While awaiting my exciting date with passport office bureaucracy today, I saw a BBC News Channel broadcast (about 1pm). I have to admit, I wasn’t quite paying as much attention as I’d like. They were discussing the political fallout for the Tories of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
And they spoke to a Tory MP. I couldn’t work out who it was (thanks awful BBC News Channel subtitles) but he moaned about how he’d much rather be voting on economic matters (because, you know, doing two things at the same time is apparently impossible for politicians). And he repeated the old canard about how it wasn’t in any party’s manifesto. Even though it was in the Tory manifesto. And instead of reporting that this is in fact false, the BBC just let it slip on by. High-quality journalism, folks.
The fact that marriage equality was in the Conservative manifesto rather puts a stopper on right-wing moaning about the topic. Like, for instance, the piece on the front page of today’s Times which reports that “Tory members are deserting in droves as David Cameron’s support for gay marriage threatens his authority over an increasingly restive party”.
Well, if they had such objections to gay marriage, why are they supporting a party that had it in their manifesto?
This fact is commonly overlooked in the debate over marriage equality. Tory MPs and their right-wing base babble on about how it wasn’t in the manifesto. Even though it was. And the media (my own report for Wikinews excepted) don’t point out this factual inaccuracy on the part of the opponents. If Conservative activists have such a big problem with gay marriage to the point of it being a deal-breaker (The Times reports they are “resigning or refusing to renew their membership in large numbers”), one feels like asking them why exactly they supported the Conservatives at the last election, given that considering the case for upgrading civil partnerships to marriage was in the Tory manifesto.
It’d be nice if the opponents of gay marriage showed at least a faint glimmer of intellectual honesty, even if they lack the basic decency and humanity to support equal rights for gay people. And it’d be quite nice if journalists were to call out this kind of deception as the utter horseshit it is. I know I will be disappointed on both fronts.