The Anglo File

Conservative MPs Think Brits Don’t Care About Same-Sex Marriage. Do They?

It was last October that Prime Minister David Cameron (right) made his first big push for same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom.

“Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment,” he said in a press conference. “Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.”

Liberal Democrats have been in strong support of same-sex marriage for a while but some members of the Cameron’s Conservative party are, how shall we say, less than pleased with his stance.

On Tuesday, Conservative MP David Burrowes told The Independent:

“Many colleagues are worried that it would fundamentally affect how marriage between a man and woman has historically been viewed in this country. There are strong doubts that we need to go down this path. It would open up a can of worms and a legal minefield about freedom, religion and equalities legislation.

“Gay marriage is a debate we don’t need to have at this stage. It is not an issue people are hammering us on the doorstep to do something about. It is important that there is a reasoned debate around how we view marriage rather than about homosexual rights. It may open up old wounds and put people into the trenches; no one wants that.”

Cameron’s push for same-sex marriage is part of his agenda to bring the Tories into the 21st century (or at least the late 20th century), but Burrowes demurs. “There are many other ways that the Conservatives can show we are a modern party—not least our social justice agenda. This is too important an issue to decide in terms of where it positions our party.”

Unlike the U.S.  where civil unions, domestic partnerships and state-sanctioned gay marriages don’t provide the same protections heterosexual marriage does—Britain’s Civil Partnership Act of 2004 gave LGBT couples all of the same rights as their straight counterparts, from parenting and adoption to inheritance and job benefits.

So the fight for marriage equality in the UK is a social-justice issue, Mr. Burrowes.

But maybe Cameron is advancing a cause no one’s worked up about it. That’s how Burrows sees it: “It is not an issue people are hammering us on the doorstep to do something about,” he told The Independent.

Is that true, UK queers? Are you happy with the current state of affairs or is it a question of separate but equal. Share your views in the comments, chaps!

Image via  DFID – UK Department for International Development