James Forsyth

Compassionate conservatism the key to gay marriage pledge

Compassionate conservatism the key to gay marriage pledge
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When David Cameron spoke to the Carlton Club political dinner on Thursday night, he stressed that the Conservatives must not subcontract out compassion to their coalition partners. The Prime Minister’s desire to hold this ground can be seen at the speed with which Downing Street has briefed out that it was Cameron’s personal commitment that was key to the coalition’s decision to consult on how to introduce gay marriage. The message is clear, this isn’t just a bauble for the Lib Dems for the opening day of their conference.

Personally, I think that the move on gay marriage is a welcome one. (Although, the legislation must ensure that no religious denomination can be compelled to marry gay people against its wishes) I’ve always taken David Brooks’ view that ‘The conservative course is not to banish gay people from making such commitments. It is to expect that they make such commitments. We shouldn't just allow gay marriage. We should insist on gay marriage.’ Also once gay civil marriage has been legalised, the government can remove civil partnerships which do create some anomalies.