Saturday, 10 April 2010

Marriage Equality: Cameron Vs. Clegg

I suppose I should be celebrating. David Cameron has come out with some more GLBT friendly soundbites. But many of the answers there are a little... half hearted and can we really trust him? Personally I think the Tories have not shown they have changed and no amount of wheeling out gay supporters/candidates nor apologising for whatever their latest homophobic gaffe was is going to make up for that. The Tories are still too socially conservative at heart even if they say the right words.

Here is David Cameron's take on the very important question of marriage equality (don't even get me started on the "patronising drivel" about tax breaks)...

Mr Cameron, do you support marriage equality in this country? Civil partnerships were a great step forward and I admire your support for it but until there is marriage equality in this country and the union of same-sex couples will be recognised as a 'marriage', then I will not be satisfied. Neil Young
I am so glad that we now have civil partnerships. They have helped remove discrimination and have given gay people the rights that they deserve. I want to do everything I can to support commitment and I'm open to changing things further to guarantee equality. But I also accept there are some gay people who want civil partnerships to be a distinct status from marriage. Whatever view you take, I think we should support any arrangement which is built on shared love and commitment, which is why we would give a tax break to both married couples and those in a civil partnership.
Hmm... hardly a ringing endorsement, and very much sidestepping the question. The closest we got to support for marriage equality was "I want to do everything I can to support commitment and I'm open to changing things further to guarantee equality." which is wonderful except he'll be one of how many in the Government? And no doubt it'll be a "matter of conscience" and there'll be no party whip. Do you think marriage equality legislation would get through a Tory majority Government?? Me neither.

What does the Liberal Democrat leader say on the same subject?

The number one question submitted by our readers was on whether Nick Clegg and his party support gay marriage. Mr Clegg said last month he supported civil partners calling themselves husband or wife but would he change the law to allow gay civil marriage?

Yes, I support gay marriage. Love is the same, straight or gay, so the civil institution should be the same, too. All couples should be able to make that commitment to one another.

And more from Nick Clegg:

There are still battles to fight – getting full marriage rights for gay couples and reviewing the blanket ban on blood donations by gay men. Above all, we must tackle homophobic bullying – which scars pupils’ lives throughout the country. At the moment, only 6% of schools have specific policies to deal with this – this just isn’t good enough.

"We also need to do more to tackle homophobic and transgender violence and to give victims the right support – which we will do, as well as stamping out homophobic language among a minority of police officers with a zero-tolerance approach. We’ll make sure that gay and lesbian refugees are never again deported to countries where they face persecution. And, because diversity in politics remains hugely important to me, Liberal Democrats are also working to make sure the LGBT community is better represented in parliament with our “Out to Win” campaign.

"I honestly wish none of this was a party-political issue; it would be far better if all parties were united in their determination to achieve full equality for the LGBT community. So the inconsistency of today’s Conservative party on this issue is deeply worrying. The Tories say they’ve changed – and I’m glad if David Cameron accepts he got it wrong on these issues in the past. But warm words aren’t enough if the Conservatives fail to live up to them every time.
Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats stand for the one final push for full equality. The Tories, and Labour, stand for complacency and smugness. They will sing the praises of the past achievements whilst ignoring their past transgressions and will avoid rocking the boat to make GLBT (especially the T!) people truly equal.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

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