Simon Hughes: Coalition Government will legislate to allow gay marriage

Here’s how PinkNews reports it:

Simon Hughes, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, has said that the government will give gay couples the right to civil marriage. He predicted that the change would be made before the next general election. Mr Hughes said a consultation would take place in the coalition government on taking civil partnership to the next level.

Speaking in a video interview, he said: “It would be appropriate in Britain in 2010, 2011, for there to be the ability for civil marriage for straight people and gay people equally. That’s different of course from faith ceremonies which are matters for the faith communities… they have to decide what recognition to give. The state ought to give equality. We’re halfway there. I think we ought to be able to get there in this parliament.”

Currently, gay couples in the UK can have a civil partnership, which is not called marriage. They may not have a religious ceremony.

Nick Clegg set out his full support for gay marriage at the start of the year.

The contenders for the Labour leadership, meanwhile, are split, with Ed Balls, Diane Abbott, and Andy Burnham supporting full marriage equality. The Miliband brothers, however, have side-stepped the issue.

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37 Comments

  • Strictly speaking Simon was not announcing gov’t policy, he was simply stating his personal opinion & the committee looking into this etc. Would be nice but it’s not exactly what he said.

    Interestingly the Telegraph in reporting this story rightly pointed out it was the Conservative party who as the only major party floated this idea pre-election, so you never know.

  • @Jae – to the Telegraph, they probably *are* the only party anyway 😉

  • But what’s interesting is that the Telegraph finds it appropriate to insist that the Conservatives don’t need pushing on this issue! Just note how different this is from just a few years ago. It seems clear to me that Simon Hughes didn’t intend an official anouncement, and was just stating a personal opinion – but I think he is judging the climate accurately.

  • Paul McKeown 20th Jul '10 - 1:28pm

    Yes, a government that lets people live their lives and love their loves just the way they want without telling them how it should be. As it should be. Even Philip Hollobone’s stuff about banning the “burqa” just dismissed by Damien Green saying that telling people what they should and should not wear is not the British way.

  • Paul McKeown 20th Jul '10 - 2:13pm

    @Al Shaw

    a) Did we ever have your vote?
    b) If so, why?
    c) And if so, who do propose to vote for instead?
    d) What is it that you object to?

  • Paul McKeown 20th Jul '10 - 2:21pm

    Re: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/jul/20/councillor-inquiry-stupid-scientology-tweet

    Editors: can we have a piece about this IMPORTANT ISSUE please which is directly affecting a Liberal Democrat councillor.

    Parliament, Government and Liberal Democrats in it: can we PLEASE have some legislation that allows courts to recognise that Scientology is not a religion but a money leeching scam which preys on the credulous and vulnerable.

  • It’s encouraging but I am confused by the timetable in getting gay marriage recognised – other lib dems have recently said equally vague promises and I am still worried by what exactly Featherstone means by consulting with all those with a stake – as far as I know the only people with a stake in this are those who want to get married..

    On July 3rd pinknews reported Featherstone as saying about gay marriage

    “Both leaders have made clear they are relaxed about the issue, if not in favour of it.

    “It’s up to the people really. The government will be consulting with all those with a stake.”

    She added this would include anti-gay campaigners and said: “It’s really got to come from other people, then we’ll see where we are.”

    On about the same day Nick Clegg reports in his pre pride message a much more postive message

    “The Liberal Democrats are passionate supporters of equality for the LGBT community … That’s why we have been clear ……. promoting civil partnerships, pushing for gay marriage ……..”

    So where exactly are we on this issue?

    As for Al, I’m not sure which party he is going to vote for in the future. It seems that most parties are toying with the question of gay marriage…

  • Paul McKeown 20th Jul '10 - 2:38pm

    Sorry to hijack this article, but this scientology nonsense has really got my got

    Further to my short post about legislating against scientology, I would suggest that it is very easy. Simply require that all religions organised in this country must be prepared to distribute their scriptures at cost or cost plus. All genuine religions will be delighted to do this, but scam artists such the scientodgery adepts would be busted as they depend on feeding credulous fools with promises of initiation into deeper and deeper mysteries to be found in their writings.

  • Stuart Mitchell 20th Jul '10 - 2:59pm

    Paul, 1:28pm: “Yes, a government that lets people live their lives… just the way they want without telling them how it should be. As it should be.”

    Paul, 2:38pm: “Further to my short post about legislating against scientology, I would suggest that it is very easy.”

    Paul, you have flipped from libertarian to authoritarian in record time!!

  • Andrea Gill 20th Jul '10 - 3:15pm

    @Maria: “But what’s interesting is that the Telegraph finds it appropriate to insist that the Conservatives don’t need pushing on this issue! Just note how different this is from just a few years ago. It seems clear to me that Simon Hughes didn’t intend an official anouncement, and was just stating a personal opinion – but I think he is judging the climate accurately.”

    Yes that was my point of the quote at the end of their article, that was very interesting!

  • Paul McKeown 20th Jul '10 - 3:50pm

    @Stuart Mitchell
    Authoritarian?
    Are you defending scientology and its fraudulent practises?
    Have you any answer to my point that any genuine religion would be prepared to provide its scriptures at cost price or cost plus?
    Or are you just needlessly trying to pick a fight?

  • Paul M: “Scientology is not a religion but a money leeching scam which preys on the credulous and vulnerable.”

    So, exactly like a religion then?

    Back on subject, this is great news. Yet more signs that this is a progressive coalition. Can we also have civil partnership equality for hetero couples as well. Thanks.

  • Paul McKeown 20th Jul '10 - 4:07pm

    @MBoy

    That is a rather cynical view of mainstream religions an, in my experience, unjustified.

  • Paul McKeown 20th Jul '10 - 4:41pm

    @Jae

    My distinction between mainstream and fraudulent is quite simple: mainstream religions exist to promote a moral framework and/or to save the believer for eternity. Scientology doesn’t do this: it is merely an exercise to bilk thousands or tens of thousands from gullible people. Emptying wallets is its sole reason for existence and always has been. The way it does this is to persuade the credulous that the mysteries to be found in its hidden scriptures will help redeem the purchaser. If scientology genuinely believed in its form of redemption it would be prepared to make its scriptures available at cost or cost plus. Every mainstream religion would be delighted to supply its scriptures to any that asked at cost, as every mainstream religion believes what it promotes. Scientology would not be prepared to do this, as it is merely a fraudulent business, rather than a genuine belief in redemption.

  • Paul – for 1,000 years Christianity made it a crime to even produce its scriptures in a language readable by its believers. Scientology has another 900 years to improve itself before it should be judged by Christianity’s standards.

  • Stuart Mitchell 20th Jul '10 - 7:30pm

    @Paul

    For the government to be pontificating (so to speak) on whether a particular religion were more or less valid than any other would indeed be authoritarian. Government should not get involved in matters of personal faith. Your suggestion that we should apply the full force of the legislature and courts to stop some Lib Dem councilor getting a slap on the wrist by an ombudsman is ludicrous, as ought to be obvious to you if you calm down and think about it for a moment.

    “Have you any answer to my point that any genuine religion would be prepared to provide its scriptures at cost price or cost plus?”

    Surely the only “genuine” religion would be a true one? Whether a religion were genuine or not (and in my opinion none of them are), I would not like to see it proscribed by the state as you would.

    “Or are you just needlessly trying to pick a fight?”

    That’s just silly.

  • Scientology has a history of using the law to bully its critics, just as Robert Maxwell and Sir “Jams” Goldsmith did. This is one such instance.

    Surely a councillor can be rude about an established religion or a pseudo-religious cult without being hauled before the Standards Board?

    I think, as a culture, we have turned political correctness into something approaching a tyrrany.

    BTW, the infamous tax evader, Mr Lafayette Ron Hubbard, can’t sue – he is dead.

  • Andrew Suffield 20th Jul '10 - 11:19pm

    the attempt to redefine marriage which throughout human hstory has been understood as a heterosexual union

    “marriage” is not a word that occurs throughout human history. It occurs only in modern English.

    Same-sex unions have existed throughout human history in one form or another.

    Myth: busted. Not a vote worth pandering to.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 20th Jul '10 - 11:59pm

    I think this is a positive move. Admittedly the consequences may not be very nice for Samantha and Miriam. But on the whole it can only strengthen the coalition.

  • Al – not sure what you are arguing about – you seem to be stuck on the semantics of the issue and not the consequences of having a gay marriage for same sex couples. Are you against equality for same sex couples or not? We don’t live in history , we live now. Many of us , although British and in a British CP, live abroad. Abroad ,eg France, a CP isequated to a PACS (a vers of a CP open to both same sex and opposite sex couples), yet a gay marriage from Holland is equated to a marriage. A PACS and a mariage have different consequences. Different rights. The CP law is different to marriage law. Why one law with straight people and another gay people. Marriage doesn’t mean man and woman to me. it means that you are married only and all the responsibilites and obligations of that word. A CP to me is merely a contract, something to give me the same (almost) rights as a married couple in France, the same rights as a PACSed couple in France. It really isn’t the same at all and is most certainly not the same abroad. CP are not a gay thing abroad they are open to straights and gays and are an inferiour partnerships with lesser rights and obligations of a marriage. We don’t all always live in the UK.

    By the way I am escastic that the lib dems are officially taking this on……

  • Andrew Suffield 21st Jul '10 - 9:31am

    The term (by which I obviously mean its equivilent term in the relevent local language) has been used to describe primarily heterosexual unions .

    So your objection is based on historical linguistics. Again, not a vote worth pandering to.

  • Sorry Al, you’ve lost me there. The definition of marriage between man and woman is not the imprtant issue, most people would see that as rather pedantic and petty. The concept of marriage is more important and what the concept gives you legally and morally and what status that word gives you both in the UK and the rest of the world. Definition of words do not remain the same in history, we progress etc. I have no idea what you mean about your defnition of human rights, community cohesion and equality – please explain in what way a change in the definition of married can possibly cuase any long term problem here – are these just words you have used for dramatic impact. It’s a nonsense. There is no proof anywhere in the world that allowing gay couples to get married have caused any long term impact in any of these areas – are you an expert on this, have you done a survey on it?…These countries have fallen into chaos becuase of the change. There are always protests, uproar on almost everything to start with , the idea of a seperate laws for gays and straights are discriminatory ,whatever those laws are, including a separate law on CP for gays only and a separate law on marriage for straights only.

  • Stuart Mitchell 21st Jul '10 - 9:53am

    Al: You are a little behind the times. Language, like society, evolves, and any decent modern dictionary will not restrict “marriage” to heterosexual unions.

    Now, I freely confess I am being mischievous here, but it occurs to me that if we are to have full marriage equality, then should we not also allow bisexual people (or anybody else for that matter) to practise polygamy? Off the top of my head I can’t think of a single reason why we shouldn’t allow this – yet somehow I don’t expect the government or Lib Dems to propose it any time soon!

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