I find it blackly ironic that David Cameron is quoted as wanting to use the proposed Tory tax breaks* to ‘recognis[e] marriage, whether between a man and a woman, a woman and a woman or a man and another man‘. Less than two-thirds of Conservative MPs voted in favour of introducing civil partnerships; moreover, for Cameron to use the word marriage is offensive, inaccurate and disingenuous. Same-sex couples are not entitled to marry in Britain, and I doubt that Cameron – who voted against gay adoption and lesbian access to IVF – genuinely believes that they should be.
LGBT couples have a perfect right to describe themselves as married, and when they do, their allies should follow suit (similar point of respect and courtesy as calling transpeople or – in a slightly bizarre comparison, novitiate monks, hello to my dear friend Br Stephen – by their new/preferred names). But Cameron, with his voting record and failure to take action against Chris Grayling, can hardly call himself an ally (after all, even the founder of LGBTory is now telling the electorate to vote some other way).
A friend pointed out to me that not extending marriage tax breaks to civil partners would be illegal; I suspect that it is this, and not a genuine desire to help same-sex partners, which motivates Cameron. After all, if he’s against gay adoption and IVF access, then he’s hardly committed to LGBT families. In fact, according to his own voting record, he’d rather they didn’t exist.
*which has probably only been invented because nobody understands the whole National Insurance tax-on-jobs catastrophuck, and thus they need something else to offer the public.
Dr Sophie Duncan is Fellow in English at Christ Church, University of Oxford. She works regularly as a historical advisor and as a dramaturg for theatre, TV, radio and film. She likes theatre, detective fiction and cocktails.