|Is Labour running away from its responsibility?|
It was with hope that I opened the conference brief this morning. But the shock that greeted me was heart rending. Like putting a knife through your own heart, I read with amazing and utter disgust how delegates and the powerful Trade Unions has completely ignored the one thing that could be very useful in repositioning the party – Marriage Equality.
In 2005, Labour made a landmark when it brought in the Civil Partnership for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgendered (LGBT) people. It was a turning point, not just for its uniqueness, but for the mere and simple fact that it acknowledged some rights of a sect of people to have their own lives and live it like their equal members of the society. However, that unique act was one step short of completion.
Good enough as it was welcomed, LGBT people has since then called for the completion of the work Labour started. Appallingly, Labour failed to achieve that before the tide turned.
At the first conference since in opposition, one would have expected the party to show ownership and courage and press forward with support especially when you think that the whole five leadership contestant endorsed and supported marriage equality. But no, that is not the case.
The result from the Priorities Balloting, a system through which Constituency Labour Party (CLPs) delegates, Trade Unions and other affiliated organisations vote for issues for debating and decision at the conference shows that marriage equality came a pitiful 13th on the ‘priority’; so much for equality.
Where does this leave Labour in the game of upholding equality? Why has Labour allowed the Liberal Democrats to beat her to it (again?). How can a party than prides itself on fairness do such?
This will be a challenge for Ed Miliband to show LGBT people both within and outside the party that he truly and totally is not playing politics when he promised. We are watching. And will surely shout out loud if he betrays on this.