UK: Prime Minister Defends Marriage Equality Ahead of Vote, Lots of Other Developments

Written by scott on February 4th, 2013

LondonWe have lots to report on the progress of the Inited Kingdom’s marriage equality bill today. First off, Prime Minister David Cameron is set to defend the pus for marriage equality tomorrow against a backlash in his own party, Pink News reports:

Prime Minister David Cameron will reportedly speak out in favour of equal marriage later this evening, ahead of tomorrow’s first vote by MPs on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, according to the Times. Twenty current and former constituency chairmen have warned Mr Cameron that legalising equal marriage could harm Tory election prospects.

This is in the face of a call for a delay until “after the 2015 election” on the marriage equality bill vote, currently set for February 5th, from some senior conservatives, Gay Star News says:

The letter, quoted by the BBC, warns of ‘significant damage to the Conservative Party in the run-up to the 2015 election’ if the planned bill becomes law’. It went on to say that ‘specifically out of our concerns about the growing discord within the Conservative party over this issue’, and stressed that ‘resignations from the party are beginning to multiply’. The letter slammed party leadership for not adequately consulting with Conservative party members and that the bill is being ‘pushed through’ in a way they find ‘extremely distasteful’.

Pink News has details on how the cabinet will likely vote on the marriage equality bill tomorrow. Here’s part of the list – for the full list, click the link above:

In favour of same-sex marriage:-
Prime Minister – David Cameron
Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg
Foreign Secretary – William Hague
Chancellor of the Exchequer – George Osborne
Chief Secretary to the Treasury – Danny Alexander
Home Secretary- Theresa May
Business Secretary – Dr Vincent Cable
Justice Secretary – Chris Grayling
Education Secretary- Michael Gove
Communities and Local Government Secretary – Eric Pickles
Health Secretary – Jeremy Hunt

Gay Star News also reports that the new Archbishop of Canterbury plans to attack marriage equality, and Reverend Sharon Ferguson is horrified:

The head of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) has said new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s plan to attack same-sex marriage as ‘absolutely horrific’. Reverend Sharon Ferguson of the LGCM told Gay Star News that Welby shouldn’t use his first day in the job to attack gay and lesbian couples but should be trying to welcome them back into the Church of England he now heads.

According to a gay political pundit some conservatives who will vote agains the marriage equality bill tomorrow include some closeted gays, Gay Star News says:

Iain Dale, a former Conservative politician, has said while he does not believe in ‘outing’ anyone, he knows others who will take a different view of ‘rank hypocrisy’. He said: ‘I’ve been looking at the Coalition for Equal Marriage’s website, and their list of MPs who intend to vote against allowing gay people to marry on Tuesday. ‘I note with interest the names of several MPs who most people in the Westminster Village know to be closet case gays. And I note also the names of two supposedly straight MPs who I know to be conducting gay affairs at the moment.

The Guardian reports that gay and lesbian married couples will receive the same tax breaks as straight couples:

People in same-sex marriages will receive the same tax benefits as everyone else, a Treasury source confirmed. But the development is likely to irk some Tory MPs, according to Bernard Jenkin, who is backing the bill and calling for his colleagues to support the government.

Not everyone’s happy about this:

Peter Bone, Tory MP for Wellingborough, said he understood the logic of giving tax breaks to people in gay marriages, but believed there were consequences to the changes that had not been thought through. He said: “It has been rushed through parliament in similar fashion to the Dangerous Dogs Act. What does this mean for royalty? To what teachers say in schools, for example? It is also unequal in that those in homosexual relationships will be allowed civil partnerships as well which are not permitted for heterosexuals.”

Some other reactions to the bill:

MP Tara Hewitt on the impact of the bill for transgender people (Pink News):

One thing that has not been discussed in the media is the positive effect the changes are going to have for transsexual people. When Labour introduced Civil Partnerships they left transsexual people out in the cold where they were forgot about when the legislation was drawn up. When a transsexual person transitions from the gender that was assigned to them at birth to one they ‘truly’ are, they may be lucky enough to gain the support of their long term married partner (many transsexual people face isolation and relationship break ups when they transition) but despite this support they will face the difficult and traumatic experience of having to tell their husband or wife that in order for them to “change their gender” they have no legal choice but to annul their marriage or they will not be entitled to receive a gender recognition certificate (new birth certificate).

Culture Secretary Maria Miller on promoting stability (Pink News):

“It is difficult to believe now that in the 19th century Catholics, Baptists, atheists and others were only allowed to marry if they did so in an Anglican church,” she wrote. “And it was only in the 20th century that changes were made to recognise married men and married women as equal before the law. Marriage will continue to evolve and, as we have seen, the changes being debated tomorrow will draw strong opinions on both sides.”

Education Secretary Michael Gove on how marriage equality will enhance marriage (Pink News):

“It’s wrong to say that because of how you love and who you love, you are not entitled to the same rights as others. It’s wrong because inequality is wrong.” He continued: “Marriage is not undermined by extending it to gay people – it is reinforced by including everyone equally.”

Foreign Secretary William Hague says gender shouldn’t be used to deny equality (Pink News):

“I think as times have changed, civil partnerships came in… Within a remarkably short period of time, those things become accepted. I think the same will happen with this. I look at three things. Is it right in principle? And I think it is. Marriage is a very positive institution in our society and we shouldn’t deny it to people on a discriminatory basis. Is there sufficient public consent for it to be a law. Yes there is. Are the sufficient protections for those who disagree with it for their own religious principles? Yes there is. Churches and faith groups that don’t want to have same-sex marriages don’t have to do them. “On that basis we can vote for this.”

“Progressive” Conservative MP Tory MP on voting against the bill (Pink News):

“As I have already stated, the evolution of marriage over time has allowed the institution to adapt as society progresses. The scrutiny under which today’s Parliament now finds itself allows more of the nation to participate in debates than ever before. In my view it is clear that there is no call from society for these changes to be made today.”

We’ll see what happens tomorrow!


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