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British PM Backs Marriage Equality

British PM Backs Marriage Equality

 

British Prime Minister David Cameron chose to include in his key note speech at the Conservative party conference in Manchester on Wednesday a clear message that he supports and wants to legalize marriage equality — and what is more, his words were greeted by resounding applause from the Conservative party audience.

Here’s what the Prime Minister said:

“I stood before a Conservative conference once and I said it shouldn’t matter whether commitment was between a man and a woman, a man and another man or a woman and a woman.

“You applauded me for that. Five years on, we’re consulting on legalising gay marriage.

“And to anyone who has reservations, I say this: Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other.

“So I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.”

His speech, which you can read in full here, touched on a wide range of issues of course, from jobs to the economy, social welfare and mobility and much more, but this unexpected affirmation of support for same-sex marriage  perhaps caught LGBT rights groups pleasantly off-guard.

Following the Prime Minister’s words LGB campaign group Stonewall issued the following statement:

‘We warmly welcome David Cameron’s commitment,’ said Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive. ‘It’s unthinkable that a Conservative prime minister would have felt able to say this a decade ago. We look forward to the government now implementing this commitment within the lifetime of this parliament, as promised.’

However, the Telegraph has been able to dig up quite a few religious voices that are already promising to fight the government on this:

The Most Rev Peter Smith, the Archbishop of Southwark and one of the most senior Roman Catholics in the country, said the state must not attempt to redefine marriage.

“Whilst we welcome the Prime Minister’s support of marriage, family life and especially the care of children, the proposed redefinition of marriage cannot be right,” he said.

“Marriage by its very nature is between a man and a woman and it is the essential foundation of family life. The state should uphold this common understanding of marriage rather than attempting to change its meaning.”

[...]

Andrea Williams, director of Christian Concern, said Prime Minister’s attempt to redefine marriage would have “catastrophic consequences” for society. “The complementary union of a man and a woman in marriage is where love, life, stability and the full flourishing of society begins. He ignores this fundamental principle at his peril.”

Unlike in the U.S., all three leaders of the major political parties in the UK have said they support same-sex marriage.

Indeed, while the Conservatives were once opposed to same-sex marriage and LGBT rights as a whole,  the party has in recent years attempt to shrug off its past and reform itself as a party of fiscal conservatism and responsibility while cultivating a more progressive social agenda. Indeed David Cameron famously apologized for the Tory-backed Section 28, the ban on positive mention of homosexuality in schools, and in particular apologized for opposing the repeal of the ban in 2003. The apology, made in 2009, saw Cameron condemn the provision as “offensive to gay people.” You can read more on that here.

As previously noted, the consultation on same-sex marriage was unfortunately delayed from its original start date. This likely means that any legislative action will fall near to the next general election. Advocates worry that this means action might be jettisoned so as not to have that battle fresh in the mind of voters.

Action on the change will therefore be a real test of both the Lib Dem-Conservative coalition government’s will, and the Prime Minister’s true commitment to equality.

Still, the Prime Minister’s words of support on Wednesday were clear and their worth should not be underestimated.

 

Related Reading:

UK Passports to Get Gender Neutral Parent Options

UK Considering Gender Neutral Passports

British Gov. Announces Gay Marriage Consultation

Read more: , , , , , , , , , ,

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to The Prime Minister's Office.

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24 comments

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3:31PM PST on Dec 11, 2011

In my experience (as a Christian and a man married to a woman) no one who claims that changes in the law to allow same-sex marriage has come up with a credible, well-constructed explanation as to why this would 'weaken' marriage between a man and a woman and destroy the family. Same sex couples make great parents (and I speak as a doctor who works with children and families). The institution of marriage in Western society is already weakened, but not by same-sex marriage as it is not yet legalised. The real rot set in when marriage was seen by many as yet another disposable aspect of life. To paraphrase the quotation "for a nation (read 'marriage') to be destroyed, it must first destroy itself from within".

1:40AM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

Thanks for the article.

4:28PM PDT on Oct 7, 2011

Thank you PM Cameron!

3:12PM PDT on Oct 7, 2011

The man is an Elitist who is striving with others to destroy the family. That's what the socialist/ capitalist. communist/ Masons are all about. Anything to ensure people lose connection , so they stand alone to face the Malthusian depopulation agenda 21 of the UN ( United NAZI) and the WHO ( World Homocide } organisations. Our politicians are criminal puppets to the ZIONIST Internationbal Banksters who want the whole world for themselves, and we are being sucked in and letting them.screw us into oblivion.

2:27PM PDT on Oct 7, 2011

Conservatives can be weird bunnies, but let's hope they make this change (and they don't listen to the "religious" voices).

Thanks for the info.

12:52PM PDT on Oct 7, 2011

Must be an election coming up.....

8:36AM PDT on Oct 7, 2011

Don't put your faith in this man's retoric - Cameron talks a lot but does next to nothing. This multi millionaire (married to a wealthy heiress) recently told British people to immediately pay off their credit cards and loans: If he does not realise that most people would love to do this, but they are unable to as they just keep wasting money on 'extravagances' like rent/mortgage, heat and food! Meanwhile an extra 75 Billion of QE released into the system is going to push inflation (and therefore the cost of living) even higher. Apparently 'we're all in it together'. Yeah, right!

8:32AM PDT on Oct 7, 2011

Don't put your faith in this man's retoric - Cameron talks a lot but does next to nothing. This multi millionaire (married to a wealthy heiress) recently told British people to immediately pay off their credit cards and loans: If he does not realise that most people would love to do this, but they are unable to as they just keep wasting money on 'extravagances' like rent/mortgage, heat and food! Meanwhile an extra 75 Billion of QE released into the system is going to push inflation (and therefore the cost of living) even higher. Apparently 'we're all in it together'. Yeah, right!

6:44AM PDT on Oct 7, 2011

Good for David Cameron! He is correct. Although I am not a Conservative, the fact is that true conservatives will support marriage equality for same-sex couples because it represents a responsible choice for building relationships based on fidelity, care, love and the responsible living of sexual responsibility.

As for Roman Catholic Archbishop Peter Smith, if he does not want the state to be involved in defining a legal marriage, then he should be honest enough to also advocate withdrawal of all state privileges and rights attached to marriage. Of course, no church should be required to perform or officiate at same-sex marriages (or any marriages) unless they choose to do so, but neither should they be allowed to define civil marriage.

6:34AM PDT on Oct 7, 2011

The Most Rev Peter Smith, the Archbishop of Southwark would do well to consider that just because Jesus Christ attended a wedding at Cana in Gallilee, the Catholic Church, or indeed any other Church, does NOT own marriage. Nor does the additional category of 'gay marriage' in any way attack, weaken or even influence so-called 'straight' marriage.

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