Tuesday, 13 July 2010

An Open Letter To David Miliband @DMiliband

Dear whom it may concern,

In the last week David Miliband has made two rather offensive remarks regarding marriage equality, one on Pink News and the other on Labour Uncut, which I think need clarifying. I'll quote the most recent one below:

Question removed at request of asker. See previous article. 

A. I think that religious bodies are allowed to actually. Actually, I was asked this last week by Pink News. The last civil partnership I went to, from two friends, full of…replete with all of the devotion, commitment, lifelong commitment that’s associated with marriage and that puts civil partnerships on a par with marriage. As it happens I haven’t had raised with me this issue and whether or not the particular issue, raising it as some people do. I haven’t got a closed mind about it. But I think we should celebrate what civil partnership is which is, finally, equality for gay people."

It was disingenuous of him to state religious bodies can perform a same sex marriage. This is of course not possible due to Section 11(c) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 which clearly states marriage can only be between those of different genders. This also calls out the lie that civil partnerships are "equality" for "gay people". They are not, and no amount of rather unscientific (and may I add insulting) personal anecdotes about how "wonderful" they are is going to change that. Civil partnerships are an affront to religious freedom and personal liberty.

I'm also concerned at the complete lack of understanding he appears to show at the damaging effect this "separate but equal" situation has on transgendered people who must divorce or dissolve their civil partnership if one transitions and then remarry or get a civil partnership as appropriate to their new gender(s), LOSING their accrued benefits in the process. Again it shows either a wilful ignorance to play to the intolerant crowd or an insulting lack of knowledge on the rights of LGBTs in this country. I'd highlight this with a quote from his interview in Pink News:

"One reader wanted to ask about the law which forces trans men and women to divorce their spouses in order to be legally recognised in their new gender.

Mr Miliband is at first confused but after his train apparently exits a tunnel he is back on the line with a confident answer.

"My opinion is that we should respect the wishes of the couple and that parliament shouldn't interfere," he says."

Exactly what does this mean? He thinks civil partnerships are acceptable but then suggests he supports transgender rights a statement which conflicts with what he just said about civil partnerships.

I would appreciate a clarification of his position, without falling back on ridiculous arguments from his personal experiences, as soon as possible.

Kind Regards


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


Anonymous said...

The official Labour position on same sex marriage would be funny if it wasn't so tragic and insulting.

In the debates surrounding the relatively small change that recently allowed civil partnership ceremonies to be performed on religious premises the government began by denying any suggestion that anybody might possibly want this and then, when they when the falsity of this statement was finally proved to them said that there was no possibility of changing the law before the election, which of-course then proceeded to happen without them.

Now they act like this has solved the problems one could possibly think of and completely fail to mention that the party hierarchy forced Lady Royal, their front bench spokesperson for the debate, into speaking against the amendement (Seldom have I seen such an unhappy speaker in parliament, she went on to obstained in the vote).

As far as I can see the argument is this 'we the Labour party gave you snivveling little gays civil partnerships and you should be bloddy well GREATFUL!'

Oh and as a Quaker I feel it is my duty to point out that we are not the only religious group demanding marriage equality, we are just the only 1) Christian 2) Denomination that 3) is seen as lacking a vested interest. The Metropoloitain Community Church, Liberal Judaism, the Unitarians and many many LGBT Christians and peoples of all faiths all agree with us, and many came to this decision a lot sooner.

Paul Brownsey said...

Ask him if he would regard it as OK for Jews to be denied civil marriage but to be allowed something broadly similar called, say, the Licence for Sexual Union.