Monday, 20 May 2013

Marriage Equality returns to parliment

The marriage equality debate comes up for debate again today, as you can probably tell by the number of Tories frothing and spreading bigotry on various news channels – and someone’s rattled Lord Carey’s cage again.

We now go into the amendment stage. When we did this with Civil Partnerships, this was when the Tories did everything they could to scupper the law by throwing as much mud at it as possible in the hope that it would stick and drown the law – things like sibling marriages et al. No doubt the same is going to happen here.

Some ones that have pinged the radar:

Referendum. Yes, we need to turn out the whole country to vote on whether or not we get to get wed. Referenda in the UK are reserved for major constitutional changes for the most part, they’re not things we do casually and certainly not things we do for people’s basic human rights. So far, referendums and proposed referendums have been confined to things like EU membership, devolution, the voting system; constitutional structural changes all. We have only had 11 of them – ever - and none of them have ever concerned human rights being put up for popular vote. Even bigoted MP David barrows admits he’s only introducing the amendment to try and sink the bill.

Needless to say, the very idea of the whole nation of predominantly straight people voting on my rights sickens me and infuriates me. Add in the complete lack of any constitutional basis for such a referendum and it’s a blatant, nauseating piece of homophobia.

Discrimination Immunity apparently for registrars and school teachers and who knows what else – all will be given a pass from our current equality laws to be raging homophobic bigots under this amendment. No. Really fucking no. If a registrar wants their bigoted religion to control their job then they should have become a vicar, priest, rabbi, imam, or whatever their bigotry of choice is.

And teachers most certainly should never get a pass to be bigots. The harm this does to our children – in all schools and, yes, that includes private and faith schools. It’s especially important in faith schools that are already shown to be extremely hostile places for GBLT youth. Marriage equality will exist – teachers teach what exists. You don’t get to pretend something doesn’t exist because you don’t like it. You don’t get to teach children we don’t exist because you’re bigots. And we do not tolerate teachers denigrating people by race, religion or gender – so why should we do so for GBLT people? I am sick and tired of the unthinkable when it comes to other marginalised people being the publicly acceptable with GBLT people.

This is apparently something Cameron is considering as a concession to getting the bill passed. And that’s ridiculous – the bill will pass with the majority of Labour and Lib Dem MPs and the minority of Tories who support equality. The last vote passed overwhelmingly by over 225 votes. There is no need of concessions to pass this law. There IS a need for concessions for the Tories if they want to try and present this law as their baby, as I said previously. Whatever praise Cameron hoped for for being the prime minister who brought marriage equality is badly shattered by over half of his party opposing it and the nasty shit his MPs have been spouting since its introduction.  To claw back some of that sense of this being a TORY bill, he needs at least half of his MPs to vote for it – it’ll be weak, but something. Though snipping out pieces of the equality act to convince his party to support equality is a bit of a non-starter. Of course, he’s also running scared from UKIP and this government is deeply reactionary. In a classically-Cameron slapstick moment, he’s trying to push the “look how modern I am” while at the same time still woo the Swivel Eyed Loons (thank you Lord Feldman) who are champing at the bit and protest voting to UKIP, the BNP with better PR.

Straight civil partnerships I have to say I am bemused as to why straight people so desperately want access to the not-good-enough-for-marriage partnerships since I can’t see one damn thing it brings you that civil marriage doesn’t - beyond the fact that straight people simply have to be part of everything and in everything. But, hey if we want to continue civil partnerships (which is probably easier and less problematic than scrapping them after marriage equality) then by all means have them open to straight folks.

However, Maria Miller claims that this amendment would delay implementation by 2 years. I have no idea why – but then, I have no idea why it has taken this damn long to get marriage equality. I suspect it may be a derail and may be a lie or a figure plucked out of the air. While I don’t trust her, the fact that the ones proposing this amendment are the usual Tory bigots who hate all things equality and will do anything to destroy this bill makes me think that it is certainly designed to delay or derail marriage equality. I can’t imagine them supporting this UNLESS it helps damage, delay or destroy marriage equality. Much as I dislike Lynn Featherstone and her straightwashing and dismissal of Tory homophobia, she’s right when she says “beware opponents bearing gifts.” Again, this is what the Tories did when civil partnerships were first introduced – try to drown them in amendments.

Either way, I do not support our fight for equality being derailed and delayed AGAIN by entitled straight people deciding they need the lesser-not!marriage-we’ve-been-forced-to-settle-on. The idea that our access to the full institution should be delayed so straight people can also have the lesser-institution sticks in the craw.

It’s tempting to consider this battle won because of the success of the earlier votes – but it’s far from over, especially with the Lords looming over. At this stage we need to be vigilant over marriage equality being deformed, of amendments being introduced that would gut our equality in other areas, of “concessions” that would leave us with let another unequal institution and of delays and wrangles that could see us waiting yet more years for marriage equality to actually happen. Keep on fighting.