“I agree with David Cameron.”
It’s not a sentence that comes easily to Labour supporters, but in the coming months, on one particular issue, it’s one that I’m going to have to familiarise myself with.
David Cameron is right on Gay Marriage. Completely right. Unequivocally right.
Bringing equality to the institution of marriage is not only the morally right thing to do (and places Cameron on the right side of history on this issue), he’s also right that marriage in churches should be legal if the church itself wishes to conduct same-sex marriages. No-one should (or could) be forced to conduct a marriage they are against, but at the same time, religious same sex marriages should be allowed if some churches/religions are enlightened enough to conduct them. It’s a sensible policy all round, and also – pleasingly – is the right thing to do.
He deserves praise and cross party support for that, which I’m sure he’ll receive.
Of course it would be all too easy to make light of Cameron’s correctness on this score – to say that “even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day”. We could spend hours listing all of the mistakes he has made, and all of the odious, backwards and, yes, homophobic statements that some Tories have come out with. And that would be diverting, and point scoring and in some ways revealing.
But it would also be completely unfair.
Similarly, it would be easy too to argue that Cameron is taking such a stand on gay marriage because of potential electoral benefits. Indeed his key strategist (and sometime Chancellor) has made just that argument. Or we could argue that Cameron is picking a fight with his party to look more moderate, although surely there are dozens of issues that he could have chosen for such a task (and I remain unconvinced that taking such a stance on equal marriage will materially change the Tory vote at the next election).
Instead, this looks like something that Cameron sincerely wants to do. And something which he is making a brave and considered stand on.
More than that, it seems to be a conviction of his that it needs to be done. From a man who all too often seems to blow in the wind where conviction is concerned, this seems more solid and deeper rooted than we’ve come to expect from the Prime Minister. He is standing up to those who argue that some people have no right to take part in the institution of marriage because of their sexuality. And although his support for equal marriage builds on a decade of gay rights legislation from Labour, that should not diminish the power of what he is doing. There is nothing wrong with building on the achievements of others. All politicians have stood on the shoulders of giants at one point or another.
He is doing, unequivocally, the right thing.
That’s not something Labour people say very often about Tory politicians, never mind Tory Prime Ministers. But in this case it is unquestionably deserved.
Well done Prime Minister. On this issue, history will judge you favourably, and rightly so.