Gay marriage stays!

In the aftermath of a tough set of election results for both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats – I couldn’t help but notice a few naysayers popping up in the media and uttering dire warnings about a government that needs to concentrate on core issues rather than same sex civil marriage.

For goodness sake – it’s not either / or.

The economy is clearly the No 1 priority – but the Coalition can multi-task!

There will be no u-turn on equal marriage – we are committed as a government to legislate by 2015



0 thoughts on “Gay marriage stays!

  1. Well said Lynne.

    Funny how all these naysayers fail to mention that Labour, who gained all these new councillors, also are in FULL support of gay marriage.

    But that would highlight a truth that they would prefer to hide.

  2. Thanks Lynne.

    Although after the news items in todays media I’m beginning to wonder if gay marriage will ever happen. Here are 2 fairly negative news items below. I think if the government don’t bring in gay marriage quickly then a lot of us will suspect that it has been “kicked into the long grass” (a comment from the Tory chief whip apparently from last week)

  3. Yes despite polls showing support for marriage eqality the Government now looks set to ditch the idea of same sex marriage.

    The people has a source from No10 saying that they will no longer be legislating for marriage equality.

    “A No10 source said last night: “Gay ­marriage is something we genuinely want to do, but ­because of everything that has happened now is not the time.”

  4. The government will do what it wants and feels is right to do. It’s very unfortunate however, that although you’re basically changing a millennia old tradition that will hugely impact society culturally, socially and spiritually, it’s being bulldozed through parliament. I’m sorry that there are a lot of prominent bigoted voices that appear to be the only ones in the ‘anti’ camp, but a decent party with integrity and intelligence would still respectfully try to consult with the great mass of people who wish for marriage to remain between a man and a woman rather than brand them all as outdated and prejudiced. You’re beter than that and the issue isn’t as black and white as it’s made out to be ie this is a civil rights, equality issue. A group are bein discriminated against so we need to change the law. I’ve not doubt the law will be passed I’m just so disappointed in how the process has been handled. You’ve lost so many supporters simply because of that and not even because you want to change the law.

  5. Hi Lynne,
    Totally agree – those choplogic politicians are simply arguing off the point and trying to hitchhike their private agenda onto an unrelated issue. They might as well have mentioned speed limits on the M25. Andrew Marr is trying to probe George Osborne on the BBC right now but he managed to shrug it off fairly well.

  6. Side splitting stuff. This coalition can multi-task!

    Actually it gives us every appearance of not being able to do even a single thing right.

  7. What about George Osborne’s comments that equal marriage won’t be in the Queen’s Speech? Are they kicking this into the long grass?

  8. Your “consultation”, we can therefore conclude, is only on the issue of “how”, not on the question of “if” same sex marriage should be implemented.

    Many of us do not regard this as much of a consultation.

  9. Thanks for such a clear message. Same-sex marriage means so much to so many people, (not just gay couples, but their friends and families) and it’s such a shame to see the energy that the right-wing religious have put into trying to prevent adults being happier.

    Well done, Lynne, and the sooner this legislation is passed, the better.

  10. Many thanks Lynne – good to hear 🙂 Will let you know what some of us LGBT people in Wales think on the 15th when we do our consultation here.

  11. Thank you for this post! Love seeing government stand up to scaremongering.

  12. More than half the electorate – at least 54% according to the national projected vote share – voted for a party that was unquestionably pro-gay marriage on Thursday. Over 3,200 seats were won by candidates from parties that have declared their support at large for same-sex marriage, excluding the Conservative Party with its strongly divided sentiments, so the idea that the voters resoundingly rejected gay marriage is ridiculous. If they had, then the Labour Party and the Scottish National Party, both broadly in favour of gay marriage (though the SNP more tentatively so), would not have been the ones to benefit from Thursday’s vote.

    The idea that gay marriage should be ignored because it isn’t a priority is utterly ridiculous. Of course voters don’t think it’s a priority; neither does the Government. Everyone agrees, whatever their political persuasion, that the economy is our number one priority. That does not mean that everything else has to be abandoned. The legalisation of gay marriage isn’t exactly going to be stealing thousands of civil servants away from the treasury, is it? If we had governments that dealt exclusively with priority crises, we would have very ineffective governments indeed.

    Human rights are not up for democratic discussion and are not dependent on legal recongition – we are entitled to them by virtue of being fully-birthed, living Human beings. The law does not proscribe Human rights; the law makes provisions for their promotion and protection irrespective of society’s opinion on those rights. Universal was not subject to popular approval by wealthy male voters. The creation of the NHS was not put to a referendum of the well-off who could afford healthcare. The decision to extend the right of equal pay to women was not left to male workers and employers. The emancipation of the Catholic faith and its followers was not subject to a vote of approval by every practising Anglican in the land. Our history is full of examples of major cultural and political shifts that saw a minority afforded the rights of the majority even if it was unpopular with vocal sections of the majority to do so at the time; now, all of these things are completely uncontroversial and universally accepted by our society. Gay marriage is no different.

    Numerically speaking, it is irrelevant if a section of the Conservative Party opposes gay marriage. Even if we presume only a third of Conservative MPs ultimately vote in favour of the proposals, that is still an overwhelming majority in the House of Commons. On full turn out, we are still looking at a majority of about 200 in favour of gay marriage (to put that in perspective for everyone, Labour’s supermassive parliamentary majority from 1997 – 2005 was less than 180, and the Coalition’s current strong one is 76). Even if for whatever reason the Government does back down, the proposals stand a real chance as a private member’s bill. Failing that, the next Labour government would certainly take up the mantle with the support of the Lib Dems, at least a strong section of Tory rebels, the SNP and the Greens, among others.

    Gay marriage is not under threat in the slightest. It is coming; those contemplating opposing it simply need to decide whether they want to be on the right or the wrong side of history.

  13. I wondered when the Tories would trot you out to cover more of their homophobic babbling

    I’m still waiting for the reason why the Tories and the Lib Dems feel we need to “consult” on our rights and on equality – and exactly what they’re consulting for?

    And why we have to wait for 2015 for that matter when all 3 parties supposedly support it

    WHY isn’t it in the Queen’s Speech and WHY isn’t it happening now?

    of course I also want a marriage according to MY faith -but apparently the Lib Dem version of religious freedom dictates that my religion must adopt Church of England bigotry

  14. Lynne, it is crucial that both the time-frame and overall commitment to equal marriage is not compromised or watered-down in any way. Extending civil marriage to same-sex couples (and I would add allowing those faiths that wish to celebrate our unions) is both the right and popular thing to do.

    Poll after poll shows majority public support for this important human rights reform, and as you will know, in Parliament, a strong pro-equality majority also exists among both govt and opposition. If the issue went to a free vote in the Commons tomorrow, it would be easily passed. It is therefore beyond disengenuous for the anti-gay Tory right and their media supporters to try to establish a link between poor election results and support for equal marriage, and we need both the Lib Dems and the Tory leadership to make clear that such nonsense will not be entertained. The LGBT community must be strongly reassured on this point, as it seems the small but hardcore homophobic minority will grasp at anything, no matter how ludicrous, to try to derail equality.

    George Osborne’s performance on the Andrew Mair programme today was far from encouraging on this front. Ending unfair discrimination and bolstering human rights should be a “priority” for any govt trying to create a better society, and as you rightly say, it is not as if economic and social issues are somehow in competition with each other – another ridiculous point the Tory right seem to be making.

  15. Al Shaw says:
    6 May 2012 at 10:54 am

    Your “consultation”, we can therefore conclude, is only on the issue of “how”, not on the question of “if” same sex marriage should be implemented.

    Many of us do not regard this as much of a consultation.

    Exactly! The Government has made up its mind and is riding roughshod over a) the people, b) tradition, c) morality, d) even nature, etc., as usual, because it follows the globalist plans and nothing else.

  16. Stewart Cowan

    It may surprise you to learn that there is no such thing as:

    One People
    One Tradition
    One Morality
    Nor even a one dimensional Mrs. ‘Mother Nature’

    This world is multifaceted – there is more than [your] one view and [your] one way …

    Thanks for the blog Lynne

  17. Alas the barbaric treatment of the married trans person goes on.

    Allowing folk to stay married and gain legal rights now could pave the way to equal marriage for all. The irony is that most married trans folk are in legal same sex marriage already.

    Many trans folk will be disappointed to hear that equal marriage is not an immediate priority and trans affected families will continue to be destabilised.

  18. I find it all very depressing how the Coalition, that started out inspiring such high hopes, seems to be being so easily elbowed away from its positive reforms and appearing to revert to a nasty right wing Tory government. It reminds me very much of the John Major years when an inoffensive PM was constantly underminded by a poisonous group of un-reformed Thatcherites who preferred to lose office rather than accept progress.

    How long can the LibDems retain any credibility in such a government?

    What is the point of the PM proposing good policies if he isn’t willing to stick up for them publicly?

  19. We’re not actually being offered “equal marriage” as you state in your blog, it’s equal “civil” marriage only. The 2015 date is simply the date when the next election will have to be held if the coalition government manages to hold together for that long. If equal “civil” marriage isn’t in this year’s Queen’s speech, then what year exactly will it be in. Stonewall has already made it clear that if it isn’t introduced in this year’s Queen’s speech then the chances of getting it through in time is not good.

    I do wish the LibDems would either aggressively pursue policies or just get out of this government. There is a marked difference between the Greens/Labour/Independat coalition govt in Australia where the Greens and Independants are able to get their policies through parliament and the Libdem/Tory coalition govt in the UK whe the Libdems have simply opened the door to No10 for the Tories and have themselves been left standing outside on the doorstep.

    What have we got out of the Libdems? A watered down promise of full marriage equality by the next election. I’m not convinced and I don’t hear any reassurances from many Tory or LibDems MPs that we will get marriage equality in the near future.

  20. I feel very positive about the Government having flagged up the issue of equal marriage as an important one. David Cameron may be the only Conservative national leader in the world to support equal marriage: certainly the only one I know of who has expressed such unequivocal support for it. He is hopefully helping to break down the perceived right wing/ left wing dichotomy on this issue: if David Cameron has expressed strong support for it, why shouldn’t other conservative politicians worldwide?

    Lynne Featherstone has continued to be a rock on this issue, and well done to her for that.

    This is a very emotive issue. Those opposed to equal marriage – mainly but not exclusively those of an older generation – may be reacting from a sense of conflict with homophobic attitudes that have been programmed into them since childhood from a homophobic society, or else from a sense of conflict with religious doctrines that might also be the result in many cases of long-term programming. Their opposition will often be visceral, and stubbornly resistant to evidence and rational argumentation.

    Those like myself in favour of equal marriage often feel the anger arising from years of being on the receiving end of ridicule, prejudice, discrimination and attempts to relegate us to the fringes of society. No wonder we feel angry about the opposition.

    But in all of this strong feeling, I have the sense that it would be best for those of us who want positive change to be as patient as we can be, at the same time as continuing to encourage our lawmakers not to lose sight of the issue. After all, it took hundreds of years for (male) homosexuality to be legalised in this country. And even then, it took close to another 40 years for the age of consent to be lowered from 21 to 16, during which period a great deal of work had to be done in order to bring about equality.

    While we are campaigning for LGBT people to marry someone of the same sex in a civil ceremony, there are countries all around the world where gay sex is still illegal, and where it is practically impossible for LGBT people to live with the person they love. In some of these countries, such as Iran, people are still executed (i.e. savagely murdered by the morally corrupt state) for gay sex. Maybe campaigning to bring about positive change for LGBT people living in those countries should be a first priority.

    Whatever the case, the Government is on the side of progress, and they are trying to manage change as best they can, in the face of all the heavy responsibilities of state they are dealing with, and a fierce backlash from right-wing social conservatives, particularly from the religious lobby. Equal marriage is an important thing to strive for: but given the context of the struggle, the exercise of patience, and the acknowledgment of the Government’s good will on this issue, may be worth keeping to the forefront of our minds.

  21. I am very glad to hear about the continuing commitment to equal marriage. Anything less would mean an untold loss of credibility.
    Discrimination against gay people is discrimination. Discrimination is wrong. Unless we have marriage equality I will be thoroughly embarrassed to be able to marry when my friends can only get ‘civilly committed’.
    It’s got to be equal rights and that most definitely includes marriage. And this issue is not a case of gay rights versus someone else’s rights: since when is it someone’s religious right to withhold another person’s rights?

  22. @Stewart Cowan a) the people – actually several polls and reports show that the majority of people support equal marraige as has been said on here several times. B) tradition – just because it’s tradition doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly stupid! It used to be tradition to check a womans maidenhood was intact before marriage in spite of the fact that it can tear from horse riding (the number one way of getting around in olden times) and can grow back as one woman in Korea found when it grew back four times before she had all traces surgically removed. C) morality – which is a human construct and has no bearing other then what a patriarchal, bigoted society forced upon the people for thousands of years. D) nature – google gay animals. Animals can only act in nature and as there are documented cases (animal homosexuality has only been seriously studied for the past decade though observations have been made dating back a couple of hundred years) that would rather prove that homosexuality is natural. Your arguments are like the arguments from the rest of the religious right. Bigoted, weakand desperate. Gay marriage is coming, like it or not (personally I’m thrilled my gay sister and gay friends can marry the people they love) haters got to hate. While the rest of society grows up and ignores the haters ignorent and childish rants having recognised them for what they are, the remnants of a dying breed not quite gone and gladly forgotten.

  23. Think about the consequences of extending the definition of marriage. Why not brothers marrying brothers? There is no biological argument against it. Then for equality you must legalise all sibling marriages.
    After that there will be pressure from religious groups to legislate for polygamous marriage.

  24. Ms Featherstone, please note even the ECHR disagree with your stance on this. In March they rulled that Gay Marriage is not a human right. Perhaps you could spend more time concentrating on protecting others.

  25. Lynne

    I admire your conviction but what I cannot understand in all this is if Gay Marriage was such an inviolable for the majority of parliamentarians with such broad support across the country, then why on earth was it never mentioned in any manifesto?

  26. Reading the last few negative coments I simply can’t understand what their problem is.

    No-one is saying there is anything other than joy to be felt for a happy & successful traditional heterosexual marriage. But surely no married couples realtionship depends for its success and happiness on the exclusion of others. How can the one possibly be affected by the other?

    For the state to recognise same sex relationships for what they are costs nobody anything but removes an age old cancer from society. There have always been gay marriages; the lack of official acceptance did not alter that.

    Everyones experience of marriage is unique but it demeans us if we start to judge one against the other.

  27. Mr Dixon:

    There are very good arguments against incestuous marriage. The arguments may not be biological if the marriage were between members of the same sex, but they *are* moral, psychological and sociological. Equal marriage bears no relation to incestuous marriage.

    The anti-gay marriage lobby always seem to be firing off at half-cock.

    The fundamental counter-argument to incestuous marriage is that incest is properly illegal, and consensual adult LGBT relationships are properly legal.

    There is quite rightly a very strong social taboo against incestuous relationships. Condoning incestuous relationships would remove that taboo, and lead to a much higher rate of sexual abuse of children by adults in the family, (usually grandfathers, fathers and older brothers). The incidence of sexual abuse of children within families is already serious enough.

    Legalising incest in order to enable incestuous marriage would seriously undermine the bond of family relationships that is one of the bedrocks of society.
    Gender neutral marriage does not.

    Brothers, sisters, parents, nephews, nieces, aunts and uncles are there to provide the individual with emotional, social and often financial security through thick and thin, ideally over lifetimes, when marriages and relationships come and go.

    Despite inevitable feuds and dysfunctions between family members, these are the relationships that are more likely to provide emotional security and a sense of continuity of personal history.

    Romantic/sexual relationships end more frequently than not, and frequently end
    acrimoniously and with no possibility of reconciliation or forgiveness.

    If these kinds of break-ups started happening within a family because of
    incestuous relationships, it would blow the social institution of the family apart, and end the vital functions it provides to so many of us.

    Of course, in the case of heterosexuals, incest also produces a high risk of birth defects. This is another very important factor, but the above provides the arguments against all such relationships, be they heterosexual, heterosexual between infertile couples, or homosexual.

    As for polygamy, this is also fundamentally different from our current concept of marriage, which involves an exclusive commitment between *two* people. Gay marriage is not different in any significant respect from the current concept of marriage: it is between two consenting adult humans, who would both currently be entitled to marry a member of the opposite sex if they were not gay.

    The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa campaigned against the legalisation of interracial marriage, and quoted scripture to justify their conviction that it was wrong. They might as well also have used the argument that, “if we allow people of different races to marry, then next, people will be wanting to marry their siblings, or marry polygamously, or marry someone of the same sex.” The Bogeyman argument was as false then as it is false now.

  28. Mr Russell

    Even if the proposition that equal marriage is not a human right were sustainable, it does not follow that equal marriage is not a worthy thing to introduce.

    Our pensioners may not be considered by the ECHR to have a human right to have their pension doubled, but it does not follow from this that it would not be a very good and decent thing to pursue this measure.

    Your argument is a non sequitur unless used against someone claiming that equal marriage is only a valid and worthwhile thing if it is considered to be a human right according to definitions used by the ECHR.

  29. Gary Powell. So by your argument would you say that romantic/sexual relationships between parents are wrong because it can lead to acrimony? And why the hell should we listen to your argument about polygamy being wrong because it doesn’t fit the current concept of marriage? On that basis gay marriage would never have been discussed. And doesn’t the bogeyman apply to your argument about not allowing incest because it might encourage child abuse?

  30. Gary – That’s somewhat disingenuous. I read that and it explicitly talks of ‘marriage and civil partnerships’. No mention of ‘gay marriage’. Neither did the others. You must admit it looks rather shady for none of the parties to mention it but then to bring it in without even a discussion or vote.

    Whatever I might think of gay’s (you’d be surprised actually), it is the pseudo-political process that nauseates me more than anything. And the language that talks of ending the ‘ban’ – it isn’t a ‘ban’ any more than there is a ban on calling a motorbike a bus. It is a legal definition.

  31. Mr Green

    Please read my post again, but more carefully this time. Put your anger and prejudices aside, and read it in a calm state of mind.

    I did not say that any relationship was wrong that would lead to acrimony. I said that the level of societal fragmentation that would be caused by emboiling families into the acrimony caused by the break-up of incestuous marriages was what was wrong.

    Not that this is the strongest argument against incestuous marriage. The fact that it assumed the legalisation of incest, and thereby undermined the taboo against incest that is currently protecting children from even greater sexual abuse from their male family members than is currently the case, is the strongest argument.

    The point I make about polygamous marriage and gay marriage is that the former is so far different from the current concept of marriage, which is between two people, whereas the latter is not. In a gay marriage there are two people. I have only ever come across one polygamous relationship. I have come across very many gay and lesbian relationships. You might regard a monogamous gay relationship as no more similar to a monogamous heterosexual relationship than a polygamous relationship. I think you would be in a small minority if this is the case.

    No, the Bogeyman argument does not describe my fear that legalising incest would lead to more sexual abuse of children. Do you really think that removing the taboo against incest would make it no more likely that predatory paedophile fathers, uncles and grandfathers would abuse children in their family given half the opportunity, not to mention predatory older brothers?

  32. …and the other disingenuous comment from government is that the introduction of gay marriage wouldn’t effect religious people. This is utter drivel: the religious will be skewered by ECHR who will insist they marry gays.

    This is not about tolerance any more, but all about imposing politically correct views on everyone, and overruling individual conscience.

  33. The minority of people in the UK who remain opposed to equality for LGBT people seem prepared to resort to the most ridiculous arguments to try to undermine what is actually a straight forward but incredably important human rights refor. We have been subjected to some of their nonsense in posts above. Briefly in response:

    *Incest is not a sexual orientation iand furthermore is rarely consentual. To compare it to any homosexual or heterosexual pairing is a
    Complete distortion of the issue at hand.

    *The ECHR simply noted that a consensus currently does not exist across Europe where equal marriage is concerned, although this may change. To suggest that this should be used to prevent the UK going ahead and legislating on its own terms is just not credible. By way of comparison, the UK decriminalised male homosexuality long before the ECHR ruled that anti-gay laws breached the right to privacy.

    *The Tory Manifesto explicitly stated that it would look at improving the rights of gay people, including examining the issue of equal marriage. There was also a robust debate taking place on this issue well before the 2010 election so to argue that it came out of nowhere and was sprung on an unsuspecting electorate is nonsense. And furthermore, any party that places equality and liberty at the heart of its philosophy should be expected to endorse giving gay people the same rights as everyone else. Its a logical follow on from such a position.

    Despite what the bigots say, equal marriage is a cause supported by a majority of people in Parliament and the country. A right-wing reactionary rump must not be allowed to derail this important reform. It would easily pass a free vote in the Commons tomorrow, even in the face of a somewhat divided Tory party, with the usual suspects voting against.

    So please lets get on with it and make it happen!


  34. Gary Powell. Now you add to your confusion by suggesting that because there are very few who are polygamous we can ignore what they want. Really? Is that how your sense of fairness works? It must be a comforting intellectual haven that allows you to think everyone who disagrees with you is prejudiced and angry, but your comfort is misplaced. I’m arguing with you because your arguments are wrong.

  35. Mr Holton

    I just had another look at the Conservative Equalities Manifesto. The passage in question is:

    “Whether it’s our strong commitment to supporting marriage and civil partnerships, or our proposals for flexible parental leave which will benefit parents regardless of their sexuality, the modern Conservative Party is committed to a fairer deal for gay people across Britain.”

    The passage is written in the LGBT section of the manifesto, and the passage explicitly refers to supporting “marriage and civil partnerships” in order to achieve a “fairer deal for gay people across Britain.” I don’t see any reason why the “marriage” in this passage would represent a fairer deal for gay people unless it referred to gay marriage.

    We probably have similar views about the political process in general. I have been campaigning for years against bad practice in public administration. I could count on one hand the number of MPs who have taken the slightest interest in the shocking evidence of institutional maladministration submitted to them by the campaign I have been involved with.

    I think that what you say about bans and definitions at the end of your post deserves more reflection. The racist South African Dutch Reformed Church campaigned against the legalisation of interracial marriage. They would have regarded the essential definition of marriage as being between two people of the opposite sex and of the same race. They could similarly have held that mixed-race couples were not “banned” from marriage, and that it was simply a matter of them being defined out of it. The important concept here is what is ‘essential’ to the definition of marriage. Being of the same race was essential to the Dutch Reformed Church’s definition. Being of the opposite sex seems to be essential to your definition. To me, being of the same race, or being of the opposite sex, are inessential characteristics. The essential characteristics for me are that there should be two partners, both adults and of sound mind, and unrelated to one another.

  36. The most disengenuous argument being put forward by the anti-gay lobby centres on the supposed threat to religious lobby. So even when those faiths who do not wish to celebrate same-sex unions are giving firm legislative guarantees, us gay people should still be deprived of the right to a CIVIL marriage in order to cater to the prejudices of others who, in any event, will not be affected in any way by the introduction of equal marriage. And to even further undermine this already nonsensical argument, there are a number of progressive faith groups who would be more than happy to celebrate the marriage of a loving same-sex couple. In fact excluding them from this process is the one flaw of the govt’s proposals.

  37. Supposed threat to religious liberty even! Although I suppose the right-wing religious ‘lobby’ must also feel threatened at the prospect of not being able to enforce their homophobic views through the law of the land.

  38. Come on, Mr Green: that is the reductio ad ridiculum. You are raging against words you are putting in my mouth, and attitudes you are putting in my psyche.

    Just because I support gay marriage does not mean I am thereby condemned to support any and every cause, whether it involves a minority group or not. It is none of my business whether or not people have polygamous relationships. If they work out, good luck to the people involved. But I do not support polygamous marriage: not because polygamous relationships are a in minority, but because I believe that the essence of marriage is that it should be between two people, because that seems to be an important characteristic for any relationship that has a reasonable chance of enduring, and enduring relationships are something I value. The fact that there are so few polygamous relationships – something I referred to in the post to which you responded – seems to me to be evidence of how relationships involving more than two people do not seem to work out. In fact, when a third person becomes involved in a one-to-one relationship, that is usually when that relationship’s days are numbered.

    You state that I think that everyone who disagrees with me is prejudiced and angry. So how would you know that? Do you know any other people who disagree with me, apart from your good self, whom I have accused of being prejudiced and angry? If I have made a bad judgment of you in that respect, I apologise. But on reading your posts, I think my original judgment stands.

  39. Gaz.
    ‘…I believe the essence of marriage is that it should be between two people’
    I believe things too. But in this environment I’m a bigot and you’re an open-minded liberal.

    But your initial entrance to this discussion began and ended with ‘argument’ not ‘belief’. When I questioned your arguments you retreated into beliefs. Why? Because your arguments do indeed condemn you to support any and every cause and you don’t like it when I point it out to you. However, this is not my main point in response.

    Like most people throughout history I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe it is an ideal that should be aspired towards, though many will never achieve it because they cannot – either because of biology, sociology, psychology or many other ologies. It is a beautiful thing and it often gets done badly and wrongly. But that doesn’t stop it being a beautiful and good thing that we should aspire towards. I know many people who have fantastically good marriages.

    But just because some cannot achieve it doesn’t mean we must make it available to everyone on the grounds of spurious arguments about ‘equality’. To do that would be to change what we define as marriage.

    Exactly the same erroneous thought process happens in GCSE’s and other exam ‘passes’. When I got a first at university it was a rare, rare thing. Often, years would pass before someone achieved it. Nowadays there are a good percentage every year in every institution that achieve that grade. Do you think that has conferred the best on more people? Or do you think it has changed the value of a first?

    There are other areas of my life where I have failed dismally. I am not what I’d hoped to be. In the interests of equality and fairness should I be given the promotion, or the house, or the opportunity? NO. I shouldn’t. Because I am who I am. As a failure and as a success. This is who I am. There is no need to weirdly readjust the rest of the world on my account.

    Gay people do not achieve happiness by being given a label that doesn’t apply to them. They achieve happiness by accepting who they are. I hate homophobia. But it will not help the homosexual to lie to him about who he is, any more than it would help me to be promoted even though I’m not able to fill the role.

  40. Ah well…Someone who had a first when it was a rare and special thing must be right …

  41. Mr Green

    Am rather surprised to be addressed by you as ‘Gaz’! What’s that all about?

    I didn’t call you a bigot. I implied that your reading of my post was distorted by your anger and prejudices. Your message to me was based on such a misreading, and it contained the gratuitous phrase ‘why the hell’, and my feeling was that emotion and prejudice were getting in the way of your reading and understanding what I was actually saying.

    As for the issue of ‘arguments’ and ‘beliefs’, the function of arguments is to compare certain propositions with other propositions, and states of affairs with other states of affairs, and look for consistencies and inconsistencies. ‘Beliefs’ in this context are based on values, which are axiomatic. There are no arguments for or against a certain value. A person either has it, or he hasn’t. One can point out inconsistencies in people’s value systems to encourage them to change their mind, but their values are the end of the logical line. The beliefs are expressions of values. Values, beliefs and arguments are all different things in the same mix, without necessary inconsistencies.

    That marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples is part of your value system. That it should be extended to LGBT couples is part of my value system. We might just need to agree to differ on our basic values. Though we can point out perceived inconsistencies, as we have done above. Fundamentalist religious believers might say their value system is the only valid one as it has been ordained by God. This is not a compelling argument for the non-believer.

    As for getting a First, the analogy does not hold in my view. It has been made easier to get one over the years, which is a pity, as it has devalued the currency. People who have achieved less academically have been given an award normally preserved for academic excellence. If LGBT people being able to marry is regarded as devaluing the institution of marriage in the same way, as LGBT relationships are intrinsically inferior, then your analogy would stand. But LGBT relationships are not intrinsically inferior, unless measured against a value system that discriminates against LGBT people on grounds other than the quality of their relationship.

    And maybe you *did* deserve that promotion, and you were underestimated by your employer, or were overlooked for an irrelevant reason that had nothing to do with your ability and conscientiousness. That event could have undermined your self-confidence, and made you settle for something when you deserved more.

    As for me being an ‘open-minded liberal,’ I might be considered to be so in some domains, but I am not in others. Let’s move away from labels of people, and instead apply labels to people’s specific actions and views if it is helpful to do so.

  42. I see..So it really comes down to gay people not being ‘good enough’ for marriage and falsely aspiring to something that only heterosexuals have the talent and wherewithal to get right..Honestly, this is all becoming quite tedious. I’m just glad that the vast majority of straight people I know (and as reflected in opinion polls) are not so precious about their own circumstances that they resent the same status being conferred to their fellow citizens who happen to be gay.

    And let’s just make clear again. This coalition government has made a clear public commitment that it’s not a question of if equal marriage will be introduced but how and when. Everything else should just be seen as a distraction.

  43. Mustafa

    Members of the South African Dutch Reformed Church opposed the legalisation of interracial marriage. They too may have expected polygamy to follow as a result of this measure, which they evidently regarded as shocking.

    Good job there are plenty of people around to challenge the religiously protected discriminatory status quo.

  44. Mustafa – don’t be daft. It’s well known in the Christian world that gay marriage will result in the destruction of society and will be the end of the world as we know it. The whole population will be in free fall. Even if there are any women left they will insist on marrying their mothers, sisters or daughters. There won’t be any left to be kept in harems.

  45. Stick to it – proud that this is being done and also proud of you and your colleagues standing up to the backlash from May 6th.