Wednesday 6 February 2013

Equal Marriage: Greens celebrate while Tweeters rise up against revolting Teather

The Green Party was jubilant yesterday after the vote on Equal Marriage.  This has long been Green Party policy and has been championed by Green Party member Peter Tatchell.

Before the vote Caroline Lucas, Green MP, said:
 While the Conservative catfight over today’s vote will fade into insignificance, the momentous occasion on which MPs were given the chance to stand up for equality in marriage will be remembered for many years to come.

The majority of the public sees no reason why people of the same sex who love each other and want to marry should not be able to do so – and despite claims to the contrary, this legislation will not force any faith groups to conduct gay marriages.

 Like many of the constituents who have written to me on this issue, I support the aims of the government’s proposed legislation and will therefore vote ‘yes’ to same sex marriage in Parliament.

However, while I’ll be voting for equal marriage, I’ll also be calling for more far reaching reform to allow everyone – same sex and opposite sex couples – to enjoy a civil partnership or marriage, as they choose.

 This is a question of equal love. It’s not about asking for special treatment for gay couples or straight couples, it’s about everyone enjoying the same rights regardless of their sexuality.
Speaking for myself I have always been suspicious of the way marriage is extolled by the right-wing alongside 'hard-working families' but if people want to get married then I see no reason why it should not be open to everyone.

Yesterday the internet was buzzing with comment on Sarah Teather's vote against Equal Marriage and many pointed out that this contradicted the banners on the Lib Dem website. Teather herself posted a long statement that can be found here which said that she had reflected for a long time 'as a life long liberal and a committed Catholic'.

It was a free vote, despite Equal Marriuage being Lib Dem policy, and she pleaded for understanding of her position:
I have found this a difficult decision because of my work previously on gay rights issues, and my judgment is finely balanced. I recognise that others may reflect deeply on these issues and come to a different view, in good faith. But it is my view that where the extra protections offered to same-sex couples are marginal, and where the potential negatives to society over a period of time may be more considerable, I am unable to support the bill.

Although the vote today was subject to a free, unwhipped vote, I understand that my views place me out of step with most of my liberal democrat colleagues and party members. I have not often found myself out of step with party members over the last twenty years. But one of the things that always impresses me about our party is that we are liberal enough to accept that others may hold different views. Our party members hold strong views, but recognise and cherish the space for difference. I am proud of that.
Cherishing 'the space for difference' does not seem to include gay people wanting the commitment of marriage. It's pretty ironic that the left, having urged Teather to revolt on a range of Coalition policies, now find her revolting on one that many of them support.

Among the comments on Twitter were:
Presume Sarah Teather objects to post-menopausal women marrying men as it will "decouple the definition of marriage from family life"? Ben Soffa

Brent's LGBT pop is approx 16,000. Sarah Teather's majority is 3,000. Pukka Punjabi

Just caught news Teather voted against  equal marriage Voted for cuts, for savaging welfare, but against equality. Sounds like a Tory to me Mike Katz

Teather free to vote the way she wants but not when it involves breaking promises made to local constituents Chavalim Bodedim

And Sarah Teather . Up there with Huhne in the talking utter bollox stakes. Suzanne Moore

"Lib Dems are tackling the inequalities faced by the gay lesbian bisexual & transgender community head on" Teather's website & she voted NO! Tweet for Labour

Sarah Teather didn't vote against the massive cuts the Government has made to Brent Central. Just gay marriage. Social liberal, you see. Tom Miller
 I’m sure the large Evangelical population in Brent Central has nothing to do with Teather opposing equal marriage  Nothing at all  Mark Ferguson
 Another aspect of the vote was noted by many Brent tweeters when all six Muslim Labour MPs voted for Equal Marriage.

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