We’ve come to expect this sort of thing from the Tories, despite the impressive determination of David Cameron to pass gay marriage equality during his premiership.
But this is depressing, coming from Labour:
After a “passionate” meeting of the Shadow Cabinet yesterday, it seems likely that Labour will not impose a three-line whip on equal marriage proposals, allowing MPs to vote on the basis of conscience.
It represents a backtrack on the part of the Labour leadership, which recently made it clear such a whip was “highly likely”.
Apparently the U-turn was not proposed by members of the Shadow Cabinet on a matter of principle, but largely because three shadow ministers – including Stephen Timms and Gavin Shuker - had threatened to resign. Three Shadow Cabinet ministers – Angela Eagle, Stephen Twigg (both gay) and deputy leader Harriet Harman had argued passionately in favour of maintaining the line.
Under Tony Blair – a stronger leader, and just as devout a Christian – the civil partnerships legislation was whipped, as was the rest of Labour’s pro-equality programme.
Stephen Timms (Shadow Employment) and Gavin Shuker (Shadow Water & Waste) are both likely to be motivated by their own interpretation of Christianity to oppose equality for their fellow citizens.
Timms, as is well known, was stabbed by a follower of Anwar Al Awlaki and nearly killed. However, bizarrely, he continues to work with and support Islamist institutions aligned with Al Awlaki, which of course promote horrific anti-gay hate preachers.
Gavin Shuker, I know nothing about. Wikipedia, however, provides the following gem:
Shuker was one of three MPs who signed a letter sent to the Advertising Standards Authority asking it to reverse its decision to stop the Christian group “Healing on the Streets of Bath” from making explicit claims that prayer can heal. The letter called for the ASA to provide indisputable scientific evidence that such healing did not work.
Who is the third Labour bigot?
This article lists the following additional anti-gay Labour MPs:
- Jim Dobbin
- Joe Benton
- Mary Glindon
- Brian Donohoe
- Paul Murphy
- Stephen Pound
- Roger Godsiff