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Gay Marriage, Cameron And The Village

Karen Regn assesses the mood on Canal Street after the Prime Minister's keynote speech

Published on October 10th 2011.


Gay Marriage, Cameron And The Village

OF ALL the statements made by Prime Minister David Cameron in the closing speech at last week’s Tory Conference in Manchester, those in support of gay marriage are the ones that are still making waves. 

For the most part, however, they are within his own party. 

“It makes me think he’s only in favour of a certain kind of person, someone more conventional who conforms to the rest of society.”  

On Canal Street, the heart of Manchester’s gay community, there is no motion to change its rainbow banners for Tory blue. 

With his wife by his side, Cameron said that whether couples are heterosexual or homosexual, they strengthen society by their commitment to each other, and that his support of homosexual marriage was borne out of his conservative beliefs, rather than in spite of them.

When asked for their reaction, members of the gay community expressed that they were unconvinced by Mr. Cameron’s speech.  

Many thought the comment was little more than a sound bite to earn votes.  “He’s doing it to be politically correct,” said flight attendant John Foy.  “Maybe some people believe him, but I really don’t.” 

“He’s not a stupid man.  He knows how to work things,” said John Newton, a man who said he doesn’t follow every comment made by politicians. “I think things are going to change, but I don’t think it’s going to come from politics.  It’ll come from society.”  

For some, the comment aroused suspicion.  “He sees it as less of a threat, as if somehow married people aren’t being different or deviant,” said student Arron Watson. “It makes me think he’s only in favour of a certain kind of person, someone more conventional who conforms to the rest of society.”  

The government’s reform of the marriage laws would give full rights of marriage, allowing civil partnership ceremonies to take place in religious venues and permitting the incorporation of religious readings, music or symbols.

While a formal consultation is expected to begin next spring, many Conservative MPs are already speaking out in dissension.  

In 2005, the first year civil partnerships were legal in Britain, over 18,000 such commitments took place. Since then, 6,000 to 8,000 ceremonies a year have been performed.  If religious ceremonies follow suit, they may see a surge after the government’s reform, then level out.

Under the new law, churches and other places of worship would be able to decide themselves if they will perform same-sex marriages. Frazer Faulkner, a student recently moved from Leicester, has no interest in being married in a church, where he feels inclusion is an issue.  “They don’t allow it so I wouldn’t want to be somewhere where I wasn’t welcome,” he said. “But if you are religious I can understand it’s a different story.” 

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The Lesbian and Gay Foundation, or LGF, whose Manchester headquarters is on Richmond Street, are kicking off their World Coming Out Day on Tuesday.  They aim to demonstrate that homophobia is in the minority and being open about sexual preference is more widely accepted that ever before.  

Over the weekend, campaigners asked passersby to participate in a photo-op, complete with a real closet as a prop.  “Quite camp”, said one organiser, pointing to a fuchsia wardrobe fixed with glittering handles and festooned with rainbow flags.  

“It’s a step in the right direction and it’s great that they’re addressing issues that affect the community directly,” said Martin Cooper, the Community Engagement Coordinator for Manchester LGF. “We work alongside all religious organizations.  It’s something we campaign quite keenly for since it’s part of ending homophobia and empowering people.  

“The marriage law is getting better, but we’d like to see more in the way of equal rights in regards to sexual identity.  Why shouldn’t someone be able to celebrate their love in the eyes of God?”

For more information about International Coming Out Day and "Come In, Come Out" contact us on 0845 3 30 30 30, email helpline@lgf.org.uk or visit www.lgf.org.uk

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24 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Liam StarkeyOctober 10th 2011.

It wasn't David Cameron who announced the introduction of gay marriage, it was the Lib Dem equalities minister (and glamourpuss) Lynn Featherstone at the Lib Dem conference two weeks ago. I thought this was a NEWS organisation???

Liam StarkeyOctober 10th 2011.

For more up to date and relevant gay news listen to Citizen Manchester LGBT, The Gay Hour on BBC Radio Manchester 95.1 FM , DAB, Online, Iplayer (search for lgbt).

AnonymousOctober 10th 2011.

Doesn't a marriage have to be consummated? Actually I am in favour of removing the remaining financial differences between CP's and Marriages, and any other similar discrimination.

Philip HanesOctober 10th 2011.

Why are LGF squandering funding on a "quite camp" event for International Coming Out Day? I would like to see stereotypes challenged and sexual identification celebrated in a positive way.

Phil MurphyOctober 10th 2011.

"I support gay marriage. Love is the same, straight or gay, so the civil institution should be the same, too. All couples should be able to make that commitment to one another."
- Nick Clegg MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats - Pink News, 17 Feb 2010.

James SpencerOctober 10th 2011.

Maybe Philip has a point. Perhaps ManCon and Pride could join up to have a feature in the ManCons's Health and Beauty' section and on the Parade which helps gay men and women to challenge stereotypes and celebrate their sexual identity in a positive way, in fashion, beauty and style, domestic and beyond. What are you going wear Phil?

Kevin PeelOctober 10th 2011.

Labour is the only party supporting full marriage equality. Despite Cameron's warm words his party are clearly not behind him and the fact that he has delayed the consultation yet again until next spring shows he is not really committed to even gay marriage.

People should judge politicians on what they DO, not what they say. Labour scrapped Tory Section 28, equalised the age of consent, ended the ban on gays in the military, legislated for gay adoption, brought in the gender recognition act, introduced fertility rights for lesbians, introduced civil partnerships, banned discrimination in the provision of goods and services against LGBT people and brought in the equality act.

What have the Tories done? Voted against most of the above (including Cameron), failed to deliver on marriage equality and failed to end the gay blood ban.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Duke FameOctober 11th 2011.

They had 13 years to do something about it in between fucking the economy over.

The coalition seem to be pressing on with equality which is a good thang rather than scoring daft party political points.

Re. the gay blood ban, Labour didn't reverse this for exactly the same reason as the coalition. Health advice reflects the reality that HIV is way out of proportion in the gay community and both the government and moreover, the community need to take responsibility for themselves to address the issue.

Kevin PeelOctober 10th 2011.

Labour is the only party supporting full marriage equality. Despite Cameron's warm words his party are clearly not behind him and the fact that he has delayed the consultation yet again until next spring shows he is not really committed to even gay marriage.

People should judge politicians on what they DO, not what they say. Labour scrapped Tory Section 28, equalised the age of consent, ended the ban on gays in the military, legislated for gay adoption, brought in the gender recognition act, introduced fertility rights for lesbians, introduced civil partnerships, banned discrimination in the provision of goods and services against LGBT people and brought in the equality act.

What have the Tories done? Voted against most of the above (including Cameron), failed to deliver on marriage equality and failed to end the gay blood ban.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Calum McGOctober 11th 2011.

Heard you the first time ;)

AnonymousOctober 10th 2011.

2005 was the year that civil partnerships first became legal in the UK. Admittedly it was December, but it was 2005, not 2006.

Liam StarkeyOctober 10th 2011.

Kevin, Labour is not the only party supporting gay marriage equality. This has long been Lib Dem policy. P.S. if you've got time to post on Manchester Confidential can you reply to my 2 emails, thanks.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Duke FameOctober 11th 2011.

Kevin seems to be more about self promtion that doing local council things. It's all very well to have political ambition, the best way to get people ponside is to have at least some sort of grasp of reality.

Kevin PeelOctober 11th 2011.

Liam I haven't received any e-mails from you to which I have not replied. Please send them again and you will receive a prompt response, as all e-mails receive.

Stark RealityOctober 10th 2011.

Aren't you being a bit sharp here Liam S? This is a mainstream site and therefore covers a broad cross-section of Manchester life. 'Citizen Manchester LGBT, The Gay Hour on Radio Manchester' as you helpfully mention is good but a bit niche - typecast so to speak. Maybe this article in a mainstream organ reaches the other parts of the population - not sure anything called the Gay Hour will do that.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Hero
Jordan McDowellOctober 11th 2011.

i.e. me. Not really interested in a Gay Hour. Every hour is Gay hour round mine: all welcome.

Liam StarkeyOctober 10th 2011.

Sorry Kevin. I am just a bit annoyed that you haven't responded to me. You are supposed to me by representative.

Liam StarkeyOctober 11th 2011.

@ Stark Reality... whatever

AnonymousOctober 11th 2011.

Tut, Hissy fits again?

I joke.

JamieOctober 11th 2011.

In which case Anon, why bother?

AnonymousOctober 11th 2011.

The more some gay people protest about this and that and equality rights, gay marriage etc the more they end up becoming parodies of themselves, you cannot convince everyone to like that kind of stuff, most can tolerate it so lets leave it at that? I might not like Manchester City FC but i can tolerate folk who do, i wouldnt try and persuade/convince them that they are wrong for not following United.....Excuse the pun but why does it have to be forced down peoples throats all the time? Why do people have to celebrate being gay all the time? I dont like the idea of gays being persecuted either, but there are laws in place against that anyway, so its not as if theres a massive struggle any more...there will always something to gripe about, fundamentally we live in a christian country and to expect a gay lifetstyle to be fully acceptable to most in mainstream society may leave many feeling uncomfortable not because they are homophobic but its like Islam introducing Sharia law here!! At the end of the day what goes on in the bedroom is private business, im straight, engaged and believe in marriage yes, but do i feel i have to bang on about how great my sex life is and how i can spice it up and talk so openly about my heterosexuality? No Its a private thing not something to be paraded about! Also its because im comfortable about what i am and who i am. I am friends with trannies, gays, straight and ive even heard gay men say how sick of the whole scene they are because when they meet non gay folk they assume automatically they should be mincing, militant and all of the other stereotypes that come with being gay AND hes an air steward!! lol I dont see why Manchester has to have a separate area for them to mix in why havent the disabled got their own quarter for instance? is it because the councillors and their staff need somewhere to camp up perhaps away from us straight weirdos?!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Tom HilesOctober 11th 2011.

I don't understand what 'fundamentally we live in a christian country' is means? And what the implication is meant to be for how gay people are treated?

Hero
Jordan McDowellOctober 11th 2011.

I don't understand what you mean about 'but do i feel have to bang on about how great my sex life is' - I don't believe marriage equality gives allowance for Elton and David to shoot a Paris Hilton Prono. Don't worry Anonymous, a lot of us queers are just as prudish, just ask my Gimp.

AnonymousOctober 12th 2011.

WHATS A PRONO?

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