UK Prime Minister and other conservative politicians advocate for the freedom to marry
December 10, 2012
This weekend was an important weekend in the movement to win the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in the United Kingdom.
On Friday, David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, gave an interview where he strongly and clearly voiced his views on the freedom to marry, continuing his leadership on the issue in the United Kingdom. In an interview with Channel 4 news, he said (Watch Below):
I'm in favor of gay marriage because I'm a massive supporter of marriage and I don't want gay people to be excluded from a great institution. But let me be absolutely, 100 percent clear: If there is any church or any synagogue or any mosque that doesn't want to have a gay marriage - it absolutely must not be forced to hold it. That is absolutely clear in the legislation....personally, I will be supporting it.
Previously, Cameron has said, "I don't support gay marriage despite being a Conservative; I support gay marriage because I'm a conservative."
Also this weekend, a new coalition of 19 politicians - largely conservative Torries - came together to support ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. The new coalition, "Freedom to Marry," published an op-ed in The Sunday Telegraph announcing that "marriage should be open to all, regardless of sexuality." The group is headed up by Boris Johnson, London's mayor; Michael Gove, the Secretary of Education; Nick Herbert, the former police minister, who is also openly gay; and Alistair Burt, the Foreign Office Minister and an evangelical Christian.
Herbert wrote in his own editorial that the freedom to marry "is a true Tory principle." He also spoke specifically to the Republican Party in the United States, who this year ran on a national campaign platform that included a plank supporting the continued exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. Herbert's editorial urges British conservatives to learn from the mistakes of U.S. Republicans. He wrote:
As the Republicans found in the recent presidential elections, there is no mileage in alienating the new generation of voters or what is, even in the United States, a growing majority of public opinion. President Obama endorsed gay marriage and was re-elected. So, in London, was Boris Johnson.
Winning politicians who have built the broad base of voter support that is needed to gain office have got themselves on the right side of this argument. It is not gay marriage which will cost Conservatives votes: it is failing to win the common ground.
Same-sex couples in the United Kingdom can currently join together in civil partnerships, which afford couples some - but not all - of the protections, responsibilities, and dignity that marriage provides. The marriage bill will likely be introduced in the country's legislature in 2013.