Some people may now be puzzled as to why the question of allowing gays to use the trappings of marriage has suddenly become so all-consuming.

After all the matter was not a priority for the government some months back, but now as it gets pushed along it is even beginning to throw extra strains on the already creaking church.

[adsenseyu1]The UKIP leader Nigel Farage has also asked this question and has come to an interesting conclusion.

As he says in the Express comment only 14% of people thought this was a priority issue, most people thought there were other more pressing matters.

But Nigel Farage’s meeting with the gay campaigner Peter Tatchell put the whole thing in context.

Peter Tatchell has a case going through the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which looks very much odds on to succeed. This says Mr Farage, will put the Prime Minister, David Cameron, in a bit of political corner.

Should the case win before the UK changes the law the PM will look weak if forced to change the law after such a ruling. And he cannot be seen not to obey the ruling.

Therefore the best route is to make the case for the law to be changed and then get it done quickly so that the problem effectively goes away.

As Nigel Farage puts it “The Tatchell express has been spotted coming down the tracks and Cameron has decided to get out of its way.”

But then, as Mr Farage points out, “That he is jumping into the path of another train composed of his own core support means nothing to him.”

The crux of the matter is that the ruling of the ECHR is binding on the UK, whatever our politicians vote in the Palace of Westminster. Our elected representatives have no say.

This is not about whether it is right if gay marriages happen. It is whether UK politicians can decide the priorities for changes to UK legislation. What comes first to most people, not who can manipulate things for minority interests? Just consider, does the lack of gay marriages right now cause starvation, torture or financial loss? Or is it just a pride thing to beat us over the head with?


Now, as many will know (and some will have been fuming up to this point because I had not mentioned it), the ECHR is not a part of the European Union. It is a separate entity and should not be confused with the highest court of the EU, the European Court of Justice.

But it is still an external power that is having an inordinate influence on the workings of the UK. So UKIP is right to question this.

You can imagine the horrors the ECHR was set up to deal with in 1959. The memories of the recent war as well as those brought about by the Cold War would have made the court seem like a necessity.

But imagine if the ECHR did not exist today and someone dreamt it up. Would it then be put in place? As an entity external to the EU it would be very improbable. One wonders whether if, in that context, the ECHR still has a mandate.

Nigel Farage MEP by Euro Realist Newsletter

Nigel Farage MEP by Euro Realist Newsletter

Image by Euro Realist Newsletter ( [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons