Labour MP Ben Bradshaw: gay people aren’t bothered about marriage

Bizarre comments from Labour MP Ben Bradshaw on the government’s plans for marriage equality:

This isn’t a priority for the gay community, which already won equal rights with civil partnerships. We’ve never needed the word ‘marriage’, and all it’s done now is get a bunch of bishops hot under the collar. We’ve been pragmatic, not making the mistake they have in the US, where the gay lobby has banged on about marriage.

As Pink News goes on to report:

In 2010, 98 per cent of readers that identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans said they wanted full marriage equality*. Mr Bradshaw’s party leader, Ed Miliband that year called for full marriage equality for gay couples in an article for

Pink News has more on the story here.


* This was an online self-selecting survey

* Mark Pack is Party President and is the editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

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  • You’d think they should be bizarre but it’s quite a common sentiment within the Labour party. They really do believe civil partnerships to be a superior option over equal marriage for same sex couples. He words on the World at One today about Lib Dems only supporting equal marriage because we wanted to appear progressive spoke volumes!

  • Richard Dean 6th Apr '12 - 5:14pm

    Not everyone affected by the change reads Pink News, so their survey does not necessarily represent the opinions of the majority of those whose status will change. A more robust survey could be helpful. Without it, the possibility exists that the change might actually be going against what a majority of civil partners want.

  • @Richard As the change will not affect previous civilly partnered folk nor does it plan to affect any future ones, what possibly could be the problem with it? Their status will remain as civil partners, unless they choose to move it to a marriage.

    I agree the Pink News poll is completely flawed, but what civil partners think of the plan is as relevant to me as what anti-marriage equality people think. It’s good just for being regardless of how popular it is.

  • Richard Dean 6th Apr '12 - 6:07pm

    What an upside down world we live in. Bradshaw seems to be saying it’s not a priority, and Jason seems to be saying we should force it through even if people don’t want it. Is that a liberal or democratic response I wonder?

  • Freedom shouldn’t come with a democratic veto. Unless you wish for Government policy to be dependent solely upon polls? Shall we have a vote on the death penalty, asylum seekers, people of non-majority races, religious tolerance?

  • Richard Dean 6th Apr '12 - 6:57pm

    A true democrat would recognize that freedom is a complex concept and that democratic approach to what it means is the right way to go!

  • Having read his piece it makes a bit more sense, but I still disagree. As a married heterosexual man I cannot see why I can only be the former because of the latter. My view is that it is a statement that needs making. Ending segregation did not end racial abuse in he southern states of the USA, but it did mean it was no longer sanctioned discrimination. We are a long way down the road of removing homophobic abuse and discrimination from our mainstream society, but we need the law to confer equality of rights before we can complete the journey. We simply should not be saying that people are to be treated differently because of their sexuality….

  • John Carlisle 7th Apr '12 - 7:43am

    Steve, do you have any idea how silly your comment is? “not to be treated differently because of their sexuality”. Logically there is a huge difference between two men or women in a sexual relationship versus a woman and a man. And why do you conflate homophobism with resistance to changing the law on marriage? So, by your reasoning, Ben is homophobic?
    Mark Pack introduces the topic by describing Ben’s comments as bizarre. Why? Because he has a different view, which is reasonably argued? Bizarre? That describes much of the negative reaction I have read to a dissenting voice.
    If you want bizarre I suggest you attend some of the Gay Pride rallies and fetes. There you get bizarre.

  • Ben is far from alone in regarding civil partnership as an achievement for gay people which removes their legal disadvantages, provides them with a good way of committing to each other as partners (if they so wish) and in a sense gives them something they have made their own.

    In insisting on calling this marriage there is a real risk of alienating very many people – usually of various religious persuasions – who are genuinely liberal in their attitudes and surely should not be driven from our midst.

    We progressives have a habit at times of pushing further than we need on issues like this and then claiming we have a majority in favour and to hell weith the troubled minority. I call it the triumphalism of the narrow majority.

    I prefer broad consensus – except where crucial human rights are involved. Is this really one of those?

  • John Richardson 7th Apr '12 - 9:05am

    Bradshaw supports gay marriage. He says so in the first sentence of his blog. He thinks it has low priority because it’s not different enough to civil partnerships. He implies that if the legislation would force religious groups to recognise same-sex unions as marriages it would be more of a priority. I think this misses the point that the current law prohibits religious involvement in same-sex unions. Moving to a centre position where there is neither compulsion nor prohibition is a significant improvement over the current position.

  • @John Carlisle
    ” Logically there is a huge difference between two men or women in a sexual relationship versus a woman and a man. And why do you conflate homophobism with resistance to changing the law on marriage? So, by your reasoning, Ben is homophobic?”

    Two things, your ‘logic’ was the same type used to segregate those of different colours..flawed. Marriage is a legal entity and should be available to all. To deny it to same sex partners is to deprive them of the opportunity due entirely to their sexuality.

    Secondly, no of course Ben is not homophobic, if you had read his article you would know he supports gay marriage just does not see it as a priority.

  • John Carlisle 8th Apr '12 - 12:42pm

    Steve, now you are being silly again.
    My logic has nothing to do with colour. It is anatomical. A man and a man or a woman and a woman can have unprotected intercourse without the possibility of becoming pregnant. Logic. No parallel in race differentiation.

  • @John Carlisle
    I said your logic was the same type, not that it had anything to do with race.

    Expanding then are those unable to have children to be banned from marriage as well? If not you have not provided a reason why those of the same sex cannot be married.

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