Telegraph (UK) 10 May 2012
Strictly speaking, it ought not to matter what Barack Obama thinks about gay marriage. The American president doesn’t have the power to tell registrars whom they should categorise as husband or wife. Half a dozen American states have gone ahead and legalised gay marriage, and more may do so. But when the president announced this week that he is now in favour of same-sex marriage, it wasn’t about changing the law. It was all about the culture wars that define and electrify American politics, fire up voters and talk-radio shows, and have had, until recently, no real equivalent in Britain.
While gay marriage was being endorsed in the White House, it was being quietly shelved in Westminster. There was no mention of it in the Queen’s Speech; nor is there likely to be in future. Officially, the consultation is still ongoing, and the Prime Minister is enthusiastically in favour. But he has been told by his ministers and MPs that the effect on party morale has been devastating. Not so much because they care about a largely irrelevant piece of legislation that would change almost nothing in a country where gay weddings are already commonplace. The Tory troops simply feel this is an insult too far