Saturday, 11 August 2012

Nick Clegg and An #EqualMarriage Promise?

It would appear Nick Clegg hasn't given up on reaching for the stars. In a move that would make sense, given that the Scottish Government will be pushing forward for both religious and civil marriage equality, he has again restated Liberal Democrat policy that both should be introduced here in England and Wales.

Sadly, for those of us who want to see this too, it's quite clear he isn't speaking on behalf of the Government but simply personally as a Liberal Democrat.

"It is Liberal Democrat party policy, and my personal view, that those organisations who do wish to conduct same-sex marriages, should be free to do so. It is not the place of government to mandate religious organisations to conduct gay marriages. But nor is it the place of government to ban them from doing so."
More interesting is the news that Whitehall sources confirm a majority of responses to the Westminster consultation on civil marriage equality were against. It is hardly surprising given the strength of feeling among the religious that they should be able to say who can and can't get married.

Thankfully it looks likely that the Government will ignore those responses as they weren't actually asking if they should introduce it but simply seeking opinions on how it should be done.

However, in the wake of the Lords Reform debacle, I have growing concerns that this fight will be even harder than this pessimist thought it would be. With the Tory rebels getting cocky it could be a rough ride through the House of Commons and then it faces even stauncher opposition in the unelected Lords. Will we get marriage equality introduced in this Parliament? Only time will tell.

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Anonymous said...

It's still not really clear what the Independent's comments mean, but one has to wonder about Clegg's judgment in making any kind of move in this direction at this moment.

Given that the religious opponents of the proposals are claiming that their result will be same-sex marriages in churches, surely he should be emphasising that this is explicitly ruled out by the current proposals - not giving them an opportunity to say "I told you so".

Jae Kay said...

Whilst I'd say there is some sense to your argument, one could turn that around on it's head. Given the churches have been moaning that civil marriage would force them to perform marriages, then we might as well push through complete marriage equality as the battle will still be just as hard. It's not like the religious side is holding back!

Also isn't it best to deal with the issue head on, assure the saner members of the religious community that their rights will be protected rather than a half way house that pleases no one and might create the very loopholes the churches are worried about?

Anonymous said...

Well, perhaps, if you think there's a real prospect of the current proposals being amended in this way.

But if that's not the case, and if it's just Clegg striking a pose, then I think it's counter-productive.