Thursday, 5 April 2012

Ben Bradshaw MP Plays The "Semantic" Card On Marriage Equality

Here's a quote from a Washington Post article from the 30/03/2012 regarding Britain's march towards marriage equality:
“This is more of David Cameron trying to drag the Conservatives kicking and screaming into the modern world,” said Ben Bradshaw, a ranking Labor lawmaker who in 1997 became one of Britain’s first openly gay members of Parliament. “Of course, we’ll support it, but this is pure politics on their part. This isn’t a priority for the gay community, which already won equal rights” with civil partnerships. He added: “We’ve never needed the word ‘marriage,’ and all it’s done now is get a bunch of bishops hot under the collar. We’ve been pragmatic, not making the mistake they have in the U.S., where the gay lobby has banged on about marriage.”
Today on Twitter he's defended these comments by stating that the fight for marriage equality is just semantics. With the interview he played into the hands of homophobes and then he made things worse when on Twitter he used one of their arguments! Marriage equality is not just semantics, but unfortunately Ben Bradshaw follows in the tradition of LGB Labour politicians of not really understanding the legislation they originally supported. Certainly he points out above his understanding that civil partnerships were a cheap ploy to give LGB folks rights without the need to fight with the religious over them. Compromising on freedom isn't really something I'm comfortable with but that's playing politics in a nutshell so he can't really complain when Cameron does it! 

But on the uncomfortable nitty-gritty effects of civil partnerships on transgendered individuals he doesn't seem to have a clue. Civil partnerships certainly haven't given us equal rights for all, just a semblance of them. I won't go into too much detail here as we've got this article to refer to.

And I was a bit surprised to see Mr Bradshaw use the semantics argument for, unless I'm much mistaken, wasn't it he who got rather upset when someone referred to his civil partner as his "boyfriend"? Such a semantic problem, but words don't matter to Mr Bradshaw.

He's even gone on to use that old chestnut of "But isn't *insert issue here*  more important?" that may be, but since when did one need to only fight one battle at a time? It's not hard and we're not playing some sort of game of who cares the most about LGBT rights. It's simply a lack of understanding on his part that concerns me. It was almost, but not quite, forgiveable in 2004. It's absolutely unforgivable now. 

Ben Bradshaw might not think marriage equality is important, but he really needs to get with the programme, stop feeding the bigots quotes and start chipping in with LGBT activists for whom this is just one of many important issues they are working on. But that may be too much to ask given his record, and he doesn't really want to upset any Bishops after all!

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Anonymous said...

Yes, it doesn't help when these idiots come out with these things. It a bit like what Ben Summerskill said back in 2009 that most gays didn't want marriage (as though he had even bothered to ask us!). The idiot is now in the
Daily Mail wit a comment from Colin Hart (C4M) saying 'I welcome the comments by Mr Bradshaw, who has hit the nail on the head when he said that the Government is playing "pure politics" with this issue.

'Civil Partnerships already give the same legal rights to same sex couples that marriage gives to heterosexual couples. This squashes the Government's major argument for forcing through this change.'

Thanks Ben Bradshaw!

Paul Brownsey said...

It's useful rule in all walks of life, that someone who says, "That's just a semantic point," with its implication that they are too cool and/or intellectual to bother with mere semantic points, is usually blinkered and evasive.