Nick Herbert Hub

Tories Launch 'Freedom To Marry,' Say 'Marriage Should Be Open To All'

UnionjackJust a few days after British PM David Cameron said "I don't want gay people to be excluded from a great institution [of marriage]," 19 equalliy powerful, equally conservative politicians, including London Mayor Boris Johnson, Education Secretary Michael Gove and Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt, who is an evangelical christian, joined Cameron in the fight for equality by forming a new coalition, "Freedom to Marry."

In a letter published in the Sunday Telegraph, the group wrote, "Marriage should be open to all, regardless of sexuality."

“We recognize that civil partnerships were an important step forward in giving legal recognition to same sex couples. But civil partnerships are not marriages, which express a particular and universally understood commitment," said the Tory leaders.

Nick Herbert, the openly gay former police minister who brought the group together, also penned his own op-ed today saying his party must learn from the American Republicans: alienating LGBT people and their allies brings nothing but electoral gloom.

As the Republicans found in the recent presidential elections, there is no mileage in alienating the new generation of voters or what is, even in the United States, a growing majority of public opinion. President Obama endorsed gay marriage and was re-elected. So, in London, was Boris Johnson.

Winning politicians who have built the broad base of voter support that is needed to gain office have got themselves on the right side of this argument. It is not gay marriage which will cost Conservatives votes: it is failing to win the common ground.

Cameron said the legislation will be introduced in 2013, meaning the England may see same-sex marriages by 2014.

This British Freedom to Marry movement comes after it was reported last September that Tories were meeting with leaders from the States' Freedom to Marry coalition.

British MP 'Fed Up' With Civil Partnerships: 'Since When Was Equality Not A Priority?'

NickHerbertNick Herbert, the British Minister of State for Police and Criminal Justice, sat down with the Evening Standard this week to voice his frustration over arguments that civil partnerships for same-sex couples are just as good as marriages.

"[I'm] getting rather fed up with people metaphorically jabbing a finger into my chest and saying I should put up with a civil partnership," said Herbert, a gay man who had a civil partnership ceremony in 2009.

“How would they like it if I jabbed a finger into their chests and said they should put up with a civil partnership instead of their marriage?"

He went on, "In my view it’s not acceptable to say to a group in society, ‘You should put up with something that is a second order institution to something that everybody else is entitled to, because we say so’."

“I think this is about nothing more or less than a fundamental issue of equality.”
As in the States, many British politicians think the government should focus on rebuilding the economy and other kitchen table issues, but Herbert marriage can and should share the stage with other pressing matters.

“It has been suggested that this issue is not a priority," he told the paper. "Since when was equality not a priority? Ensuring that people are treated equally without fear of discrimination should always be a priority. That’s why I think this proposal matters.”

Parliament has been debating gay marriage all year, with one of the most vocal supporters being Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, who described marriage equality as a "conservative" issue.

"Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other," Cameron said last year. "I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.”

That is the very same argument some conservatives here in the States are trying to make.

London Pride Parade's Got A Million Of 'Em


Image from here.

Herbertfeatherstone London Pride attracted about a million people Saturday to watch around 150 floats make their way from Baker Street to Trafalgar Square. Pro-gay Christian groups were among them, as were Conservative MP Nick Herbert and Liberal Democrat Equality Minister Lynne Featherstone, the latter of whom recently suggested the UK is on the verge of religious unions that would resemble marriage.

Herbert addressed the need for gay representation in government:

"I'm a gay man, I'm an out politician and I'm a member of parliament. In the last parliament, we had just a handful of out gay MPs. Now we have 15 out gay MPs who are mostly Conservatives. We also have two lesbians but we need to make sure there are more. Next week, a child will be bullied in school because he or she is gay. Next week, a player will be abused from the terraces because he or she is gay. Next week, a person will be a victim of a hate attack because he or she is gay. We cannot allow that to go on."

Lesbian MP Angela Eagle was the most senior Labour representative, but she did not speak.

Olympic-rainbow-flag- Out Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas (who won't be playing for a while due to a weekend injury) encouraged attendees to wear "with pride" the new gay-pride pin created by the organizing committee of the 2012 Olympics. It looks a bit like something alarming is eating a rainbow flag, but anything for LGBT visibility. Get yours today.

A personal account of London Pride is here.

News: Atlanta, John Terry, Dublin, Stephen Baldwin, Tim Tebow

 road DC Agenda: HRC's Solmonese "takes it on the chin" at LGBT leadership town hall.

Leto   roadJared Leto strips down for concert.

 roadRestore Stephen Baldwin's bank account in the name of Jesus!

 roadFrontline exposé: The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan. "It’s an ancient practice, secretly revived--young boys sold by families to ‘entertain’ wealthy merchants and warlords. An undercover investigation into this illicit sex trade..."

 roadMarriage tour: Gay couple to wed in every state they can.

 roadNick Herbert, the UK shadow environment secretary, to try to persuade the Polish government to change its anti-gay views.

 roadHate group MassResistance is freaking out over all the pro-gay politicians in the Massachusetts governor race: "Social conservatives, who typically identify more closely with Republican candidates in Massachusetts, are conflicted this year, with a gubernatorial race that features three major candidates – a Democrat, a Republican and an Independent – who agree on the validity of gay marriage and the right of pregnant women to choose whether to have an abortion."

 roadGlee planning Britney Spears episode?

Lauper   roadCyndi Lauper's Memphis Blues. The art direction's a bit of a mess but I bet the music's good.

 roadOhio GOP thinks female congresswoman belongs back in the kitchen.

 roadGay Deputy Campaign Manager for Obama Steve Hildebrand joins Faith in America: “This work is what is going to have an impact. That is where I want to put significant energy to achieve equality. This organization is doing the best work with changing the hearts and minds of Americans.”

 roadU.S. military launches mysterious unmanned space shuttle.

 roadTim Tebow drafted by Denver Broncos. Now he can hang out with Brady Quinn and visit Focus on the Family (in Colorado Springs) any time he wants.

 roadWATCH: New Twilight: Eclipse movie trailer.

Fenuxe  roadAtlanta gets new glossy gay mag, Fenuxe.

 roadSeparate New York Fashion Week for menswear considered: "Menswear is regularly shown in the Big Apple during the fashion weeks held in September and February, and mixed in with the numerous womenswear shows. But menswear designers say that debuting their collections in September--three months after Milan and Paris hold their Men's Fashion Weeks--is bad for business."

 roadLesbians make UK birth certificate history.

 road23-year-old man charged with murder of British diplomat John Terry in Jamaica: "Jamaican Assistant Police Commissioner Les Green identified the suspect as Richard Ewan, a security guard from Montego Bay. Mr Green said Ewan knew Mr Terry but declined to state the nature of their relationship. Mr Terry was found beaten and strangled at his home in northwestern Jamaica in early September. His body was discovered, wrapped in a sheet, by his gardener, with a handwritten note on his body describing him as a 'batty man', local slang for a homosexual."

 roadThe George, Dublin's best known gay bar, turns 25.

 roadSF-area men get six months for anti-gay BB gun attack.

Conservative British MP to Urge Gay Inclusion, Tolerance at Forum with Andrew Sullivan and Maggie Gallagher has previewed what Tory MP Nick Herbert will say today at a Cato Institute forum on Conservatives and gays in which blogger Andrew Sullivan and National Organization for Marriage President Maggie Gallagher will also participate.

Herbert Herbert will slam the mistakes made by Tories in failing to be inclusive of gays.

Herbert will say, according to the website: "I am not here to preach or to interfere in your affairs. I am here neither to tea party nor to go clubbing. But I can tell you what happens to a party when it closes the door to sections of our society and is reduced to its core vote. It's no fun being in opposition for thirteen years. I'm one of two Conservative MPs who have taken out a civil partnership – thanks to legislation which – to their credit – the current Labour government introduced. And our party leader, David Cameron, has publicly apologised for Section 28, legislation introduced by a previous Conservative government which effectively prohibited the teaching of the validity of gay relationships in schools, a law which was deeply unpopular not just amongst gay people, but with those who saw it as a divisive and unpleasant sign of state intolerance. We needed to say sorry for a stance that was wrong. The truth is that there are millions of people who we drove away but who share our values and want to join us."

Herbert made similar remarks on a BBC program yesterday.

In related news, Maggie Gallagher was against federal interference in issues related to sexuality before she was for it.


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