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Exclusive: Balls, Abbott support gay marriage


10:00 am - July 14th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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Ed Balls has become the first Labour leader candidate to affirm his support for gay marriage.

His team confirmed the stance last night to Liberal Conspiracy.

He will become the first senior Labour MP, as well the only leader candidate so far, to support the move.

Update: Diane Abbott today also issued this statement to LC:

I have always supported gay marriage and made that case when civil partnerships were first discussed. Despite what may now be reported, it wasn’t New Labour that first proposed civil partnerships but Ken Livingstone in his first administration. I supported it then, way before New Labour had the bravery to put this issue into legislation.

In an interview with LC last week, Ed Miliband said he “would listen to what people had to say” on the issue but did not go as far as endorsing full support for gay marriage. He was later criticised for his stance.

Libdem leader Nick Clegg said in March this year he supported gay marriage but the party’s LGBT election manifesto made no mention of the issue.

The new Coalition government has said it would “consult” on the issue but hasn’t moved further on the issue.

Greens are the only party in the UK to officially support gay marriage.

An editorial in PinkNews.co.uk said last week:

Religious gay people want religious ceremonies – something the law does not currently allow. Others, who may be religious or secular, crave the gravity and recognition the word marriage offers.

There may be no difference in the rights and benefits received by those in civil partnerships, but to be married is to make a statement – to your partner, to your loved ones, to the world.

Activists are also campaigning to end the blanket, lifetime ban on gay and bisexual blood donors.

When asked yesterday at a Labour leader hustings (where each candidate was represented by an MP), none on the panel knew where their candidate stood on gay marriage.

The Ed Balls team was the only one to get back in touch and confirm their support.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


1. Flowerpower

After his disastrous interview with John Humphrys on the Today programme this morning, he’ll need to embrace every cause with a vote attached.

2. Chaise Guevara

It depresses me that only one national party and one Labour leadership candidate supports gay marriage. Are we really so afraid of the bigots that we have to pander to them like this? Fair play to Balls, in any case.

http://plaidpanteg.blogspot.com/2010/07/full-and-equal-dignity-for-gay-couples.html

It is something I feel is very important, and will be pushing my party to adopt support for it (if if has not already).

Hold on, I thought Labour was THE progressive party?

Why have only one out of the five Labour leadership contenders said they’d support gay marriage?

@4 Roberto

…. were you marooned on a desert island between 1997 and the recent election then?

#5

I think Roberto was being sarcastic.

This is welcome, although really it ought to be a given & I agree it is disturbing that only one candidate will make a clear statement on this.

I’d be the more impressed if Balls had anything to say about housebuilding last year falling to the lowest level since 1946:
http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKLNE61I00W20100219

#7 He has admitted, (as I think pretty much every senior person in the Labour Party has) that Labour were far too slow to build the quantity of social housing that was needed, although acknowledging that there was more progress made very late in the parliament that should’ve been made beforehand.

The figures are hardly surprising, showing that the private sector is not currently in a state where it is able to cope with the level of demand, and only underline the need for the public sector to step in at this time.

9. vulpus_rex

[moderated out]

It’s very sad IMO when Ed Balls is celebrated for proposing to legitimise gay marriages when he might have said something about the recent and current state of the housing market, not least since his wife was the minister reponsible for housing 2005-08.

Btw I’ve no principled objections to contracted gay marriages if that is what people want.

Hmm, but what does Balls think of gay immigrants eh? 😉

Libdem leader Nick Clegg said in March this year he supported gay marriage but the party’s LGBT election manifesto made no mention of the issue.

Simple reason for that. Party democracy. Federal Policy Committee writes the manifesto, but can only base it on existing policy.

When the Lib Dems adopted the creation of civil partnerships as a policy, way before Ken was promoting the idea and Blair was trying to block it through the courts, the debate at conference wasn’t “will people accept this” but “we support gay marriage, but think that might be too far, so this is the first step”. At least, from what I’m told.

The party hadn’t been revised at conference, I’m told it will be either this autumn or next spring. Sometimes, having a very democratic member driven policy process means the procedure can’t or doesn’t catch up. I doubt it’ll get any opposition at conference when we vote on it.

I do think the way some New Labourites try to take for CPs is a bit rich, when Ken first proposed them they tried to block them FFS. Diane is a notable long term supporter, another reason to hope she does well.

13. Shatterface

‘Hmm, but what does Balls think of gay immigrants eh?’

Or gay refugees: New Labour’s record on that was despicable.

#13 Labour’s record on all refugees was despicable.

Glad to see Abbott has a clear position on this too. There is really no excuse for the other 3. Ed Miliband should quit prevaricating and take a position.

Another example of Labour hacks posturing about things that they had plenty of opportunities to change when they were actually in power. All of the leadership candidates are either moronic (Abbott) or lying hypocrites (the others).


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Exclusive: Ed Balls first to say he supports gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  2. Annie B

    RT @libcon: Exclusive: EdBalls 1st2say he supports gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW < Gd2hear EdB.Extra point in yr wavering2nd pref column

  3. Neil Robertson

    RT @libcon: Exclusive: Ed Balls first to say he supports gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW < took long enough to find one!

  4. Soho Politico

    RT @libcon: Balls 1st to support gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW <Finally. My earlier criticism of Ed M on this here: http://bit.ly/bxHOJU

  5. newleader

    http://www.edballs.tk RT @SohoPolitico RT @libcon: Balls 1st to support gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW <Finally. My earlier criticism of E…

  6. newleader

    http://www.edballs.tk RT @_NeilRobertson_ RT @libcon: Exclusive: Ed Balls first to say he supports gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW < took l…

  7. sunny hundal

    Exclusive: Ed Balls first to say he supports gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  8. Mind In Flux

    RT @sunny_hundal: Exclusive: Ed Balls first to say he supports gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  9. Ayse

    You're wrong, @DMiliband has already done itRT @sunny_hundal: Exclusive: Ed Balls first to say he supports gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  10. Richard Wood

    RT @sunny_hundal: Exclusive: Ed Balls first to say he supports gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  11. newleader

    http://www.edballs.tk RT @richard28wood RT @sunny_hundal: Exclusive: Ed Balls first to say he supports gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  12. jonhawk

    RT @libcon: Exclusive: Ed Balls first to say he supports gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  13. Roger Thornhill

    RT @sunny_hundal: Exclusive: Ed Balls first to say he supports gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW // is it cos he is in one?

  14. newleader

    http://www.edballs.tk RT @rogthornhill RT @sunny_hundal: Exclusive: Ed Balls first to say he supports gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW // is…

  15. newleader

    http://www.edballs.tk RT @jonhawk RT @libcon: Exclusive: Ed Balls first to say he supports gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  16. beefqueen

    RT @sunny_hundal: Exclusive: Ed Balls first to say he supports gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  17. sunny hundal

    Diane Abbott's team also confirm that she supports gay marriage: http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  18. Philip M

    RT @sunny_hundal: Diane Abbott's team also confirm that she supports gay marriage: http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  19. Matthew McGregor

    Marriage equality update via @sunny_hundal Abbott and Balls pro, what say @EdMTeam @DMiliband & andy burnham? http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  20. earwicga

    RT @sunny_hundal: Diane Abbott's team also confirm that she supports gay marriage: http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  21. Stephen Almond

    RT @sunny_hundal: Diane Abbott's team also confirm that she supports gay marriage: http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  22. Andy Sutherland

    RT @sunny_hundal: Exclusive: Ed Balls first to say he supports gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  23. newleader

    http://www.edballs.tk RT @earwicga RT @sunny_hundal: Diane Abbott's team also confirm that she supports gay marriage: http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  24. sunny hundal

    RT @mcgregormt: Marriage equality update via @sunny_hundal Abbott and Balls pro, what say @EdMTeam @DMiliband & Andy? http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  25. Soho Politico

    Great work from @sunny_hundal getting Labour candidates to confirm their gay marriage stances. Abbott now signed up: http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  26. rowan davies

    Go Sunny > RT @SohoPolitico Great work from @sunny_hundal getting Lab. candidates to confirm gay marriage stances http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  27. Leon Green

    RT @sunny_hundal: Diane Abbott's team also confirm that she supports gay marriage: http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  28. FluffyRona

    RT @SohoPolitico: Great work from @sunny_hundal getting Labour candidates to confirm their gay marriage stances. Abbott now signed up: http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  29. Heather Noller

    RT @SohoPolitico: Great work from @sunny_hundal getting Labour candidates to confirm their gay marriage stances. Abbott now signed up: http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  30. Annie B

    RT @SohoPolitico: Great work from @sunny_hundal getting Labour candidates to confirm their gay marriage stances. Abbott now signed up: http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  31. Andy Sutherland

    RT @sunny_hundal: RT @mcgregormt: Marriage equality update via @sunny_hundal Abbott and Balls pro, what say @EdMTeam @DMiliband & Andy? http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  32. Javeriah

    RT @sunny_hundal: Exclusive: Ed Balls first to say he supports gay marriage http://bit.ly/csFQLW

  33. Stephen Almond

    @andyburnhammp @DMiliband Both Eds and Diane have now stated positions on gay marriage, what are yours? http://is.gd/drIya #marriageequality

  34. Andrea

    @JaeKay http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/07/14/exclusive-ed-balls-first-to-say-he-supports-gay-marriage/

  35. Political Scrapbook

    Woo hoo! @sunny_hundal reports Ed Balls and Diane Abbott affirm support for gay marriage http://is.gd/drPKa

  36. Jane Watkinson

    RT @psbook: Woo hoo! @sunny_hundal reports Ed Balls and Diane Abbott affirm support for gay marriage http://is.gd/drPKa

  37. Web Master

    Exclusive: Balls, Abbott support gay marriage | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/a1fVqP

  38. Gay marriage – a victory for gradualism? « Hopi Sen

    […] delighted that Ed Balls (and Diane Abbott) have declared their support for gay marriage. (You have to be careful not to say “come out for Gay marriage”. It sounds like a […]

  39. Confirmed: Andy Burnham also supports gay marriage | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] also supports gay marriage by Sunny Hundal     July 19, 2010 at 9:15 am Last week we reported that two of the Labour leadership candidates: Ed Balls and Diane Abbott, had publicly affirmed their […]





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