First of all I believe that Gay and Lesbian people should be allowed to register their partnerships, I support the Civil Partnerships introduced by the last Govt and think that they are a valuable moral and societal counter to the booze and shagging culture that is too often promoted by the commercial gay scene.
I agree with the conservative lesbian feminist writer Tammy Bruce who said that too many of the US gay community is far too in thrall to the drink, drugs and clubbing culture that is sold to them as the ‘authentic’ way to live as a gay person, by many gay business and the gay press. I’m in favour of sexual freedom, but I’m also I favour of people behaving responsibly with their freedoms and encouraging committed relationships amongst LGB people is a way of doing that.
Secondly I do believe that those religious organisations who want to carry out same sex commitment ceremonies should be allowed to do so but also those religious organisations that don’t want to be forced to carry out these ceremonies, should have protection both explicitly in law, and also added protection against Gay/Left/sexual freedom activists who may want to use the Human Rights Act to try to force religions to unwillingly accept same sex commitment ceremonies.
Thirdly Cameron has really screwed this issue up. There was no need to get into a big fight over changing the definition of marriage. There was no need to stir up the hornets nest of opposition from within the Conservative party. This is a fight that did not need to happen. Yes there were changes that needed to be made but they should not have been presented the way Cameron has presented them.
There was an anomaly with the original civil partnerships act in which it contained a clause that there should be no religious content at all in a civil partnership ceremony. This was pointed out as a problem by the pro Gay religious groups at the time the CP Act came in.
If Cameron had just removed this clause from the CP Act, it would have satisfied the Quakers, the Unitarians, the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and the Liberal Jews, all of whom wish to carry out same sex commitment ceremonies. By legislating for choice by organisations, Cameron could have removed this strange anomaly from the Act, kept the pro religious gay partnership crowd happy and not alienated sections of his own supporters, nor would he have alienated those members of religions that do not approve of same sex relationships.
Cameron must have been extremely badly advised on this issue to insist that the only way forward was a redefinition of marriage that has angered many. There was a way of making a political change in this area without acting in such a way that caused the Prime Minister to be faced by new and vociferous opponents.
A man who picks a fight when a fight is avoidable with honour doesn’t strike me as a good leader. Cameron has not led well on this issue, and he is reaping the results of his mistake.