It still rankles me that after we introduced civil partnerships many in the Labour Party sat back and thought ‘job done’ on gay rights.
It rankles even more that it will probably be the Coalition that will legislate to introduce it and not Labour, given our relative record of gay rights.
But it amuses me that Cameron’s shallow ‘modernisation’ of the Tory Party will be so quickly exposed when over 100 Tory MPs vote against legislation to introduce gay marriage.
It’s one thing to talk about modernisation, but when it actually comes to a vote it seems many, indeed over a third of the entire Parliamentary Conservative Party, are quite happy to deny to gay people what everyone else views as a standard right.
Still, credit where it’s due must be given and I still wholeheartedly support Cameron and his Coalition for moving on the issue. But the idea that he properly modernised his party has always been nonsense and this will merely expose it.
Yes, Cameron apologised for Section 28, even with the lamest of excuses (it was an ‘emotional issue‘ ! Honestly!), but his own MPs stayed quiet because they knew he had to do it to help win them an election, which he then failed to do. I’d love to know how many would be happy to bring it back.
Many more potential rebels will again vote with the government on the issue despite their personal feelings because they understand how bad it looks for the Tory Party in particular to vote against gay marriage.
So it may be that even with over a hundred rebels the true number of Tory MPs who oppose gay marriage is much higher.
Thankfully any such legislation will still easily get through Parliament through the support of the Labour Party, but it will diminish the victory for Cameron somewhat if he can only get gay marriage through the commons with the support of the Labour Party and in the teeth of opposition from many of his own MPs.