Tag Archives: gay marriage

The word ‘straight’ isn’t homophobic. Now can we get on to the stuff that matters, please?

Two significant events this week in the campaign for equal LGBT rights…

First, as we reported this week, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg asked that the ‘Pride flag’ be flown from Whitehall to symbolise Government support for Saturday’s rally in London. As The Sun’s political editor Tom Newton-Dunn tweeted:

(The picture show here was taken by Verity Harding: you can follow her on Twitter here.)

Secondly, Nick Clegg voiced his personal support for religious gay marriage for those which wish to recognise and celebrate a same-sex union:

… in an interview with the London Evening Standard to mark the World Pride event, Mr Clegg said: “This is a personal view at the moment, but I think that in exactly the same way that we shouldn’t force any church to conduct gay marriage, we shouldn’t stop any church that wants to conduct gay marriage. I don’t see why two individuals who love each other and want to show commitment to each other should not be able to do so in a way that is socially recognised as being marriage.”

A couple of weeks ago, Nick recorded this message — described by Attitude as “a really passionate, well-articulated support for equal marriage” — for Out for Marriage:

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Clegg: Gay marriage vote not a matter of conscience

Nick Clegg “lit the blue touchpaper” yesterday by putting forward a forthright position on gay marriage on The Andrew Marr Show:

We are not asking any person with religious convictions to sacrifice anything. We are simply saying those who want to show a lifelong commitment to each other should be able to do so.

…In the same way the civil partnerships legislation which was introduced under Labour was a whipped vote, I personally don’t think this is something which should be subject to a great free

Posted in News | 36 Comments

Is this the most biased opinion poll question ever asked?

The Coalition for Marriage was launched last week. And as many groups do to try and drum up some publicity announce themselves to the world, they commissioned an opinion poll of public attitudes to equal marriage.

Which is fair enough. But then, it appears, a thought struck them. The UK is, by and large, a tolerant nation, with the vast majority now accepting of gay and lesbian relationships being respected and recognised. So… how to pose an opinion poll question that could produce the result they wanted?

Thankfully, ComRes (a member of the British Polling Council) did them proud. You can read …

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LibLink: Lynne Featherstone on marriage – this is not gay rights versus religious beliefs

Writing in the Daily Telegraph Lynne Featherstone says:

I believe that if a couple love each other and want to commit to a life together, they should have the option of a civil marriage, irrespective of whether they are gay or straight.

We are not prioritising gay rights, or trampling over tradition; we are allowing a space for the two to exist side by side…

Marriage is a right of passage for couples who want to show they are in a committed relationship, for people who want to show they have

Posted in LibLink and News | Also tagged , and | 12 Comments

Gay marriage, animal insults and a pair of Conservatives

Conservative Councillor James Malliff  is in trouble with his party after attacking David Cameron’s support for gay marriage, saying that you “may as well legalise marriage with animals”. The Conservative Party says that action is being taken against him for “completely unacceptable” language.

But wait, rummage through your political memories and recall this?

If gay marriage was OK – and I was uncertain on the issue – then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men, or indeed three men and a dog.

That would be one Mr B. Johnson, subsequently twice appointed …

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Government takes another step towards equal civil marriage

Ahead of the keynote conference speech from Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone on Saturday afternoon, the Government has announced another step towards making civil marriage available to same-sex couples.

A public consultation on how best to do this will start in March next year, with a strong hint of legislation then following in this Parliament: “I am delighted to confirm that in March, this Government will begin a formal consultation on equal civil marriage for same-sex couples. This would allow us to make any legislative changes before the end of this Parliament” said Lynne Featherstone.

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Are there two Ben Summerskills?

I only wonder, because it’s a bit odd if the Ben Summerskill who last September said it was too soon to decide on whether or not to support gay marriage as he would not be “jumped into” expressing a view on proposals (on what is, after all, hardly a new issue) is the same Ben Summerskill who is now complaining that the government is not moving quickly enough on the issue?

Though if I were a minister, I’d be tempted to write to him, “Yes Ben, we’re not moving at the speed you’ve strongly argued for previously. We’re moving much …

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Ed Fordham writes: Oooh… equal everyone – surely not?

Filling out a form the other day the options were single, married, divorced, civil partnerships – so I didn’t complete that question.

No other, no long-term relationship – so it clearly didn’t apply to me… I tried explaining this to the person at the desk and they were positively un-interested. But yet again it irritated me.

Surely I’m not the only person who because I can’t marry (and therefore can’t divorce!), who hasn’t had a civil partnership, but considers themselves to be in a long term relationship?

Cue Equality Minister, Lynne Featherstone and the influence of the Liberal Democrats in the Government.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

Opinion: What does Stonewall want if it isn’t gay marriage?

I resigned from Stonewall many years ago when I realised that they don’t speak for me or much of the UK’s LGBT community and is too blinkered and led by its own politics, rather than campaigning for what their members want.

Ben Summerskill and Angela Mason before him only appear to do what Labour wanted, when Labour wanted it.

In recent weeks we have seen Stonewall attacked for their silence on the issue of gay marriage, but I want to throw in an extra attack on them before I get onto gay marriage.

If you visit the main Stonewall website …

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Equal marriage debate features in Pod Delusion

Agressively secularist podcast the Pod Delusion has, since its inception, carried pieces from contributors and former contributors to Lib Dem Voice. Former LDV editor Will Howells has guest-edited the podcast, and appeared in the first three episodes.

Latterly, I’ve started showing up in the occasional episode, holding forth on leaflets, tesco and polling day.

One time friend of t’Voice and party presidential hopeful Jennie Rigg added her distinctive voice with a rant about teenagers (but in a good way) and an interview with Julian Huppert MP.

And on the first birthday of Pod Delusion, both me and Will Howells appeared on a stage together for the first time – both trying to get a serious point across and make people laugh – at Pod Delusion Live. Much fun was had by all. And there was a most entertaining acronym of “atheist”.

So, to this week’s episode, released in the early hours of Friday morning. I took some of our recording of the Equal Marriage debate at Lib Dem conference and chopped it up and made commentary, almost like a real reporter / journalisty thing. Go me. The resultant reportage is cheek by jowl with reports on “Protest the Pope”, phone hacking and a trolling masterclass.

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Making LGBT History – An Interview with Adrian Trett

Adrian Trett is Chair of DELGA, the person responsible for the Equal Marriage motion and someone I am proud to call a dear friend. Following the success of the motion I interviewed Adrian about his feelings about conference in general and the motion in particular

Q: What was your overall impression of conference?

A: I was really pleased, I thought it was exhilarating, everyone was so enthusiastic. On the way to conference I thought there may be arguments, but I found it to be a pleasing atmosphere and was thrilled to be there.

Q: How did you feel when you left?

A: I left …

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PODCAST: Equal marriage debate

After a brief hiatus during which our podcast host migrated us to an account we hadn’t asked for during our busiest week, we can now bring you, in full, the debate on LGBT marriage from Tuesday’s conference floor.

This debate may not necessarily be of interest to the wider public, but certainly anyone who loves Lib Dem conference will recognise many of the aspects of the debate.

Highlights for me include Dr Evan Harris’s explanation, in the opening minutes of the debate of his stint as the only openly gay Lib Dem MP despite not actually being gay; the Voice’s own Sara …

Play
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LibLink: Stephen Gilbert – It’s time for an equal, gender-neutral, marriage law

Over at The Independent, Lib Dem MP for Newquay & St Austell Stephen Gilbert explains his support for equal LGBT rights, which took another step forward today with the Lib Dem conference support for equal marriage. Here’s an excerpt:

… despite the repeal of Section 28, the equalisation of the age of consent, same-sex adoption and civil partnerships; homophobia still rears its ugly head in playgrounds, workplaces and even in the home. It’s unacceptable. It’s an individual’s right to live their lives as they see fit, without discrimination, with personal privacy, with equal rights in front of the law. That’s

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Liberal Democrats support equal marriage for LGBT community

This morning the Lib Dems voted to extend civil partnerships to heterosexual couples and open the institution of marriage to gay couples.

Conference was addressed by a broad spectrum of those directly affected by the issue and many supporters from the sideline.

Amongst the speakers was former mayoral candidate Brian Paddick who spoke of his own experience of marriage. He was married in the UK to a woman in the early 1980s before his growing realisation of his own sexuality. Since falling in love with a Norwegian man in the 2000s he took advantage of the change of law in …

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LibLink: Stephen Gilbert – Why we must be fighting for full same sex marriage equality now

Over at Pink News, Lib Dem MP for St Austell & Newquay Stephen Gilbert writes in support of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) marriage equality and explains why LGBT rights organisations should be fighting for marriage equality now. Here’s an excerpt:

As a society we have set a standard for people who want to show they are in a committed relationship, for people who want to show that they have found love and wish to remain together until death do them part. We call it marriage. Why should we deny that institution to people who wish to show that commitment

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LDVUSA: California’s Proposition 8 overturned

America’s gay rights activists were celebrating last night as a judge re-legalised gay marriage, making the latest step in the long-running battle in the US and the state of California.

Previously, legal gay marriage had been granted to Californians following successful legal challenge on discrimination grounds of the rules that meant marriage was only available to heterosexual couples.

Only after thousands of gay Californians had tied the knot did anti-gay activists manage to get a proposition on the ballot paper last to ask voters whether gay marriage should be disallowed.  By a narrow margin, Californians voted to end homogamy in their state …

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Daily View 2×2: 29 December 2009

May I be the first to wish you, “Happy That Bit Between Christmas and New Year.”

Whether you’re at work, at home, working from home, or none of the above, here’s your Daily View for Tuesday:

Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of William Ewart Gladstone, Liberal statesman and four-times Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. (By the way, remember to nominate your Liberal Voice of 2009 here.)

It’s also 34 years since the Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Acts came into force, legislation which now faces overdue modernisation and streamlining by the Equality Bill.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that caught my eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • Cameron’s potted plants underline the difference. Peter Black’s post (a late contender for my favourite blog post title of 2009) features a video of Jacob Rees-Mogg, Tory candidate for North East Somerset, “a key Conservative candidate who reflects the views of many in his party that he is a member of the ruling class with a God-given right to be in Government and that as far as he is concerned the rest of us are just potted plants.”
  • Is photography the new crime? Andrew Reeves takes a photo of the police taking a photo of the protesters.

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

Fury as China executes British drug smuggler

China was this morning condemned for its human rights record after a British man who, his supporters say, had mental health problems, was executed for smuggling drugs.

Akmal Shaikh, 53, was shot dead by a firing squad at 10.30am local time (2.30am British time) after frantic last-minute pleas for clemency by the Foreign Office failed.

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LDV USA: No surprises in Nov 3rd US state and city elections – Obama gets a bloody nose

In a followup piece to his preview of US Elections ’09, Paul Elgood updates us on the results of yesterdays voter ballots across America.

Somewhat predictably President Obama got a wake-up call last night in the 3rd November elections. Attention focused on a handful of contests, most notably for the Virginia and New Jersey Governor’s Mansions. Both unsurprisingly went to the Republicans – in Virginia by a wide margin, closer in New Jersey.

However, it wasn’t all bad news for the Democrats. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg got an unexpected tougher ride, with a far closer than anticipated …

Posted in LDVUSA and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , and | 5 Comments

New from US campaigning

As we covered at the time, a feature of US elections is referendums on social issues, and an important one that happened last year was California’s Proposition 8.  Californian courts had ruled that marriage should be available to gay couples. Voters were asked whether they wished to change the constitution to revert to the status ante quo and remove marriage as an option for homosexuals.

The campaign was hard fought and tons of money was raised on each side.  Donations over a $100 had to be registered with records made publicly available.   During the campaign, there was some …

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