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Labour’s three-line whip on gay marriage is illiberal

27 September 2012

27 September 2012

Ed Miliband tells the Evening Standard today that Labour will give ‘wholehearted’ backing to gay marriage and says that churches and religious bodies should be allowed to conduct these ceremonies. At the same Labour has let it be known to the Standard that the party is ‘highly likely’ to impose a three-line whip on the gay marriage bill, though it can’t say so for certain until it knows the wording. Same as the Lib Dems, then, but unlike the Tories, who are allowing a free vote. As Mr Miliband says, ‘I think whether you’re gay or straight, you should be able to signify your commitment, your love, with the term “marriage”’.

Well, it’s very lovely that Mr Miliband is so committed to matrimony given he only got round to marrying the mother of his children once he was leader of the Labour party. But to insist that the term marriage should be equally accessible to gay and straight couples doesn’t quite do justice to the baggage that the institution brings with it: a pragmatic association with creating and raising children, which gay couples can only do by artificial means, and a basic foundation in the complementarity of the sexes.

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Anyway, even if you don’t buy traditional argument on this one, it’s quite another matter to suggest that it is anything but a conscience issue. I can’t think of many questions more solidly rooted in our ideas of objective morality and our subjective notions about what feels right. Treating this as a matter for a three line whip would be, for Labour, to ride roughshod over the consciences of its MPs in a particularly brutal way, even if it were to give them the sop of voting on the question of church ceremonies for gay couples as a matter of conscience.

The odd thing about Labour, given its present secular character rather than its origins – more from Methodism than Marx, and all that – is that so many of its MPs at least notionally belong to a religion, and of these many are Catholic. According to the Catholic Herald, there are 40 Catholic Labour MPs and 19 Conservative ones. For at least some of the Catholic parliamentarians such as Jim Dobbin, this would be a fraught issue – though other Catholics, such as Patrick McLoughlin on the government side, are willing to vote for gay marriages so long as the churches are left out of it. And of course the CofE itself wants to keep marriage for heterosexuals.

To treat otherwise loyal MPs as rebels for voting against gay marriage, quite possibly in accordance with their constituents’ views, strikes me as really illiberal. It’s especially true when we’re arguing about words and concepts rather than substance: civil partnerships provide all the legal protections and privileges of marriage and the only difference between them is that marriage is a more portable institution, i.e. it’s generally understood throughout the world. Mr Miliband put it rather well when he said that ‘equal marriage is… such a sign of us being a modern country and the kind of country I believe in’. Like I say, it’s not a matter of real rights, but to do with signs about the sort of person you want to appear. That’s equally true of David Cameron.

Liberal authoritarianism is an insidious political problem, masquerading as tolerance but ruthless when confronted by dissent. If Ed Miliband follows the lead of Nick Clegg on this one and denies his MPs a free vote, it suggests we’re in for a new era of bigotry: secular, liberal and rather frightening.


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Show comments
  • john howell

    Reference the previous comment, “allowed”….”compelled”. Yes one thing leading to another. Perhaps a slippery slope to government excercising more and more control over churches. One only needs to focus on religious persecution and severe restrictions on church life overseas to see the reality of what could happen in years to come.

  • Karen G.

    What happened to these idiots? On what planet are they residing? Whether you like it or not, we are ALL born male or female, with the exception of a barely countable number of genetic chromosomal abnormalities. Marriage should respect the fact that it is ONLY the union of one man and one woman that can create a child without outside, third-party interference! A child only has one biological mother and one biological father, and society is way better when a child can be raised by its real parents in a loving, stable home enviroment! What part of this do you not understand? How incredibly stupid to think otherwise. It’s not about religion. It’s about common sense, using your brain, and looking at nature, which, in the animal kingdom, goes against any kind of genderless reproduction! Duh!

    How DARE Labour think it can force its warped version of “liberal authoritarianism” on the voters of the U.K.! Get a grip you guys. Get a little common decency and a sense of respect for the voters. These guys are nothing but playground bullies and they need to be stopped! Tell them NO!

    • abqdan

      Absolutely. We must also stop any woman who has gone through menopause, and any man or woman who is infertile, from getting married – they can’t “create a child without outside, third-party interference” either, so they obviously shouldn’t be allowed to get married. In fact, before we give anyone a marriage license, we should check their genitalia and ensure they are both fertile. Good idea Karen.

  • Solomon Jones

    Liberals have been sneering at marriage and undermining it for fifty years or so; it is nothing but rank hypocrisy that they are all so suddenly keen on it for their proteges, the homosexuals. The State should have an interest in marriage for one reason, and one reason only, and it is not for slippery and undefinable notions of ‘love’ and ‘romance’: it is because marriage is the way par excellence of bringing children into this world and bringing them up in an enviroment that is stable and secure. Everybody (repeat, everybody) has an interest in well-brought up children: they are the ones who contribute to the well-being to society when adults, and will not be a constant drain on the public purse through reckless, anti-social or criminal behaviour. Same-sex marriage is an oxymoron, and homosexual couplings add no benefit to the public good.

    • abqdan

      Let’s not worry about all those studies that show a child raised by two loving parents of either sex has exactly the same chances of healthy development. Let’s instead stick to the relatively new idea that parents must be one man and one woman. No, this concept didn’t exist even one thousand years ago – yet somehow our society continued. Marriage until the 19th century was about transference of property and continuity of inheritance, not about love or mutual respect – a much better idea. We should have parents determine who their sons marriage, to ensure the inheritance is appropriate and that the line is continued. Oh yes, and in that good old book, the Bible, your namesake Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

  • abystander

    I am a Leftie. Wealth should be redistributed, fiscal policy should facilitate this, benefits should keep pace with inflation, the state should intervene in the economy, where we rescue banks we should nationalise them and generally wages should rise and dividends should fall. Wealth has been redistributed to and not from the rich, including the idle rich, for three decades. it is imperative economically and for social justice, that we reverse this.
    Milliband is not on the Left. He has no prescription from the Left. Whenever workers strike he lines up with the bosses.
    Backing gay marriage is a way of seeming to be radical while not upsetting the economic interests of the upper middle classes, in fact currying favour with the metropolitan illuminati. Baby boomer, one time marxists sitting in empty nest houses fretting over their pensions and buying homes in Tuscany etc can support this and feel good about it. They can kid on they are on the Left still and rale at the fuddy duddies in the churches etc. on this issue.
    Support for gay marriage is a confirmation that Labour has no real alternative view of the economy or indeed society to offer. Rearranging a social institution as basic as marriage to accommodate a very small minority of double income / no kids households is ridiculous.
    Mind you the Tories are even stupider. How to alienate your base, by David Cameron.

    • David Ossitt

      Anyone who can write that “Milliband is not on the Left” is extremely odd.

      • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

        A socialist worker! We have them . Just as you have strange people who vote UKIP, for goodness sakes.

  • CraigStrachan

    “Liberal authoritarianism is an insidious political problem, masquerading as tolerance but ruthless when confronted by dissent”

    Mmm. I doubt too many liberals believe they are in fact infallible when pronoucing ex cathedra on a matter of doctrine.

    That would be silly.

  • http://cambriandissenters.blogspot.com/ Daniel Tekel Thomas

    As with homosexual marraige so it is with a referendum on the European Union and the sale of BAE to a German/French consortium and cultural/demographic replacement via open border mass immigration and increasing foreign aid etc ad nauseum, the political elite of all parties have made up their minds and are as one on these issues.

    We the plebs should not be so impertinent as to question our political masters, remember they have all done their PPE degree at Oxbridge so they know best.

    Now get back to work and pay your taxes!

  • Dr Crackles

    Sign the petition: c4m.org.uk

  • wrinkledweasel

    This is an arbitrary issue: a good proportion of the world not only thinks it is wrong, but it thinks it should be punishable by flogging. And who are we to preach to them? We do not have a monopoly of truth, nor do we have the moral high ground. We are the nation who waged war on a tissue of lies. We are a nation of decadents who grow fat on credit. We are a nation who have very quickly forgotten that a little over one hundred years ago, we thought it was perfectly normal to jail homosexuals and to deny women the vote. Were we wrong then and why are we so very right now? Will we, in another hundred years, sneer at our grandfathers for having such outmoded views?

    There is no right or wrong so therefore there should be a free vote.
    I notice, with dismay, that someone has already played the “homophobic” card, a pathetic attempt to shut down debate and you know, it has been played once too often.

    This is not about gays getting married, it is about the right of people to have their own opinion, and it seems that it is the nasty old Tories who are the only ones who believe in that kind of freedom.

    Be assured that it won’t stop there. If the so called liberals get their way, there will only be one way to think and very few words with which to express it.

    • TomTom

      Let’s hope noone burns down British embassies orfeels provoked in Pakistan

    • David Ossitt

      Well said.

  • Noa

    Melanie writes:

    “…I can’t think of many questions more solidly rooted in our ideas of
    objective morality and our subjective notions about what feels right…”.
    “.. it’s not a matter of real rights, but to do with signs about the sort of person you want to appear…”

    These two points capture the essence of this issue which is the ability of an oligarchic political elite forcing a divisive social change upon a substantive majority who are fiercely opposed to it.
    Despite its tyrannical implications there will of course, be no opportunity allowed for a public debate and referendum on this matter, as with capital punishment, EU membership or England’s own withdrawal from the Union.
    The principle of inequality in British law has been progressively and forcibly established through enabling legislation. It has accompanied through a growth in secularism a lowering of educational standards and mass immigration. The primary result intended: to destroy a homogeneous, Western society based on Judeo-Christian founded values and ethics, has now been largely achieved.
    Whether the funeral eulogy for Britain is read by the equally interchangeable, identikit Milliband, Clegg and Cameron, is irrelevant. Whoever it is is simply dot T’s and crossing i’s.
    Whist Socialism’s greatest success has been to almost entirely suborn British Conservatism to this purpose it has in fact sowed the seeds of its own destruction.
    The Islamic adherents it has imported en masse is not tolerant, is not forgiving and deals in absolutism. It is the natural enemy of Socialism and it is already turning on it in many parts of the world, not least in the UK .This forthcoming world war of bitterly opposed ideas will shortly expose the complete puerility of debates about the marriage of homosexuals.
    e ptriumph has Labour’s

  • David Lindsay

    Ed Miliband has done nothing more than repeat his own, oft-expressed, support for same-sex “marriage”. A London-only newspaper, effectively published out of Boris Johnson’s office, has added a piece of pure conjecture in accordance with its own editorial position.

    But there is absolutely no suggestion from Miliband’s own mouth that Labour is going to impose the whip in the unlikely event that this ever makes it to the floor of either House. Even the Standard’s codswallop merchants have felt obliged to give themselves a get out clause, that their Labour sources cannot say for certain until they have seen the text of the Bill.

    He knows perfectly well that, far from the Evening Standard, at least 50 Labour MPs owe their selections and reselections to certification by the local Catholic machines, with a smaller but still noticeable number similarly related to the Pakistani and Bangladeshi tribal and clan machines. Some of those latter are indeed in London, about a mile or less from the Standard’s office. Or on a different planet, depending on how you look at it.

    Then there are the previously Lib Dem voters of the West Country, Mid Wales and elsewhere, not least the North of Scotland, where this issue also absolutely precludes their voting for the SNP even before it descends into chaos following its heavy defeat in the independence referendum several months before the next General Election.

    Labour will not whip any vote on this proposal during this Parliament, a parliamentary division which in itself would cause pigs to stage a flypast. Whereas both Coalition parties are effectively obliged to include a commitment to this change in their respective manifestos in 2015, Labour need say nothing more than that there would be a free vote if anyone tried to bring it in as a Private Member’s Bill. What would not be said, because it would not need to be said, would be that there would be no chance of government time for any such Bill, without which it would stand not the slightest realistic chance of success.

    By the General Election after that, the Conservative Party will either have been replaced formally, or else taken over in such a way as to amount to the same thing, in both cases making Labour’s position that of the other side as well.

    Same-sex “marriage” is not going to happen. Forget about it.

  • David Ossitt

    “Ed Miliband tells the Evening Standard today that Labour will give
    ‘wholehearted’ backing to gay marriage and says that churches and religious
    bodies should be allowed to conduct these ceremonies.”

    And so this non-believer, this un-reconstituted Marxist, who
    thinks so little of the state of marriage that he would not have married the
    mother of his children; had it not become politically expedient for him to do
    so, says that “religious bodies should be allowed to conduct these ceremonies”.

    He knows full well that 99% of the Christian Churches,
    all Synagogues and every Mosque in the land are genuinely opposed to such
    ceremonies.

    The nasty, evil, little shit also knows that if this goes
    ahead, then ‘Allowed’ will very soon become ‘Compelled’.

    I curse him; let his life be blighted from henceforth, when his
    rabbit dies I hope that he cannot sell its hutch.

    • Anne Wotana Kaye 1

      This evil, manipulative marxist, like all his ilk is greedy and obsessed with securing wealth without working for it. He will put the hutch on ebay, and eat the corpse of the rabbit. It’s pelt, will be made into a scarf for his wretched partner (now wife).

      • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

        What a load of tosh. Elevate your posts to intelligent levels please.

        • Hsirezeeg

          Rather childish but funny; give these guys a break!

        • http://www.facebook.com/david.barry.75839923 Barry David

          Hmm you’re so intellectual that you got far more negative ratings than positive, way to debate!

      • http://www.facebook.com/david.barry.75839923 Barry David

        Socialism isn’t a problem if it refines from MARX and BLAIRISM corporatism and becomes the true third way via lateral thinking, the aim of redistribution of wealth going hand in hand with wealth creation. To think that marx’s old system and anit christian because of his day as the end point is where these socialist workers types fail, havent they got any new ideas that arent 200 years old? Same with torries, they need to know to not just cut taxes etc but to sometimes increase wealthfare and spending but in innovative ways that generate returns for the state and private enterprise. And Bugger the fag movement, man I wish Marx hadnt had that shit in his writtings, labour no longer the party of the working man (not quite as bad as the gay dems though) now its the fag alliance!

    • Noa

      “I curse him; let his life be blighted from henceforth, when his
      rabbit dies I hope that he cannot sell its hutch…”

      Quite, sublime!

  • Andy

    This is just silly. as the State nationalised Marriage a simple solution would be to privatise it – you can get married in a church or whatever and such a union is between a man and a woman. You can get a civil partnership in a Registry Office and that can be in any combination you like. Quite simple really.

    • TomTom

      Funny how Hardwicke’s Marriage Act 1754 evolved into The State performing Marriages for Atheists and now trying to ram it down the throats of everyone. Next they will have to take the children of unmarried couples into care for State Adoption

  • http://twitter.com/Simon_Gardner Simon Gardner

    Er. Miliband specifically said there WOULDN’T be a three line whip on this.

  • Adam 123

    Wow, What a surprisingly homophobic article, I’m surprised this has even been published. Anyone ever heard of the seperation of Church and State, too long has an out-dated religious beliefs been used to discriminate agaisnt minorities.

    • Noa

      Do you like to prevent people having views different from you? You might be unpleasantly surprised when they do the same to you.

    • Baron

      Adam, young sir, it ain’t a question of religious bigotry
      discriminating against minorities, stop fooling yourself.

      It’s undeniable that since its creation, marriage as an institution has
      served to aid procreation, whether a heterosexual couple does or doesn’t have
      kids is neither here nor there, what matters is that ONLY a heterosexual
      coupling can procreate on its own, and that’s the core of the argument for
      keeping marriage where it has always been, every piece of research has shown again
      and again that it’s not just money, the meddling of the agencies of the State,
      surrogacy and stuff, but blood bonding of s tight heterosexual family that sits
      at the top of what’s needed to nurture a new generation infused with the
      complimentary input of what the two genders, male and female, can offer. Rupert Everett got it spot on, being
      brought up by two dads ain’t the Full Monty of what a child needs even, as it
      turned out in his case, a gay one.

      If we move to enlarge the institution of marriage to gays, there’s absolutely
      no reason we shouldn’t incorporate polygamy, too, there may be more kids born
      out of wedlock than there are gays. Should not that offspring claim the same
      rights as have the children of the married man who sired them? More to the point, the fastest growing
      part of the population, our Muslim neighbors, can legally enjoy polygamic
      marriages, it’s enshrined in their good book, should we not ajar the door
      to marriage abit more, let them in as well? Would you back it?

      offspring of the it would seem only proper that the same right that a
      child born to a married couple has should apply for a child born to the
      husband’s mistress, lover or whatever ot the wife’s lover, let gay marriages

      • Baron

        ignore the last para, please, it got inserted by mistake, unfinished

  • Daniel Maris

    The problem with moving away from the traditional idea of marriage is “Where do you stop?” Can’t three people live together in a loving relationship? Of course they can…And don’t Muslims have a heartfelt belief that polygamy is sanctioned by their religion and indeed something to be aimed for, given Mohammed’s example?

    Why is polygamy or polyandry not embraced as homosexuality is?

    • Madame Merle

      A good point, Daniel.

      Whichever their gender, a gay couple who want children need a third person to provide an egg or some sperm.

      What happens when the happy trio claims the right to marry in church?
      ( I rather doubt that anyone is going to expect their local imam to bless their union)

      I am pleased that gays can have civil partnerships but why keep pushing the boundaries? It’s as if half the fun of gayness is in the perpetual challenges to be made.

      Can social institutions have any meaning or value if there is constant ad libbing, according to the opportunities presented by scientific and social progress?

      • Daniel Maris

        Yes – politics is not just the art of the possible, it’s knowing when to shout “Stop!”.

        Civil partnerships are a good compromise. Gay marriage is not because it strikes at the fundamentals of the institution and opens the door to “pick and choose” marriage.

        Gays have a great deal to lose from weakening the institution of monogamous heterosexual marriage, because it will open the gates to the gay-haters to advance their cause.

        • Fergus Pickering

          What has weakened the institution of marriage is not gay marriage but instant divorce. If you want the bonds of marriage to be stronger then you must make divorce harder. Gays have nothing to do with it.

    • TomTom

      Why cannot Siblings enter into civil partnerships or perhaps heterosexual couples ? Belgium has no law against incest. The EU Harmonisation will address these issues when they address Inheritance Law which is coming soon to an EU Region near you

  • james102

    And when the first priest refuses? Will he be put on trial?

    They need to Game Play this. A homosexual catholic may want
    to make a point and from there on we are on tracts for one almighty bust up.

    • Peter Treadwell

      Of course not. Priests routinely refuse to marrry heterosexual coupless (usually because they are divorced). Why does this topic cause intelligent people to foget facts they have known for years?

      • Nicholas

        How naive. When priests refuse to marry gays it will be called discrimination and they will end up being prosecuted for it. We all know that is what will happen so why pretend otherwise?

        • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

          No they wont. Dont be silly. They already refuse to marry some couples.

          • Nicholas

            There we go again with the personal abuse. How can you possibly know they won’t? Lay preachers have been arrested on our streets for merely quoting the bible. Restaurant owners have been warned by the police for merely showing bible excerpts on TV in their premises. The owners of private bed and breakfast establishments have been prosecuted for refusing accommodation to homosexual couples. See David Lindsay’s comment above. When this comes to pass as predicted will you admit that you were silly?

            I was very glad to see the state persecution of homosexuals end. I expected that, having experienced it themselves, they might be less inclined to persecute others for their personal lifestyles, beliefs and opinions. It appears that I was wrong and that, liberated, many homosexuals are more than ready to persecute others in matters of conscience.

            • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

              ‘Silly’ barely ranks as abuse Nicholas. Put it this way if they do as you suggest you and I will stand shoulder to shoulder on the barricades. This has to be a question of personal conscience and beyond prosecution.

          • James102

            You are not allowing for the Protected Groups under Equalities legislation. Divorcees are not one of these groups but homosexuals are.
            The problem is that marriage is considered a sacrament by Catholics and it would be like passing a law that Scientologists could get baptised. No problem until a priest refuses to baptise one in his church.

            • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

              I am not allowing for it because I do not know about it. For me , stated simply, I do not understand homosexuality. I accept it because it does not figure in my particular world. I do not care. If they want to marry let them find a priest who will do it. Some priests/vicars take money for marriages of convenience to get immigrants into this country.
              It all matters so little to me.
              BUT if any party leader chooses to direct his members to vote in a particular way on what is clearly a question of moral conscience he should be challenged.

        • http://www.facebook.com/david.barry.75839923 Barry David

          Exactly, no money behind divorced people, no divorced peoples rights and no divorced people that really give a shit and no divorced catholic who is so beligerant as to go against the word of god, the word of the pope and their own institution all because of an inferiority complex .A need to be praised and reassured they are not doing anything wrong and the never ending quest for “sameness” which is different from “equality”.

      • David Lindsay

        No one goes to court to force Catholic priests to marry divorcees, or Anglicans to do so without going through the required procedures, or Orthodox rabbis to perform mixed marriages, or what have you.

        But the limitlessly funded homosexualist lobby, by far the most powerful in the country, is an entirely different matter. It certainly would pursue clergy all the way to financial ruin, to prison, to nervous breakdown, to suicide, to whatever you cared to mention, for having had the temerity to do anything other than spontaneously acknowledge the self-evident rightness of whatever that lobby might happen to have demanded.

        Just be grateful that it will not be able to, because this legislation is not going to be enacted.

        • TomTom

          It is because Stonewall is State-funded and extorts money from private companies as a “consultancy” issuing Certificates of Approval for meeting Government “targets”

    • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

      No. I do not think so.

  • Ross

    Yes, and similar arguments were made in the American South in the 1800’s about black people being treated as equal, or in early 20th century whether women should be permitted to vote, and then later that century the battles over equal opportunities, anti-racism et al. Sometime there is a right and a wrong, and those who through homophobia and bigotry oppose this, deserve to be censured.

    Your assertions that there are valid arguments to be discussed echo those made in the US 9th Circuit Appeal Court in the case about Proposition 8, the attempt by right-wingers to ban gay marriage. Your assertions, in fact, closely mirror those articulated by Kevin Bacon, in this clip: http://j.mp/GayMarriage-ForLegislatureToDecide-OrNot

    You’re on the wrong side of history, people – your children and grandchildren will look back at you, and your attitudes, in due course with the contempt and derision which we currently reserve for racist coffin-dodgers who haven’t quite managed to get a grip with loss of Empire… There, there – keep listening to Simon Heffer and Melanie Phillips, and just block out the modern world, and pretend it’s all a bad dream 😉

    • anyfool

      What a nauseating piece of humanity you are, racist coffin dodgers, has it never occurred to you that they might actually believe in God and the bible, that when millions of these coffin dodgers went to war and in this war thousands of their comrades died fighting a man who would not be just objecting to this but would be actively pursuing a different solution.
      Everything people like you want to impose on others is always put with such sanctimonious cant as to make people shy away from any discourse about right or wrong, good or bad, you really are the pits.
      I do not believe in god, i don’t actually care whether gays can get married or not, but unlike you i think that others should be able to have beliefs and opinions, nor should dung beetles you, who should be thankful to the coffin dodgers be abusing them like i have you.

      • TomTom

        Hyperbolic BS. You cannot believe in God and The Bible if you don’t adhere to The Word and the basics tenets of The 39 Articles

        • anyfool

          The 39 are just some of the tenets that Elizabeth the 1st approved. but they have absolutely nothing to do with a secular law imposing itself on religious belief.

          • TomTom

            No they are not – they are grounded in the Bible as the BCP draws its basis and its references directly from The Bible that is the beauty of Cranmer’s Prayer Book

            • anyfool

              Out of all the tenets the 39 are the ones approved for entry into the bible.

      • TomTom

        Hyperbolic BS. You cannot believe in God and The Bible if you don’t adhere to The Word and the basics tenets of The 39 Articles

    • Just Bob

      I’m afraid you’re not only on the wrong side of history but you’re also on the wrong side of the demographic future of this country. A recent survey of British Muslims showed that 0% (that’s a big fat zero btw, and not a typo) approved of gay relationships. Three line whip that community if you dare.

      Give it one, maybe two generations and you won’t be out and proud, you’ll be in and scared.

    • Daniel Maris

      Well we’ll see won’t we – or our children will: whether we live in a country increasingly under the sway of gay-hating Sharia or living in a country where gay marriage and polygamous marriage happily co-exist and Sharia observers smile benignly on hand-holding gay couples walking down the street.

      • HFC

        As I recall, the Muslim rulers in parts of Malaysia don’t like to see male and female holding hands in public; especially the younger generation, let alone same sex promenaders. So Sharia lawmakers already have their own take on what they see as offensive.

        • Daniel Maris

          Sharia lovers are life-haters: they hate love, sex, art, music, dance, philosophy and alcohol.

          As Randolph Churchill might have said: “What sh*ts they are.”

    • TomTom

      Blacks in the US South were illiterate and that is usually held to be an issue. Also poor whites were disenfranchised too. Just how many Brions could vote before 1884 ?

    • TomTom

      Blacks in the US South were illiterate and that is usually held to be an issue. Also poor whites were disenfranchised too. Just how many Brions could vote before 1884 ?

    • Curnonsky

      In the U.S., home of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal you cite, gay marriage has been handily rejected whenever it has been put to the voters. It has only succeeded when imposed from on high, either by a court or by a state legislature. The wrong side of history? Perhaps, if history is an irresistible slide into authoritarianism and conformity.

  • RobStevens

    The article misses the most fundamental point: that the anti-marriage lobby wish to continue to impose their personal (generally religious) code on OTHERS who do NOT share that religion. Presumably, even some of those Catholic MP’s can see that this is wrong. Forcing your religion onto others doesn’t become right by calling it “conscience”. If you personally think that gay marriage is wrong, then don’t marry a gay person. Why is this so difficult for some to understand?

    • Daniel Maris

      So where do you stand on polygamous marriage? Do you support it or oppose it?

      • Daniel Maris

        …and answer came there none… :)

        • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

          Of course those in favour of the impossibility of two men being married cannot deny the same right to any combination of humans, humans and animals, even animals and animals I guess. The intent is to remove all meaning from the word marriage so that marriage no longer exists.

          Marx hated marriage and the family. It was only the conservatism of the masses in Russia which prevented both being abolished by the bolsheviks.

      • CraigStrachan

        After watching “Big Love” I have come around to being in favor of polygamous marriage, as long as I get to be married to Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny, and Ginnifer Goodwin.

      • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

        I oppose it . Believe me one is more than enough.

  • salieri

    “churches and religious bodies should be allowed to conduct these ceremonies”. Oh yes? In New Labour speak, where equality and diversity are concerned what is “allowed” by the State nearly always becomes required. Sooner or later, what is now called liberalism inevitably becomes illiberal.

    • Andy

      Quite so, but they are merely Fascists so no real surprise.

      • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

        Ok You call the Labour fascists. Explain this please. A young man swore at a policeman during the despicable riots and got 6 months. A senior minister swears full bloodidly at police officers in front of witnesses and got away (so far) with an apology, including a refuting foot note which implies the officers were lying. Which governing body is fascist? Answer please.

        • http://www.facebook.com/david.barry.75839923 Barry David

          Hmm police are traditionaly torries but now the masons have too much strength, 3% masons is 2% to many!

  • Ali Buchan

    A very good point well worth articulating, which extends far beyond just the gay marriage debate. Thank you, Melanie.

  • TomTom

    Three-line Whip is what makes Parliament a joke together with the Guillotine. Parliament is a sausage factory not a debating chamber and is illegitimate. It represents noone and is a tyranny that should be overthrown

    • telemachus

      I did not spot you as a revolutionary.
      Or are you just homophobic?

      • TomTom

        Troll. Address the issue……Parliament is unrepresentative and run by a Metropolitan clique. Miliband is a North London boy son of a Belgian illegal immigrant himself son of a Polish Communist – and he tells Voters in Britain that he is instructing their Representatives how they must vote ? That is DEMOCRATIC CENTRALISM of your favoured Stalinist variety Telemachus.

        • telemachus

          I guess these are the kind of views of parliament that led to the enabling act in Germany in the 1930’s

          • TomTom

            You mean Civil Contingencies Act 2004 surely……….

          • http://www.facebook.com/david.barry.75839923 Barry David

            Folk are arrested for critizing soldiers on facebook, ask that poor asian chap charged with racism, when nothing he wrote was racist, this PC crap is going too far and only 1 in 10 rulings these days actually is a good example of a true, meanigfull equality. Like banning people wearing crosses and burqas in the name of not offending the non-religious, but at least car insurance can no longer discriminate against men, based on group behaviour not that of the individual, who if he is a safer driver than an individual women deserves a greater deal than her, not disenfranchised because of his sex. Similarly if white people or black dont get a job cause of their colour that needs to be stamped down on, yet too often its bizare pc crap that is nothing to do with justice.

        • telemachus

          I guess these are the kind of views of parliament that led to the enabling act in Germany in the 1930’s

        • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

          He is not instructing anybody. Read the article. Lord you can barely read clearly for all the foam around your lips once someone says
          ‘ Milliband’ a Pavlovian response it is called.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Cripes, you STILL can’t spell.

  • foxoles

    Strange how those who are the keenest on ‘diversity’ can’t tolerate any diversity of opinion.

    • telemachus

      Yes but how else do you protect persecuted minorities

      • Andy H

        what like you – you weirdo…

      • Andy H

        What like you – you weirdo….

        • telemachus

          As you will find to your cost in 2015 I am not actually a minority

          • Andy H

            I’m pretty certainly there are not that many others as odd and freakish as you.

            • telemachus

              They said Atlee was odd

              • HooksLaw

                Who?

                • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

                  Atlee! A great Labour leader and manager of his party. A mild, gentleman, looked like a the manager of a small bank in Rutlandshire, with a small black ‘tache. Churchill described his wartime deputy ‘ a modest man with much to be modest about’ but he shook things up when he became PM.he reshaped our whole society after that hellish war. I was there.

                • Fergus Pickering

                  So you couldn’t spell then, either. Attlee’s the chap.

                • Nicholas

                  I was there too and with no strong objections to Attlee he presided over quite a post-war shafting from our friends the USA. Also there was that little question of the Rolls-Royce Nene being given to the Soviets by Cripps.

              • Andy H

                Well at least Atlee achieved something in life – something that I suspect that you will never do given that you spend all your time making irelevant comments on this website

          • Fergus Pickering

            Tel, you will always be in a minority.

          • http://www.facebook.com/david.barry.75839923 Barry David

            WHY are you saying homosexuals are now the majority? If so thats clear evidence of a choice or masons injecting food with female hormones…. You might not care about the survival of humanity, which requires some straight people, but I do.

    • David Ossitt

      Well said Sir.

    • http://www.facebook.com/amergin.selby Amergin Selby

      He has said he will support it wholeheartedly. Labour Party wants to see the words first. Nowhere does it mention three line whip. If he applies it in cases like this he shakes what little faith i have in him. I shall be berating the labour party to rethink the nature of their support.

    • Eddie

      Yep, as I have told the smug little munchkins at the BBC on numerous occasions…
      I have come to realise that by ‘diversity’ they are usually only referring to different skin colours, and sometimes diversity of sexuality or disability – and that’s it. It is not therefore really true diversity at all – yet that has not stopped it becoming a right old cult, worshipped by all at every council, university and media organisation.
      Those who raise concerns are branded heretics and infidels, and will ruin their careers if they are honest about this emperor’s clothes piffle – though self-employed gits like me can say what the heck we want!
      And the diversity training industry is massive and profitable. Ask that A4E fat dodgy woman boss.

      • http://www.facebook.com/david.barry.75839923 Barry David

        actually they are anti-disabilities cause they believe in abortion on demand and see that as a way to lower welfare bill by killing disabled and or babies who are not the sex the parents want ( Apparently not only has a child to be wanted by the mum, but also has to be the child the mum wants, bugger her partners view on the issue (mind you wait till the pro-choice get it put in their head that they could have even more abortions if they let the man object to a birth of an unwanted child and you just see how they try to make it that they are not sexist by supporting a mans right to abortion (reproductive rights or some crap) (but for the man who wants to prevent an abortion they will call him misogynist).

        MARX DID HAVE/ WAS ONTO SOMETHING where he took a wrong turn was his hatred of religion, authoritarianism, and the lack of courage in his own beliefes that they could be put into place WITHOUT the need to destroy all the traditional institutions of the family and church in order to achieve economic justice, that he had not been a christian and had never met Benjamin Disraelli, if had then an altogether more “progressive” and “tolerant” form of socialism may have emerged and what is even more rediculous is the folk that cling to MARX as if there can’t be a better way of doing things and that humans cant come up with better philopshophical and moral ways of tackling poverty than some guy 200 years ago. Where is the innovation? Wealth creation and redistribution need to be married, nationalization is part of the stratergy but so too are co-ops new and smart tax laws, property taxes, international joined up thinking on tax, and many more better ways of helping the poor than spending money on gay marriage and taking all the wealth from the rich to give to the poor, no take some of the wealth but also lets create more wealth, lets have corporate social responsibility, lets make it worth companies while to higher more staff. Mabye I am utopian but I believe abortion, poverty and income inequality need not exist or be so large in the case of the last one. I also believe looking only to MARX/keys/ or the belegian school of economics for answers is not clever. Lets invent, lets be a one nation socialism and ED that means no gay marriage, no abortion at 5 months!

  • Sam

    Sorry Melanie, that can’t be true. Mr David Lindsay, tiresomely regular of this parish, has said Labour would never do it. And we all know young Mr Lindsay is never wrong.

  • Sam

    Sorry Melanie, that can’t be true. Mr David Lindsay, tiresomely regular of this parish, has said Labour would never do it. And we all know young Mr Lindsay is never wrong.

  • Jonathon

    Ah yes, that old argument that marriage is about raising kids and therefore gays shouldn’t be allowed to do it.

    My aunt and uncle cannot have kids naturally, should they be stopped from marrying? What if I don’t want kids but want to marry my girlfriend? Should I have to sign a contract saying I will use my marriage as a means to raise children?

    Trying to argue that allowing gay people the same freedom that we straight people have is illiberal requires some rather amazing mental acrobatics.

    • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

      Gay people already have the same freedom. Any gay man can marry a woman. Marriage is between a man and a woman. A socialist state cannot simply redefine it. This is all part of the same use of language to undermine normal Western civilisation. Any criticism of immigrants is racism. Any criticism of socialism is bigotry, Any expression of conservatism and patriotism is illiberal.

      Of course marriage is about kids. Only a socialist would say otherwise. But that is not all it is about. What it definitely is not about is validating a sexual relationship between two men.

      As one of the last independent sources of authority the socialist state must assault and destroy both marriage and the family. It will seek to destroy Christian independence at the same time.

      • RobStevens

        Classic Orwellian doublespeak. “Destroy marriage” by allowing people to get married. “Destroy Christian independence” by granting the right to be independent of Christianity. And so on…

      • Jonathon

        Once upon a time marriage was only between a man and a woman of the same race, the state changed that and it was right to.

        Would you deny the right to marry to heterosexual couples who cannot have children then? I don’t think you would. You’re just using the children argument to justify your inbuilt prejudice and fear of homosexuality.

        If you don’t want gays to marry because you hate the idea of a man loving a man then just come out and say it.

        • notme3

          Can you tell us when it was against the law for people to marry between races?

          • David Lindsay

            There have only ever been such restrictions (never in this country) when and where specific legislation to that effect had been enacted. Whereas there has never been same-sex “marriage”, unrecognised by almost any jurisdiction on earth, *without* specific legislation to that effect. That is the difference.

            • notme3

              So the original poster was ‘making it up’ when he wrote:
              “Once upon a time marriage was only between a man and a woman of the same race, the state changed that and it was right to”

              There was never ever such legislation in this country.

              • David Lindsay

                He never directly said that there had been. But if I were an uncharitable soul, then I might suggest that he had intended to give that impression.

                No, there has never been any such legislation in this country.

        • TomTom

          When was it prohinited to marry people of different race in the British Empire ?

      • Daniel Maris

        I think it’s a bit silly to link this to socialism. Most socialist regimes on the planet – USSR, Cuba, China – have been pretty conservative socially. If anything it’s a liberal/libertarian idea and appeals to the libertarian wings of all the parties.

        • PeterfromMaidstone

          On the contrary Marxism rejects both marriage and the family. Many working class people are conservative. But socialists, and Cameron is a socialist as much as Clegg and Milliband, do not believe in marriage or the family and expend much effort in destroying it.

          • Daniel Maris

            Do you mean socialists in the UK or socialists on Planet Earth. There is a difference you know (clue: Maidstone is not the centre of the universe).

          • TomTom

            Marxism is a joke which was simply a Jew-hating Jew in the form of Karl Marx who loathed his father’s mercenary behaviour and went through a rebellion of Jews who loathed being Jews even when they converted to Christianity or Atheism – and that is the root of Marxism – read The Jewish Century by Your Slezkine

    • Noa

      My nephew loves his alsation.
      Should they be allowed to marry? Should this entitle him to blend his DNA with Fidos? If the status of marriage attracts a tax break should he be entitled to claim it? Will other, unmarried dog lovers then consider this to be unfair?
      At what point should inter-species ‘marriage’ be prevented, if at all? Dogs may be fine, but are tigers, elephants or wildebeests?

      • Jonathon

        No, the difference is that two adult men can consent to a relationship and to a marriage. A dog clearly cannot.

        • Noa

          That argument discriminates against the human in the homo-canine relationship and places him in an unequal position vis a vis a homosexual.

          • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

            That’s true. If a man wants to marry his dog then it is unfair to stop him. Other people are able to marry who they want. Lots of Pakistani girls have no say in how they marry so consent is not a necessary aspect of marriage once it is separated from traditional, Western, civilised and Christian roots.

            • Noa

              A good point. I had overlooked the lack of consent in the forced and arranged marriages so widespread in the middle east, the Indian sub-continent and Islamic countries.
              Indeed consummation, rather than consent was also a key criterion under English law when arranged marriages were usual here.

              • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

                Consent was always necessary in Christian marriage, and the sexual consummation was exactly that, a completion of a rite that required consent. Very rich people have always done what they wanted, but the sacramental and Christian view was always that consent was required.

                • Noa

                  Thank you for clarifying that.

        • TomTom

          Consent to a relationship but “Marriage” that requirs a Redefinition which makes the word meaningless like the word gay is now meaningless

    • Daniel Maris

      Your aunt and your uncle should be stopped from marrying each other certainly. :) Ideally your cousins should not marry your cousins – if we had some sensible laws.

      Presumably – since you think individual desires define this issue – you think your aunt and uncle should be allowed to marry each other?

      I think we should make it clearer that marriage is something for procreation. It would probably be a good thing to require people to sign up that they wish to have children when they marry. If not,they could then opt for a civil partnership – a perfectly respectable alternative.

      • Jonathon

        My aunt and uncle are already married. That’s what made him my uncle. They weren’t related prior to that marriage. What I was suggesting was that seeing as they are both infertile the reasoning that a couple should only marry for children would stop them marrying.

        But then it seems you actually believe that marriage should only be for people who want to have children. I hope you turn out to be infertile.

        • http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/ Coffeehousewall

          What a sad person you are. Of course marriage is essentially for people who want or expect to have children. Or did you think it was all about short-term self-indulgence. If you don’t know what marriage means then don’t try to redefine it.

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