Ed Miliband hints at gay marriage support too


10:45 am - July 31st 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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Ed Miliband is also finally coming around.

OIn Twitter yesterday he said:

@JaeKay Got asked abt this today &made clear I support principle of gay marriage. Need to consult on how to implement.

This is not an unreasonable position.

The ‘problem’ as such with gay marriage might be technical and legal rather than than simply procedural.

In other words, how does the government allow the flexibility for some Churches to sanction gay marriage but others not – while not falling foul of equality laws?

Labour MP Kerry McCarthy wrote about this in January:

Civil partnerships are not the same as marriage. And we won’t have true equality until they are. I’ve tried looking into this, and the explanation I got as to why the UK hasn’t gone down the path of other countries who have legalised gay marriage was that it’s more difficult in the UK because whereas in those countries you can only be married in a civil ceremony and can then choose to go on and have a religious service should you want one, in the UK you can be married in church without the civil element. Which I took to mean that you couldn’t have gay marriage in this country without persuading the Church of England, Catholic church, etc, to accept it.

So it looks like Ed Miliband is also coming around to gay marriage, it’s just a matter of ensuring how it would be implemented and how the law could work. Perhaps. Nevertheless, it’s an encouraging sign.

I’ll try and find out more directly from the campaign next week.

Via @earwicga – who has a report on her blog about an event with Ed Miliband locally.

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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


I dont share your enthusiasm for gay marriage as you know. I feel the need to register that every time theres an article on Libcon about it. But then I don’t have much enthusiasm for Next Labour either.

What about people who couldn’t get married-eg polyamourous relationships? How far down the pecking order of status do they go? What does promoting marriage as a ‘gold standard’ as even gay activists have called it, say to people whose marriages are breaking down, or to single parents? what is so good about marriage that we have to cheer when we get nearer to the time when everyone – except those who arent- is able to validate their relationship with marriage?

@1

Seeing as you are opposed to marriage on principle, what right do you have to tell lesbian and gay people what they can and can’t do? Shouldn’t they have exactly the same rights as straight people?
Again, I understand that you don’t like marriage as an institution but it’s not going away any time soon, you know. Why not support people in their fight for equality rather than sniping from the sidelines?

I’m reasonably certain that Kerry’s got this wrong.

You can certainly get married in a church without having to go to the registry office separately, yes. But that bit when the Priest, witnesses, bride and groom bugger off round the back for 10 minutes is the part of the church service when the civil marriage takes place.

That is, as far as the State is concerned, the marriage. Whether you’re surrounding it with Muslim, Catholic, Jewish or Anglican sky fairy stuff makes no difference.

However, I can see there could be another problem. If “gay marriage” is legalised, and, say, the Catholic Church is a provider of such marriage services (however much the 10 minutes is wrapped up in a marriage mass), then could they be prosecuted for discrimination in not offering that service to gay couples?

PAGAR COMES OUT IN FAVOUR OF GAY MARRIAGE

Having been badgered incessantly By Sunny Hundal and his mates for several weeks, Pagar has finally come out in favour of gay marriage.

In a recent interview he said

“I really don’t know what all the fuss is about and I can’t really believe there are many voters who give a toss one way or another but, if you promise not to send me any more fucking tweets or put up any more threads on Liberal Conspiracy, I’ll agree.

Gay people can marry each other if they want. In fact I’m even OK with people marrying their cats.”

(Pagar is not standing for the leadership of the Labour Party).

I dont tell gay and lesbian people what to do S Pill. I do express my views on a subject I care about. Marriage is a political institution not just a nice party with corsages. If they want to get married that’s fine I won’t stop them. But I don’t think they are making such a huge leap forward for equality as the activists suggest. Marriage for me is all about inequality.

@5

OK well explain what your problem is with marriage?
I don’t like staying in B&Bs but I didn’t like it the other month when those Christian fundies stopped a gay couple staying at one. Shouldn’t everyone be equal before the law? Isn’t that the point? Complaining about marriage per se because you don’t approve of it does nothing to further the cause of those gay couples wish to have the same rights as straight couples.

@QRG

As an aside, if there was a law prohibiting mixed-race marriages would you oppose it or actively support it? After all, if marriage is such a huge problem on principle you’d support it, right?

I am not actively supporting or not supporting anything. I don’t vote and I don’t have any interest in influencing Labour Party Policy.

What I would actively support would be the rights for everyone to have civil partnerships, gay or straight.

The reason I dont like marriage is I think it is one of the key institutions that cements gender inequality and homophobia in our society. Just trying to say that it should not be assumed that all left-leaning and gay rights supporters have the same view on this issue.

Maybe David and Ed will finally be able to get married, then. Oh. No. That’s all kinds of wrong. Sorry.

@8

So what, in your post-gender sexually-deconstructionist Utopia, would be the difference between marriage and civil partnerships?

11. Charlieman

Ed Miliband on Twitter: “Need to consult on how to implement.”

Let me explain this to you, Ed. Firstly, you need to be Prime Minister…

@8

The reason I dont like marriage is I think it is one of the key institutions that cements gender inequality and homophobia in our society.

All the more reason to support calls for same sex marriage, after all, which gender is the dominant one in a marriage if both members are the same sex? Indeed since the most ferocious opposition comes from those whom wish to “protect marriage” (ie man in charge, woman there for producing and then looking after kids) then clearly allowing same-sex marriage might very well begin to destroy the imbalances within opposite-sex marriage as well.

I do take your point though, as the argument Olson & Boies used – same sex marriage IS a conservative position. Given that you have same sex couples wishing to enter into a traditional institute and engage in that thing that the Tories would like all straight people to do – ie be married. Its only because the champions of “traditional marriage” would rather that lgbt’s didn’t exist at all that its ended up being a lefty cause.

Personally I think both civil partnerships and marriage should be available to all regardless of the sexes of the couple involved.

I’d accept that Cylux a campaign for civil partnerships and marriage rights for all. If Equality is the key aim here, surely that should be for everyone, not just those who wish to get married?

Mr S Pill – in my utopia there would be no civil partnerships or marriage, just plenty of sex and love. I am probably a hippie deep down, but please don’t tell anyone. Thanks.

14. Charlieman

@12 Cylux: “All the more reason to support calls for same sex marriage, after all, which gender is the dominant one in a marriage if both members are the same sex?”

Conventional marriage is as old as cave men and women. It is embedded in culture and social behaviour.

The mainstream idea of a conventional marriage of equals is about 40 years old.

So it is unsurprising that some men and women are unreformed about equality: the concept of a dominant man in a partnership is 1,000 times older than that of equals.

We can therefore assume that same sex marriage, as an example of equal partners, will have a marginal behavioural effect.

“I don’t vote”

I think you’ve pretty much lost all semblance to any right to judge others for their behaviour or even to criticise/comment on what a politician says or does.

If you don’t vote, on purpose, then I don’t see what the point of your tirades on here are.

Weren’t you on here complaining that your husband didn’t give your kid your surname as its middle name? Jesus wept.

Still, not voting is better than voting Labour these days.

16. Charlieman

@15 Blanco: “I think you’ve pretty much lost all semblance to any right to judge others for their behaviour or even to criticise/comment on what a politician says or does.”

Indeed, Blanco. Should we not just lock up non-voters as a matter of course? I am fed up with them gabbling on about the hooligan who smashed their windows or about the idiot who defectated in the freezer at their corner shop.

They had their chance to mark their protest at the last general election.

It is inconceivable that anyone could protest by not voting… Especially in North Korea.

@13

OK so let’s just say that everyone gay or straight can have civil partnerships or marriage, whatever they fancy. There is, as far as I can tell, nothing wrong with equality before the law.
Which is precisely my point: by opposing gay marriage because you oppose marriage you are part of the problem.

And why don’t you vote? Will you vote if we get some form of AV/PR? I sorta understand not voting under FPTP but c’mon… you can hardly expect to change the system if you don’t even do the bare minimum.

18. Charlieman

And all these candidates for Labour leadership. Have they mentioned a word about transgendered people? I expect that the coalition government would be in a similar position.

TG people were given more rights under New Labour. eg passports and recognition of marriage.

Having rights is good. Social acceptance is better.

I’m confused by Kerry’s MP statement – can someone expand on this one. I thought we were changing the equality act to add relgious aspects to CP ceremonies but only if a church was willing. What’s the difference between this and having a civil marriage with the option for a relgious one. In any case laws can be changed or adapted if a work around is required, If gay marriage is allowed or the definition of marriage is changed to be gender unrelated then whatever laws that need to be changed to ensure that this can be done shouldn’t really be a brain teaser.

As for person who doesn’t like marriage as an instition then please think beyond the UK and what the word means beyond the UK. Not all British people live and work in the UK and they need to have as many rights as possible when they move to another country, the word marriage may bring in much more rights than merely a civil partnership. To deny gay people the rights to this is denying them equality and rights in other countries.

Gay people can marry each other if they want. In fact I’m even OK with people marrying their cats.”

Is that you trying to equate gay marriage with bestiality pagar? Very subtle.

Thanks, but as I said last time, when I need your advice on what articles we should be publishing here and what stories we need to cover, I’ll ask. Amazingly, I haven’t had the need yet.

‘TG people were given more rights under New Labour. eg passports and recognition of marriage.’

As a result of court rulings. They weren’t ‘given’.

Hi blanco. No that wasn’t me. It would be a bit odd if I had made a ‘tirade’ against marriage when I was in fact married. The person who wrote about the naming of her child did so completely anonymously and I don’t blame her, if that issue is going to be used against her and other women in arguments about marriage.

If you are right and voting is the only way whereby I am entitled to have any political opinion or make any political action, I should indeed shut up. But I don’t think it is.

Is that you trying to equate gay marriage with bestiality pagar? Very subtle.

Thanks mate.

However my disdain for the institution of marriage and belief in absolute sexual licence (where consent exists) is informed by instinctive social liberalism.

Watching gay activists clamour for the right to marry is, frankly, unedifying- why demand the equality of slavery?

Badgering prospective leadership candidates into saying something you want them to say is also disconcerting. A culture that developed within the Labour Party where it was impossible to progress unless you were prepared to mouth the mantras devised by the various pressure groups. This culture was principally responsible for the mess the party is now in and, by pursuing this particular crusade, you are reinforcing it.

It is a form of compulsory collective speak and, in my view, it is unhealthy.

I am not advocating ‘denying’ gay people anything. I am merely trying to talk about this issue in more nuanced terms than simply ‘gay marriage is good – anyone who is not 100% into the idea is bad/right wing/homophobic’.

Personally I think that civil partnerships are enough. Why clamour for more? Just because you can? And sock it to those ”backward people” who always thought that marriage was something men and women did because it was something to do with families and bringing up children, or even (god forbid) somthing that their religion said was a special relationship sanctioned by god or something.

I was on a gay pride march in Belfast yesterday, and there were a bunch of nutcase Christians standing along the parade route with signs talking about ‘abomination’ and Sodum and Gomorrah. While those particular people should be ridiculed and told to get stuffed, is there any need to ”wind up” the more general conservative population who would quietly not want to see their marriages as the same thing as same sex couple’s?

Or maybe left wing activism means that these people and their views need to be hounded out of existance.
I am all for equality, but just don’t like the process that the left use often to further their goals. Like it’s a constant jihad, and the enemy are those Daily Mail readers living in the suburbs – who really need their noses rubbed in it.
Permanent revolution? It gets a bit boring after a while.

I totally agree with you damon. I have nothing to add. But this fella might be of interest to you:

http://www.marksimpson.com/blog/2008/12/05/lets-be-civil-gay-marriage-isnt-the-end-of-the-rainbow/

@25

is there any need to ”wind up” the more general conservative population who would quietly not want to see their marriages as the same thing as same sex couple’s?

Oh that’s right, let’s just acquiesce in discrimination and bigotry because it might offend middle England. FFS.

It seems David Cameron is also in favour (he’s not running for the Labour leadership now is he?):

“I know there is one other subject that the gay community is particularly interested in: marriage. As someone who believes in commitment, in marriage and in civil partnerships, my view is that if religious organisations want to have civil partnerships registered at their places of worship that should be able to happen. Last week the Equalities Minister held listening events with faith groups and representatives of the gay community, as we consider what the next steps are for civil partnerships and how we enable religious organisations to register same-sex relationships on their premises if they wish to do so. I think this is an important step forward and we will help to make it happen.”

– Independent on Sunday

all the main parties are voicing a need or possibilty for gay marriage while keeping the CP, all parties have said they want to promote the British CP and have recognition of it abroad. Equally people who are married abroad want to be recognised as married in the UK, they want their marriage which was legally obtained in their country recognised here. It’s outrageous that we downgrade it to a mere CP which means a lesser form of partnership abroad and not a gay partnership. A French different sex partnership (since a Frecnh CP includes both same sex and different sex couples) don’t want to be forced to give up their CP in France and to get married in the UK. However, if they don’t then they’d have no rights in the UK, they can’t do both a French CP and a British marriage it’s not possible and it against their human rights to force them to dissolve their CP in France in order to get married in the UK and obtain any rights here. The UK has to start recognising foreign partnerships just in the same was as Europe and the rest of the worl has to recognise ours. With more and more countries moving to marriages and CPs open to same sex couples and different sex couples then something has to give… We might be forced to bring in marriages for gay people and CP for different sex couples. If we don’t then how can we deny foreign people their human rights. In France when they refused to recognise the British CP Euorpe forced them to change their law, they were also challenged in the French courts and lost. There is only time when a French different sex couples challenges the UK and then the CP won’t be exlcusively gay in the UK. Afterall there is already a non discrimination clause in most of our double tax treaties…


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Ed Miliband hints at gay marriage support too http://bit.ly/buTDgB

  2. Jae Kay

    RT @libcon: Ed Miliband hints at gay marriage support too http://bit.ly/buTDgB

  3. sunny hundal

    Ed Miliband also hints at gay marriage support http://bit.ly/buTDgB. Our campaign almost there.

  4. House Of Twits

    RT @sunny_hundal Ed Miliband also hints at gay marriage support http://bit.ly/buTDgB. Our campaign almost there.

  5. Josh Eades

    RT @HouseofTwits: RT @sunny_hundal Ed Miliband also hints at gay marriage support http://bit.ly/buTDgB. Our campaign almost there.

  6. Axel Hotels

    Ed Miliband hints at gay marriage support too | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/b9ZnRC

  7. Neil Wilson

    "@sunny_hundal: Ed Miliband also hints at gay marriage support http://bit.ly/buTDgB. Our campaign almost there." Oh ffs…

  8. Jack Stone

    RT @NeilinDevon: "@sunny_hundal: Ed Miliband also hints at gay marriage support http://bit.ly/buTDgB. Our campaign almost there." Oh ffs…

  9. Carol Fransisca

    Ed Miliband hints at gay marriage support too | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/aOcSnC

  10. GLBT World News

    Ed Miliband hints at gay marriage support too | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/aDRycn

  11. Labour leadership contenders and the heternormativity of marriage… | My Political Ramblings

    […] contenders and the heternormativity of marriage… With all Labour leader candidates, except skeptic Ed, firmly placing their support behind the idea of gay marriage it is interesting to consider the […]

  12. Mike Smith

    Ed Miliband hints at gay marriage support too | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/b9ZnRC

  13. Mike Smith

    Ed Miliband hints at gay marriage support too | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/brjBX3

  14. Mike Smith

    Ed Miliband hints at gay marriage support too | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/brjBX3

  15. Manda Scott/MC Scott

    Ed Milliband supports gay marriage – "in principle" – just needs a nudge to full support now… http://bit.ly/dAQWFE #labourleader #lgbt

  16. Jenny Wren

    RT @hare_wood: Ed Milliband supports gay marriage – "in principle" – just needs a nudge to full support now… http://bit.ly/dAQWFE #labourleader #lgbt





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