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Owen Jones: Cameron was courageous on equal marriage but it could have happened under Labour

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  1. Philip Breen 30 Jul 2013, 12:17pm

    Labour would say that. Civil Partnerships- ok. Labour did do that. But there are many other things they could have done that still need doing. Labour wasn’t that brilliant on gay rights. Look at the mess that still needs to be cleared up about the disclosure of the old gay convictions and the Criminal Records Bureau. Labour could have dealt with that in 2002 at the very rollout of the CRB and saved alot of Misery for many. That Pope Francis has managed to decry institutional homophobia shows that Labour hasn’t shown itself overly progressive or radical.

    1. GulliverUK 30 Jul 2013, 2:08pm

      Labour could have done equal marriage in 2004 and saved us all this crap – religion and state have fought over this even now, so they could have had that fight in 2004. They didn’t do anything to stop bulling in schools, but then neither has this coalition. They didn’t fix the historical criminal records – but then this coalition hasn’t either. 16,000 requests and only 2 successful. They could have fixed the blood ban during the last few years of office but didn’t, but then nor did this coalition government. We’re still effectively banned, because two people in a committed relationship, with the same risk as heterosexuals, are denied to donate. Even other countries have sort this out.

      And very importantly, they left us with highly discriminatory pensions, which Labour did nothing to fix all the time they were in office, and it may be that this coalition won’t fix it either.

      Equal marriage shouldn’t take a year to come in, it should be months at most. Still lots to do.

      1. Equal marriage, I suspect, would have failed in 2004 because support for it just wasn’t strong enough then. Like most things to do with social attitudes, progress is often a series of little steps rather than big ones. Civil Partnerships may not have been the apogee of equality, but they did address some of the most cruel injustices that some gay couples had to experience. It was this that paved the way for Equal Marriage, because many realised that civilisation didn’t grind to a halt as a result of CPs.

        I don’t doubt that there is much more to be done; but as always, the progress to full equality is often a long one. Thankfully, now that we have Equal Marriage, we can speed up progress on the other issues, especially after the 2015 General Election.

    2. ERRRRRR . . . Owen must be mad ! ! !

      Labour had THIRTEEN YEARS to implement equal marriage – yet didn’t and ONLY jumped on the bandwagon of the Liberal Democrats.

      Labour STOPPED equal marriage when they had a HUGE majority and STOPPED and equal age of consent . . . both with the support of Stonewall.

      Mr Jones obviously doesn’t know anything about this subject and he usually decries “Labour would have also done it . . ” . . . when during THIRTEEN YEARS and huge majorities, they didn’t . . .

  2. Why do the media keep wheeling out this idiot?

    1. because he’s one of them?

    2. Michael 2912 30 Jul 2013, 1:47pm

      To suggest that Owen Jones is an idiot is, well, idiotic. We could do with more like him in the mainstream media.

    3. GulliverUK 30 Jul 2013, 2:13pm

      Uncalled for. He’s a very talented thoughtful reasoned and rational commentator, and I happen to agree with most of what he says, both in this piece and lots of others.

      It’s really easy … and lazy … to call someone an idiot without stating why you think they are one. Perhaps you would be more comfortable on ConservativeHome ?

      1. He’s a disgusting little Marxist internationalist Islamophile, more concerned with silly schoolboy fantasies of human solidarity and all that rubbish, only too happy to step on the British working class in pursuit of his horrid border-less utopia, approving of the mass-immigration of 3rd world filth (Woolwich attack, 7/7 bombings, grooming gangs, 50% London non-British, hate preachers, 10% young people Muslim, rise of the far-right). I’ve watched his videos and read what he’s written. He and his comrades are insidious vermin (I’m not an old geezer btw, I’m only 20).

        1. Joe Briggs 30 Jul 2013, 2:57pm

          Seconded and i’m 19

        2. Paul Halsall 30 Jul 2013, 3:42pm

          You sound like a Nazi. Owen is great.

        3. It may surprise you but most people in Britain do get on and live side by side peacefully. I have friends of all different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, most of the time though that doesn’t even cross my mind. I think human diversity is a wonderful thing and I don’t think that automatically makes me a Marxist. When people say “multiculturalism is a failed experiment” what they are doing is focusing on a minority of cases where their has been tension or ignore benefits of it because it suits their own prejudices.

          If you only see the worst in people because you’re so blinkered then I sorry for you, I actually enjoy my life and I am interested in the people that I meet. If you’re from the EDL or some other hatemongering organisation trying to recruit on here, can I just say that you’re going to be sorely disappointed, most of us are intelligent enough not to fall for that bollocks and we know that you’d try to take away our rights if you got the chance. Good day.

          1. It may surprise you but most people in Britain do get on and live side by side peacefully. I have friends of all different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, most of the time though that doesn’t even cross my mind. I think human diversity is a wonderful thing and I don’t think that automatically makes me a Marxist. When people say “multiculturalism is a failed experiment” what they are doing is focusing on a minority of cases where there has been tension or ignore benefits of it because it suits their own prejudices.

            If you only see the worst in people because you’re so blinkered then I sorry for you, I actually enjoy my life and I am interested in the people that I meet. If you’re from the EDL or some other hatemongering organisation trying to recruit on here, can I just say that you’re going to be sorely disappointed, most of us are intelligent enough not to fall for that bollocks and we know that you’d try to take away our rights if you got the chance. Good day.

      2. How many nasty little crypto-fascists are lurking around this site?

        Judging by the ratings of some of the above comments I’d say a few.

  3. As far as I can work out, Stonewall , Ben Bradshaw and the Lab party only supported equal marriage when they knew Cameron wasn’t going to back down and they started having bad publicity. They were shamed into supporting it, which is a rather sad state of affairs, considering they , Stonewall, are the ones getting some much of the credit now.

    If the Tories AND!!! Lib dems hadn’t got in , we’d still be stuck with Brown and Darling and we’d be in exactly the same place. Stonewall and Bradshaw would be telling the whole world that gays didn’t want marriage and CPs were so brilliant. Despite the fact that the rest of the world are fighting for equal marriage.

    As for fighting for straight CPs, which by the way is completely different to French PACS, then some of us would prefer CPs to be dropped completely and a French PACS system introduced for all. PACS was always meant NOT to be like marriages (unlike CPs) and therefore PACS is an alternative form of partnership.

    1. GulliverUK 30 Jul 2013, 2:23pm

      Bed Bradshaw has learnt his lesson, as did Ben Summerskill. There was outrage when they practically refused to support a campaign for equal marriage. There were calls for Summerskill to resign. I think he’s done an ok job here, and on school anti-bullying campaigns Stonewall have done loads. But with so much more to do he’d be wrong to think he can’t be replaced if he steps out of line again, by refusing to push for what most in the community want.

      I think getting the government to re-review those criminal offence convictions needs to be done, and I think they should work on that. Stonewall need to remember they work for the whole LGBT community, and sometimes it feels like they’re out-of-touch and elitist, and that they don’t provide a platform where we can get involved. I want to see many, many more calls to action via email, I also want them to provide more legal services and call on them to go our and raise more money from us, grassroots LGBT people for their causes.

  4. Gordon Brown – who would have remained Prime Minister had Labour won in 2010, told PinkNews before the election that he did not support same-sex marriage.


    The Lib Dems – and Nick Clegg in particular – supported it in 2010, and the Tories said they would consider the case for change in their Equalities Manifesto. Three years later it is law. So no, it would not have happened under Labour. It was only going to happen under a Lib Dem or a Tory/Lib Dem government.

    I’m no fan of the Tories, but I would say to Ed Miliband that he needs to apologise for the Labour government he served in wrecking our economy, racking up the nation’s debt, and necessitating the current austerity. When Labour come up with a credible economic message, then they can start being taken seriously again as a party of government.

    1. Haven’t you heard, Labour are going to stick with the cuts. Their election strategy is to criticise them every step of the way and reverse nothing if they get into power.
      Why their poll ratings are good for copying the Coalition’s policies and criticising them at the same time i have no idea

      You made a very well thought out and reasoned post though and no logical argument could pick it apart, like for example a half baked rant from an Owen Jones trying to rewrite history

  5. Bengal Tiger 30 Jul 2013, 12:32pm

    Well, disregarding what he says, Owen Jones looks pretty fishy lol, he can come do an exposé on me any time. :-)

    1. Bengal Tiger 30 Jul 2013, 12:33pm

      Dishy, bloody auto correct.

      1. Capn Haddock 30 Jul 2013, 2:12pm

        Into hunky mermen obviously.

        On the issue, I don’t think it would have happened under Labour at this time, because Gordon Brown would had been PM, and he was not in favour.

  6. “above all is down to the struggle and sacrifice of LGBT activists throughout history, who for a great cost were vilified and demonised by the press, seen as ‘poofs’ and ‘queers’ and ‘deviants’, who when they marched in the early 1970s were regarded as beneath contempt.”

    And yet so many younger LBGT, choose to forget this so easily. Bravo for hi-lighting this Mr Jones

    1. And some people (not all) irrespective of age seem to forget on this site too.

      We are so quick to label other countries as “backward”, “savages” or “uncivilised”.
      Yes, the actions of the homophobes in those countries is barbaric but to simply dismiss an entire culture is just ridiculous. It’s as if people suffer from collective amnesia when it comes to our very recent past. I think many of us regardless of age are guilty of being content because of our privileged position to some degree, not just younger people.

  7. I disdagree with him that we are at the ‘last hurdle’ – we now need action on bullying in school and sport, together with worldwide homophobia in Russia, Africa etc. There’s a long way to go. If Cameron wants to really convince us he is serious about gay rights, having seen off Anne Widdecombe, he could now try taking on Vladimir Putin.

  8. Pavlos Prince of Greece 30 Jul 2013, 1:33pm

    I am and was not surprised at all: historically Labor is not only party of workers, but also of religious minorities like Catholics. Indeed, under early 2000-es more British Catholics has voted for Labor than Conservatives. 2003-04 gay marriage was legal only in two European countries, Netherlands and Belgium, and British public was much less in favor of this than now (even 2006 more Brits was against gay marriage than in favor, at least in the BBC pol). Really shame is that “Section” was abolished only at the very end of first term of Labor government, civil partnerships was legalised just at the end of 2-nd term, and anti-gay rules in the British army was changed only after ruling of European Human Rights Court. However, its in some sense very logical that an aristocratic and openly Anglican Cameron was more determinate on marriage equality 2011-13 than an “secret” Catholic and passionate reader of “Daily Mail” ten years earlier.

  9. Why did Cameron snub Peter Tatchell? And the only reason Cameron supported equal marriage is because if he didn’t the Lib-Dem would have walked away from government

    1. Michael 2912 30 Jul 2013, 1:53pm

      Yes, maybe, but we have it.

  10. I’m convinced there was a deal made between Labour, the Churches & Stonewall that CP’s could be brought in if Marriage was left alone. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard opponents of Marriage complain “but we were promised by the last government in 2004 that this would never happen”

    Stonewall , Ben Bradshaw etc commenced by actively trying to undermine the move towards a Marriage Bill.

    My reaidng is that DC genuinely did support Marriage because he is a conservative, whereas Labour opposed it because the are socialist-feminists & had been happy to do a deal with institutionalised religion.

    The pressure obviously came from the ordinary people, encouraged by the international move to Marriage which had been happening for over 10 years.

  11. GulliverUK 30 Jul 2013, 2:34pm

    Equal marriage would have come regardless of whomever was in power, because there are UK cases, both gay and straight, at the ECHR, and regardless of not yet seeing same-sex marriage as a right across the EU, it would almost certainly have said that the governments actions were discriminatory in the UK.

    It is very likely that a government might have come and gone before the ruling, but it would almost certainly have come to the UK regardless of the colour of their ties. We owe that strategy to Peter Tatchell, but it’s also time, society has finally gotten to know us and found the lies put about by religion to be false. They supported equal marriage back in 2009 at 61% (Populus poll). When the poll was re-run in 2011 it was 65%. These were neutral questions.

    So we can thank those who were brave and came out, society for their progressive acceptance, and Peter Tatchell for forcing the legal systems hand with the Equal Love campaign.

    1. I don’t think the European Court of Human Rights would have done. In its decision in 2010 in Schalk and Kopf v Austria, the Court clearly stated that prohibiting same-sex marriage does not contravene the Convention, including Article 14 which prohibits discrimination. The Court is not blind to the fact that of the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe, just 10 have legalised same-sex marriage. On social issues like these, the Court gives quite a wide margin of appreciation to countries until there is a consensus. As there is no consensus on this issue in Europe, the Court is not going to step in.

      To be honest, I’m glad that in the UK we managed to get equal marriage without drawn-out litigation, or worse, a referendum. The democratic process took its course with consultation, debate and free votes in Parliament over a year or two. I thought the whole process was rather civilised.

  12. Jock S. Trap 30 Jul 2013, 2:45pm

    The difference is that David Cameron went into the last General Election saying he would look into the Marriage Bill.

    Gordon Brown when asked at the last General Election stated that Civil partnerships were enough.

    Fact is I doubt we would have this Bill in Summer 2014 under Labour had Gordon Brown won. In Fact I wonder if we would have had to wait to nearer 2020 before we got it.

    I do accept what Labour did for the LGBT community during it’s terms in office, whether by there own merit or by enforcement by the EU.

    Fact remains though that I think under Labour we would be waiting a lot longer before things got moving and credit, where credit is due David Cameron did forfil an Election promise and many of his own bigots to push this through all the way.

  13. This guy never once mentioned that the EU forced Labour to adopt all of these policies. Is he feeling so butthurt by Conservatives passing the equal marriage which Labour refused us that he has to try and big them up now the Conservatives have done it against huge odds and overcome such obstacles?

    Credit where credit is due. Labour jumped on the bandwagon on this and Pink News can get all the pro Labour journalists they like to write another of these stories every week, but they can’t rewrite history with their misinformation

    1. Bill Cameron 30 Jul 2013, 4:12pm

      Precisely :)

    2. BS. Please stop revising history. Civil Partnerships weren’t “forced” by the EU. That was entirely up to the people campaigning and the Labour government. Neither was the equalising of the age of consent. Many countries in the EU still have neither, and are not required to have either.

      Frankly, the Labour government may not have given us gay marriage, but they paved the way for it. Without all the pro-gay laws passed by Labour, we wouldn’t have gay marriage today.

      Not to mention the fact that without Labour this bill wouldn’t have passed. More than half of Conservative MPs voted against the same sex marriage bill whereas almost 90% of Labour MPs voted for it. The Tory leadership may be pro-gay, but the majority of the party is still anti-gay. Overall, Labour is still easily the more pro-gay party of the two.

  14. Andrew Turner 30 Jul 2013, 4:13pm

    Nice article and I’m a great admirer of Mr Jones. But, wow, what terrible editing…it makes him sound like likes he has severe ADHD and a vocal twitch for the word ‘obviously’…

  15. Christine Beckett 30 Jul 2013, 7:12pm

    Not a chance it would have happened under Labour when either Blair or Brown were in charge. There was just too much religious influence (especially Catholic) in the party.

  16. Owen Jones knows his stuff!!

  17. Owens the sort of guy i could happily have a sensible well thought out debate with!

  18. gattagiudecca 30 Jul 2013, 10:49pm

    I’ve noticed a lot of the comments on here stating that everything Labour did for LGBT equality, they only did because they were forced to by Europe. Am I missing something? That isn’t true.

    With regards to equal marriage, a lot of people are arguing about this with the benefit of hindsight. Correct – Labour didn’t bring it in. But there was no real call for marriage during that time. In 1997 we didn’t even have an equal age of consent for gay men, never mind bringing in gay marriage. Civil Partnerships were celebrated when they came in. Few people felt they were 2nd best (unlike me, who refused to get a civil partnership because they were not equal).

    I am glad Cameron brought in gay marriage and I admire him for doing so. But that doesn’t take away from the achievements made by Labour for LGBT equality. I don’t understand why the people commenting here have to be so partisan about it. Why not give credit where it is due? We wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for Labour.

  19. I stopped reading after “influential commentator”. Since when did this twit, who just spouts drivel, become influential?

  20. My thoughts exactly, labour brought us to this point Cameron just added the finishing touch

  21. Yes Labour at some stage would have brought forward legislation, but like so many things it took a CONSERVATIVE Prime Minister to do whats right even when faced with the majority of his party voting against him.

  22. labour did s lot of good for glbt peole in office. equalised age of consent, enabled gays into the military, enabled civil partnerships, right to change gender 2005, adoption 2005, the police acted on hate crimes, discrimination of gender identity, repeal of section 28.labour spearheaded trans people being ‘not having a mental illnsess .to be honest its hard to have imagined all this in such a short time.good for labour!

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