I feel obliged to give me view on this. As the person who was more interested in cuts, Laws is a loss to the coalition – and let’s be frank, Laws was a more serious Treasury minister than Osborne, and arguably a more serious politician than Cameron too. Of course all ministers have to meet the law with regard to expenses, and I don’t believe Laws’ protestations that even his close family don’t know his sexual proclivities.
I think he was trying to claim victim status to cover up his booboo on expenses. But on the specific issue of whether a “gay partner” is a spouse – no, a gay partner is not a spouse. Sleeping with your same-sex landlord does not make that landlord a spouse. I suppose Laws is hoist with his own petard – he has never spoken against all this gay-friendly legislation. But let’s be clear: marriage is marriage, and nothing that is not marriage is marriage. If he had opposed attempts to define gay partners as spouses, I would accept Laws was in the right on this issue, but he didn’t.
I do feel sorry for him on the privacy issue though. We are moving increasingly towards a state where everyone’s sexual proclivities will be listed in a government database. How can you monitor homophobia if you don’t know who is and is not attracted to the same sex? There was that old folks’ home in the south where the residents were required to state their sexual inclinations. We must resist this. People ought to have the right to privacy – and Laws was right on this one point – and so a relationship that falls short of marriage is simply not something that should be required to be reported to the authorities for any purpose.
In many cases, individual people don’t know the full boundaries of their own sexuality and so could not give an honest answer to the question anyway. I disagree with a sexualised society where all this information is constantly in the public domain. Why not require decorum from everyone? And in fact Laws did conduct himself with decorum – in contradistinction to the vast majority of “gay” men in the public eye.