George Osborne yesterday said he would consider gay marriage if elected, adding: "David Cameron and I are very happy to consider the case for gay marriage."
George Osborne yesterday said he would be “very happy” to consider same-sex marriage if elected. Speaking to gay rights campaigners who had gathered outside CCHQ to protest the Tory record on gay rights and Chris Grayling’s recent homophobic remarks, the shadow Chancellor claimed the the party had changed, and had “real policies to advance equality”.
A Tory spokesman said Osborne had told campaigner Peter Tatchell that:
“David Cameron and I are very happy to consider the case for gay marriage.”
His remarks cut little ice with the demonstrators, Tatchell saying:
“The Tories are obviously worried that Chris Grayling’s comments in support of homophobic discrimination by B&B owners have undermined their party’s image as being gay-friendly. We only got this meeting with George Osborne because of the planned protest and because of the anti-Tory backlash generated by Mr Grayling’s support for discrimination.”
But Tory claims to have changed were undermined by some of the comments left in response to a story headlined “Cameron pledges ‘heart and soul’ commitment to gay equality” on the grassroots Conservative Home website over the weekend. Examples include:
• Stewart Cowen: “Homosexuals have always been treated with suspicion everywhere. That’s because they engage in unnatural and dangerous sexual acts.”
• Ben Stevenson: “The state should not endorse sexual immorality. What business, therefore, does the state have in “support[ing] gay couples”?”
• bernard Otway: “can,t believe that everyone including call me dave have to Prostrate themselves before a section of the population that is no more than 5%, I am not the ,H, word,just wish they didn,t want to FORCE me by the statute book to support them,my religious convictions infuse my thinking,plus having lived in africa for 28 years,I never once saw a Gay elephant,lion,giraffe ,leopard,cheetah,crocodile,hippo,snake,etc etc etc“
To his credit, editor Tim Montgomerie took action and closed the thread, writing:
“Very disappointing thread. I’m closing it down as strangers are using this thread to, I believe, hurt the Conservative Party.”
Responding to Osborne’s comments, Daryn McCombe, treasurer of LGBT Labour, told Left Foot Forward that “warm words” were cancelled out by the Tories’ recent voting records. He said:
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“I welcome any genuine progress by any party on LGBT rights, but time and again Cameron’s Conservatives’ warm words on LGBT rights are not matched by their votes in Parliament. Cameron led his MPs to vote against lesbian fertility rights and on camera Cameron claims he voted for LGB adoption rights yet he didn’t even vote.
“Meanwhile, Cameron’s allies in Europe continue to vote consistently against all equality! In this context Grayling’s support for discrimination is disappointing but not a surprise and Osborne’s latest platitude will mean little to the LGBT communities who’ve watched the Conservatives do anything on camera, but take no action off camera, to advance LGBT rights.”