The plan wasn’t for an equal marriage Bill to be in this Queen’s Speech, so the news that there will not be an equal marriage Bill in the Queen’s Speech is hardly news – even if some on the Tory right (unenlightened wing)* are trying to turn this into a story about how the government is backing down on the issue.
As Lynne Featherstone, Minister for Equalities, puts it on her blog:
In the aftermath of a tough set of election results for both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats – I couldn’t help but notice a few naysayers popping up in the media and uttering dire warnings about a government that needs to concentrate on core issues rather than same sex civil marriage.
For goodness sake – it’s not either / or.
The economy is clearly the No 1 priority – but the Coalition can multi-task!
There will be no u-turn on equal marriage – we are committed as a government to legislate by 2015
In the meantime, remember to respond to the continuing Home Office consultation on the issue (closes 14 June).
* I’ve been pleasantly surprised over the last year or so to discover how many people I would usually think of as being on the ‘Tory right’ actually range from relaxed to enthusiastic about equal marriage. Sometimes there is a libertarian touch to that view, sometimes it is due to having close friends or relations who are in long-term same-sex relationships. Either way, for all that there is still to do, there has been a big shift and it is particularly welcome because long-lasting social change comes when people’s views shift across the political spectrum.