Congrats to British Prime Minister David Cameron on guiding the Conservatives to an unexpected victory, and who famously said in 2011, despite opposition from many in his party:
“Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us. Society is stronger when we make vows to each other and we support each other. I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a conservative.”
Looking back at the Washington Post‘s coverage at the time, Cameron’s efforts drew fire not just from some fellow Conservatives but from prominent British figures on the gay left:
“This is more of David Cameron trying to drag the Conservatives kicking and screaming into the modern world,” said Ben Bradshaw, a ranking Labor lawmaker who in 1997 became one of Britain’s first openly gay members of Parliament. “Of course, we’ll support it, but this is pure politics on their part. This isn’t a priority for the gay community, which already won equal rights” with civil partnerships.
He added: “We’ve never needed the word ‘marriage,’ and all it’s done now is get a bunch of bishops hot under the collar. We’ve been pragmatic, not making the mistake they have in the U.S., where the gay lobby has banged on about marriage.”
Civil marriage for same-sex couples became legal in England, Wales and Scotland in 2014 (but not in Northern Ireland).
More. George Will, one of America’s most important conservative (with a libertarian bent) columnists, takes a Cameron-like position when he calls Mike Huckabee’s crusade against same-sex marriage “appalling.” Specifically Huckabee argues that states have the right to nullify rulings by federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
Furthermore. Via David Frum at The Atlantic: What Republicans Can Learn From British Conservatives:
Their American detractors may grumble, but these other conservatives [center-right parties in the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand] are indeed “real conservatives” … After coming to power in 2010, the Cameron government cut personal and corporate income taxes. It imposed tough new work requirements on physically capable welfare recipients. Government spending as a share of GDP will decline to pre-2008 levels next year. Thanks to Cameron’s reforming education minister, Michael Gove, more than 3,300 charter schools (“academies,” as the British call them) are raising performance standards in some of Britain’s toughest neighborhoods—a 15-fold increase since 2010. Under the prime minister’s leadership, the post office was privatized.
All have accepted gay equality, with Australia on the verge of a parliamentary vote to permit same-sex marriage. They are parties comfortable with racial inclusion and competitive with ethnic-minority voters….
Sounds like the key to electoral success.