Saturday, 15 December 2012

Labour's Dangerously Close To Screwing Up Their #EqualMarriage Policy

Marriage equality is, I think, first and foremost being brought in for those LGBT people who wish to get married. I know that sounds completely obvious but I think that, after the last week of debate, that needs to be clarified.

Let us also be clear that the current marriage equality proposals are flawed (as I stated in my response to them). We still don't get equal pensions rights, there remains some outstanding trans issues that have been completely by-passed and mixed-sex civil partnerships are completely off the agenda whilst leaving same-sex ones allowed. There is a lot Labour could be doing to argue the case for more, especially on the pension rights and trans rights fronts.

Instead of putting into action its much mentioned strength on LGBT issues, Labour has decided to join with the churches and attack the Government's plans. Instead of trying to fix their past mistakes (forcing trans people to divorce and denying civil partners equal pensions rights) they are tilting at windmills along with the Church of England. I pointed out yesterday how ridiculous the Church of England was being and Anya pointed it out even more clearly. Yet Yvette Cooper had this to say on Government plans:

"Ministers have made a real mess of this," said Cooper. "Why are they making it expressly illegal for the Church of England and the Church in Wales to hold same sex marriages, when even senior figures in both churches are questioning it?  
"The government should rethink this before they publish the legislation. Religious freedom should be protected in the legislation. But that goes both ways. Churches that want to hold same-sex marriages should be able to do so."
It is not the Government's plans that are a mess, it is the Church of England's response (and the Church in Wales shouldn't escape blame, their consultation request was to be treated exactly the same as the Church of England! They got their wish...) that is a mess. The Church of England even explained why what the Government had done was correct just the other day. Doesn't Labour know this? Are they so credulous that they listen to opponents of marriage equality (even on the civil level!) and believe what they have to say without even checking a few days old statement?

Rather than using this issue to attack the Government, helping to build an "omnishambles" impression, perhaps Labour might instead stand up for LGBT people and demand the necessary changes for us? When even LGBT Labour MPs like Ben Bradshaw would rather fawn over the religious than protect LGBT couples and families, then you know Labour has gone wrong somewhere.

Stop fighting ghosts and starting fighting for us! You are meant to be the opposition, not the pawns of anti-equality activists! Right now you are playing right into their hands and you're moving ever closer to undermining marriage equality itself.

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

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