven’t you heard of ‘Section 28′? Check it out on Wikipedia. It was the most disgraceful piece of anti-gay legislation brought in modern times.
          It was Labour who introduced Civil Partnerships to give gay people the same rights, as different institution and separate to ‘marriage’, because at the time equal marriage would not have gone through because of massive opposition from the Conservatives and their establishment friends in the House of Lords.

        2. It’s only because David Cameron was under pressure from his LibDem coalition partners that the issue of equal marriage was even discussed in Parliament. It was one of the conditions of entering into coalition with the Tories.
          If the Conservatives had an overall majority, you simply wouldn’t have gay marriage now.
          In the votes for both Civil Partnerships and more recently for equal marriage, the Conservative MPs overwhelmingly voted AGAINST the proposed legislation.
          Also don’t forget that Labour introduced an equal age of consent, made it illegal to discriminate against gay people in the provision of goods and services and gave you protection at work so you couldn’t be sacked because you’re gay. So you see … you are a bit of a Turkey voting for Christmas aren’t you?

      2. Gary Powell 26 Jul 2013, 8:33am

        Tom

        Didn’t Labour have an opportunity to introduce equal marriage in 2004 instead of civil partnerships? What happened there?

        The Labour Party does have a very good recent record on LGBT rights, as do the Lib Dems. But as far as Labour is concerned, that certainly was not always the case. I remember campaigning in the 1980s as a member of the Labour Campaign for Gay Rights to persuade Labour MPs to accept an equal age of consent. Many were opposed.

        The Conservative Party has improved phenomenally with regard to LGBT rights, in line with the rest of society. I have seen that happen over 30 years. It is clearly a very uncomfortable truth for those who want to hold on to their hatred based on what has happened in the past. You seem to want to concentrate on and exaggerate the negative, disregarding the many Tory MPs and Lords who have expressed very strong support for LGBT equality.

  17. Pavlos Prince of Greece 25 Jul 2013, 2:55pm

    David Cameron, first “gay” Prime Minister in the British history. Its simple, officially and for ever.

    1. I can think of another! Can’t name him but he liked yachts!

      1. Pavlos Prince of Greece 26 Jul 2013, 12:04pm

        Tony ? Not for me. Civil partnership was rather minimum what was possible for an Labor Prime Minister in 2003-2005 (after Netherlands, Belgium, Massachussets, Spain, Canada). But what Mr Cameron, an Conservative Prime Minister, has doing, is non plus ultra, now and in 10 years.

      2. Paul Halsall 30 Jul 2013, 3:50pm

        You can name Edward Heath. Arthur Balfour also may have been gay.

  18. This whole piece and some of the comments make me want to scream COALITION GOVERNMENT at the top of my lungs.

    Who is naive enough to believe a Tory majority government would have entertained this bill for a single second.

    1. Gary Powell 25 Jul 2013, 4:23pm

      The Conservative “Contract for Equalities”, published before the 2010 General Election – i.e. before the Coalition Government – already referred to it, as was reported in the media:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/election-2010/7673249/General-Election-2010-Conservatives-may-reclassify-gay-civil-partnership-as-marriage.html

      I am afraid you have fallen victim to anti-Tory wishful thinking. Like so many others.

      1. Hmmm… The article is May 3rd, 2010 and the election three days following on May 6th, 2010. In my country (Canada), we call that move a “swing vote cast”.

        When a party publicly promotes a feel good mandate to scoop up undecided voters in the last few days of an electoral race. The story breaks usually within a limited time frame to create a favorable impression for those in support of the issue, but not alarming enough to sway currently decided voters.

        I’ve yet to see a political party take a serious post election stance on a swing vote cast.

        1. Gary Powell 26 Jul 2013, 8:23pm

          Well, you have now, because the Conservative Party delivered on what was in the Contract for Equalities, and same-sex marriage is now law.

  19. .....Paddyswurds 25 Jul 2013, 4:39pm

    However e must not lose track of the fact that Cameron has an uphill battle to eradicate the vile underbelly of gross homophobia running through the Conservatives.. Marriage Equality would have been a complete impossibility had the Tories had a majority government.

    1. Gary Powell 25 Jul 2013, 4:53pm

      Paddyswurds

      It is anti-Tory wishful thinking to suggest “Marriage Equality would have been a complete impossibility had the Tories had a majority government.”

      The Commons vote had a very big majority of 225 in favour of equal marriage. Roughly half of Tory MPs voted in favour. If there had been a Conservative majority government, half of their MPs plus the vast majority of Labour and Lib Dem MPs (who don’t suddenly all vanish from the chamber just because the Conservative Party is in power!) would still have constituted a large majority in favour of the Bill.

      Your comment is a good example of the reason why I chose to write my article. Far too many LGBT people have a knee-jerk anti-Tory bias on the basis of memories of the appallingly homophobic Thatcher government and Leftist propaganda. I really wish more people would subject their views on today’s Conservative Party to closer examination. At the moment, too much black-and-white thinking prevails.

      1. .....Paddyswurds 25 Jul 2013, 10:39pm

        It is not simply true that half of the Tory Parliamentary party voted in favour. One third is pushing it…. I am not a fan of the Tories for far more reasons tan their inherent homophobia.They were instrumental in the death and destruction here in Ireland over a forty year period of the “troubles” and but for the Labour party we would still have death and destruction. Don’t forget the Tories were responsible for Bloody Sunday when the forces of the state murder sixteen innocent teenage boys and young men, the collusion of the army (the vile sas) in the loyalist murders of lawyers Rosemary Nelson and Pat Finucan and many other murders while at the same time blaming the entire on the Nationalist side. I’m sure you are aware of Camerons grovelling apology for the horrific Bloody Sunday murders. They still resolutely refuse to institute an inquiry into the collusion murders on the grounds of “national security” in the clear knowledge that they would be condemmed by the entire world …..

        1. .....Paddyswurds 25 Jul 2013, 10:45pm

          .. for what they did in those cases and many others. Even Lizzie Windsor the British head of state came here last year and bowed her head as she laid a wreath at the memorial to all the Nationalist deaths caused by the Tories and especially the vile hag Thatcher. who is now surely roasting slowly in the deepest and hottest reaches of Hell. In conclusion , I have no love for the vile Tory party.

          1. .....Paddyswurds 25 Jul 2013, 10:53pm

            …let me tell you for free that the news that the vile sas is to be disbanded came with great joy here in Ireland. Between the vile SAS and the equally vile UDR they causeed more deaths than either the Loyalist death squads or the IRA over the period of the “troubles” and the end of the entire Tory party would also be a reason for great joy here and all over the UK where they have trampled on the poor and disabled while giving huge tax cuts to themselves and their paymasters in the home counties…… Don’t presume to preach to me about the Tory party.. we here in Ireland know all about them first hand!!!

          2. .....Paddyswurds 25 Jul 2013, 10:56pm

            …let me tell you for free that the news that the vile sas is to be disbanded came with great joy here in Ireland. Between the vile SAS and the equally vile UDR they caused more deaths than either the Loyalist death squads or the IRA over the period of the “troubles” and the end of the entire Tory party would also be a reason for great joy here and all over the UK where they have trampled on the poor and disabled while giving huge tax cuts to themselves and their paymasters in the home counties…… Don’t presume to preach to me about the Tory party.. we here in Ireland know all about them first hand!!! Total hatred doesn’t begin to describe what we feel for them.

        2. Gary Powell 26 Jul 2013, 9:09am

          Roughly half of the Tory MPs who voted, voted in favour: On the 2nd Reading, 127 for, 136 against. There were 5 registered abstentions. 36 Tory MPs did not vote at all.

        3. Gary Powell 26 Jul 2013, 9:24am

          There were certainly atrocities committed against the Irish people by the British/English for centuries. And as is almost always the case in armed conflicts, there were atrocities committed against innocent people by both sides. I remember as a child feeling anxious on public transport, and checking under seats for IRA bombs, which killed many innocent people.

          That’s the problem with hatred. It poisons the people who refuse to let it go, and can make them very cruel. There would never have been any Good Friday Agreement if the parties had not tried to set aside their hatred. It is a very destructive force.

          I would no more condemn the modern Conservative Party for the wrong the party did in the past to LGBT people or Irish people, than I would blame modern Germans for the wrong done by the Nazis.

          The kind of hatred you describe is something I understand, but not something I think does the person feeling it, or the possibility of creating a better world, any good at all.

          1. .....Paddyswurds 26 Jul 2013, 11:10am

            Yea, the Good Friday Agreement which the Tories were against…. We would NEVER have had a peace agreement were it not for Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. The IRA and Loyalist paramilitary s were illegal organisations. The Army and Police are the forces of the State and as such are bound by the constricts of the Law, not carry out murders of innocent people. In 40 years they didn’t murder one guilty party., just innocent women teenage boys and Children…. The vile Tories were responsible for the partition of Ireland in the first place because they wanted to control the northern passage around the north of Ireland and by so doing have fomented the hatred death and destruction that ensued ever since. They never had any regard for the so called “British” loyalists they supposedly partitioned Ireland for….. You can mark me down all you like but that will not change the facts I have stated……..

          2. .....Paddyswurds 26 Jul 2013, 11:17am

            As for not condemning the “modern Tory party” They may be different people but they are still as hate filled for the Irish as they ever were and still as homophobic as ever. It seems to be a requirement in order to join the Vile Tories that one be …. well what the vast majority of them are full of hatred for “blo0dy foreigners”, the Irish, the Poor, the Disabled and well just about anyone who isn’t a rich home counties twit and live in a mansion paid for by the poor…..

          3. Gary Powell 27 Jul 2013, 9:33am

            I’m sorry, Paddyswurds, but you have constructed a fantasy world that bears very little resemblance to reality. Don’t forget that LGBT people have also been subjected to people stubbornly imposing characteristics and stereotypes on us that were impervious to all counter-evidence. Just because you are extremely angry, it doesn’t mean your vilification of the whole of the modern Conservative Party is accurate. And I would say the same to fundamentalist religionists who direct their misguided venom at the LGBT community. Bigotry and prejudice are not always just a one-way street.

  20. I do take my hat off to David Cameron for his resolute support for SSM.

    However I will NEVER vote Tory. Over half his MP’s voted against the legislation and there have been a slew of resignations from party members over the issue.

    The rest of his policy’s are to say the least, divisive! Attacking the sick the disabled and the poorest in our society. At the same time they give tax cuts to their paymasters. Same old Tories really.

    I will NEVER forgive the Tories for the 80′s. Any gay person who does has a very short memory.

    ‘We are all in it together’…….. Really?
    ‘Vote Tory’ NEVER!

    1. Been a child in the 80′s & 90′s I could never forget section 28, the mental torture which I and many others went through was just so evil. Seeing some of those old dinosaurs who opposed SSM made my skin crawl which brought back so many nightmares. Painful very painful memories mentally and physically :’(

  21. gattagiudecca 25 Jul 2013, 6:00pm

    Gary,

    What your article says to me is that ideologically, you always have been a natural supporter of the Tories. Or, have at least leaned in that direction. It was only their homophobic policies during the 80s and 90s that gave you no choice but to vote for another party.

    I don’t really see this as you ‘becoming’ a Tory. I see it more as “At last, now I can do what I’ve always wanted to do and vote Tory”.

    Anyway – good luck to you and I sincerely hope that it works for you. I do admire Cameron for what he has done (for equal marriage).

    I toyed with the idea of voting Tory in 2010 as I felt Cameron talked a good game and that the nasty days were over. But, their subsequent demonisation of the vulnerable in society says to me they have become worse. I guess we will never agree on that. Perhaps that just makes me an Owen Jones lovin’ bleeding heart dyed in the wool leftie.

    1. Gary Powell 25 Jul 2013, 6:23pm

      gattagiudecca

      Yes, you’ve got it. We may not agree politically, or in our interpretations of social policy, but thank you for taking the trouble to read the whole article before commenting, and to write a courteous and well-considered comment on a correct understanding of it. Unfortunately, so many commenters here have simply vented their spleen after reading only the headline and (possibly) other angry people’s comments.

  22. Kevin Young 25 Jul 2013, 6:29pm

    Just for the record, Thatcher was an advocate of repealing the U.K.’s sodomy laws.

    So there’s a factual error, on that point.

    1. Gary Powell 25 Jul 2013, 6:54pm

      Kevin

      I was fully aware that Mrs Thatcher voted to decriminalise male homosexuality for men over 21. But there is no “factual error”, as I didn’t make any reference to that fact in the article. Frankly, I don’t think that a person’s supporting that measure implies they are not homophobic, especially in the light of what Mrs Thatcher did subsequently, and failed to do subsequently, in the area of LGBT rights. Sure, there were certainly MPs who were even more homophobic than Mrs Thatcher, and who would have opposed any legalisation of gay sex. But that doesn’t imply that Mrs Thatcher wasn’t anti-gay. Just look at her overall record.

  23. I wouldn’t consider the party rehabilitated yet. The dominant faction at the moment happens to benign, but that could well change. The internal politics of the Tory party makes Westminister seem like a game.

    That said, recent events are an encouraging sign. I’m not about to start voting Tory on the strength of having passed the same-sex marriage act, but it’s certainly one less thing against them.

    1. But the Tories didn’t pass the same-sex marriage act – they are part of a COALITION government. Why cannot people get this through their heads? The same-sex marriage act only got through so smoothly due to massive Labour support, which meant that the House of Lords had no mandate to stop it in any way.

  24. Oh please…!!!!!
    Do you really think that equal marriage would even have been discussed if the Conservatives had an overall majority in Parliament??!!
    The Tories haven’t changed a bit.
    The vast majority of Tory MP’s voted against equal marriage and their record on gay rights generally is disgraceful.
    It was only because of the pressure from their coalition partners the LibDems that forced the issue.
    Gary Powell has joined the wrong party.

    1. Gary Powell 26 Jul 2013, 8:16am

      David Cameron had already announced his intentions regarding equal marriage in the Conservative Contract for Equalities,which was published just before the general election. It was reported on in the media.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/election-2010/7673249/General-Election-2010-Conservatives-may-reclassify-gay-civil-partnership-as-marriage.html

      The Lib Dems therefore did not “force the issue,” as you claim.

      It is also not true that the “vast majority” of Tory MPs voted against equal marriage. On the 2nd Reading, 127 Tory MPs voted in favour, 136 voted against, there were 5 registered abstentions, and 36 did not vote.

      Go ahead and detest the Tories as much as you like. But please don’t casually peddle blatant distortions on the basis of wishful thinking, as though they were matters of fact. You wouldn’t like people doing that about you.

    2. Don’t forget the EU was pushing the issue on a human rights basis, and equal rights makes for a great distraction and a way to look like the good guy before elections

  25. Mr. Gary Powell, I feel you have missed the point your life’s lessons have demonstrated for you. I am very happy you have reached a milestone in your life that has allowed you to openly and with legal protections love and marry the person you choose, regardless of gender. But it pains me to think political members would be so personally self motivated in their work for equal and fair rights of their citizens. Just because the law protects you, an adult, does not mean millions of LGBT children will not face discrimination from their own families and be cast out. I do not know the full UK STATs but in North America, 40% of our youth’s homeless are LGBT kids. Of which, they absolutely need social monetary help and support. Supports that Conservative austerity budgets cut out from under them. This is the party you profess to support now. It saddens me that through your fight you still maintained a divisiveness from your peers that worked to gain you the freedoms you now celebrate.

    1. Gary Powell 26 Jul 2013, 3:43pm

      You wrote about homelessness affecting young LGBT people in the USA. I don’t know how familiar you are with the political system in the UK, but frankly you would be very unwise to regard the Labour Party career machine as some kind of benevolent protector of the vulnerable. I experienced trying to help vulnerable people, including homeless people, who had experienced grave injustice from government institutions under Labour, and the Labour Govt and Labour MPs were indifferent and obstructive. Labour also appointed ATOS, which has consistently stitched up the most needy welfare claimants in society. I wish the Conservatives would sack ATOS.

      As I said in my article, supporting the Conservative Party is a question of best fit. I would like to see fairer and more generous benefit support in many cases. But the UK will be in no position to pay benefits when people elect a party that drives the country to near-bankruptcy.

      1. I said North American, not USA. I’m Canadian. And I didn’t mention the Labour Party specifically. I mention austerity budgets in how they create social and economic division by cutting much needed social supports that strengthen a country’s middle class and support their most vulnerable; until they may stand on their own and pay-it-forward.

        I’ve read that the UK Tories are in support of austerity budgeting, despite much evidence surfacing that these budgets are not based in economically sound principle. If this is not true of the UK Tories, then I apologize. It is very true with our Conservative Party in Canada that has now gutted our social safety net, universal health care, environmental protections, and labour protections that has resulted in an ever widening wage gap, non-existent manufacturing sector jobs, 150 billion deficit (the largest in our history), and made a still pond of job creation and innovation. Communities are gardens, they need cultivation to grow and prosper.

        1. Gary Powell 26 Jul 2013, 8:38pm

          If you are going to criticise me from Canada for supporting the UK Conservative Party, then please don’t be surprised when I tell you about the opposition Labour Party.

          I assume you know about the debt-ridden countries in Europe where governments are simply unable to pay the benefits people need because the coffers are empty. It is all well and good opposing austerity measures, but if there is no money to pay generous benefits, or if paying them involves borrowing more money that will cause bankruptcy later on, it is the poor and vulnerable who will suffer first of all. You may be aware of the spate of suicides in Greece, where there has been real misery.

          Austerity is starting to work here, after the Labour Party got the UK mired in debt. The UK economy grew by 0.6% in Q2 of this year. It is the lesser of two evils.

      2. I’m an unemployed homosexual 22 year old who’s suffered poverty because of the tory’s and if it’s a question of “best fit” then the tory’s definitley aren’t a good fit for me. They’ve demonized me for living off the small benefits they offer me and turned my lack of opportunity because of the recession and cuts into something I should be ashamed of.

        Thanks to job centre sanctions and housing benefit cuts I almost resorted to the only opportunities to make money I’ve been offered in the past few years: prostitution and drug dealing. Without help from my mother 50 miles away they would have been my only way to support myself and pay the rent.

        So when you write about how great the tory party is from your warm house with your full belly, remember the real people who are under their care and are feeling the real effect of their governing

        Mr. Pink

  26. Who cares? The LibLabCon are 3 cheeks of the same arse.

    1. Gary Powell 26 Jul 2013, 8:50pm

      With UKIP and the BNP the holes between them?

  27. You know what I call people who subscribe to a politcal party or an ideology based on the actions of one man regarding one issue?

    A sheep. A stupid, stupid sheep.

  28. Paul Halsall 30 Jul 2013, 3:47pm

    If you are gay and have AIDS, and actually feel ill (as will happen to all PWAs – your stomach bacteria, bones, and aging all are changed by the disease and the pills). Cameron’s evisceration of the the benefits system and NHS is scary.

    I am glad about gay marriage, but don’t forget all us people with AIDS who need state help.

    And with the silliness of many young gay men, it is estimated 50% will be HIV+ by the age of 50.

  29. Michael Igoe 31 Jul 2013, 11:11pm

    It would be nice to think that Dave and his cronies showed any principle in their hounding and harassing of disabled people and other claimants, many of these already known to be severely ill. Last year alone, it’s reported, around 1,200 people adjudged fit to work died before reaching interviews.

  30. Well I’m sorry but as far as I can see the Conservatives are a bunch of rich, selfish people and half his party didn’t support equal marriage and he only did it because there was lots of pressure for him to do so.
    Labour would have done exactly the same and took many steps which have got us to this point, David Cameron only added the final piece.
    And there is a lot more to the conservatives than this, they persecute the poor, want to privatise the NHS and give tax breaks to the rich.
    If it wasn’t for Harold Wilson we would all be in prison or worrying about it right now.
    Overall, one act does not redeem them of the other policies they have.
    I am a labour supporter at the moment but am looking in to other leftist parties.

    Just to add, when politicians say homophobic things, it’s usually a Conservative.
    Just an opinion no offence to anyone who thinks different.

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