Mostly it is very dull but then articles in the Evening Standard usually are. He does, however, give his own version of what pushed David Cameron into this politically uncertain course of action:
Back to Westminster and the apparent conversion of the PM, the Chancellor and the Home Secretary. In late 2010, continues Tatchell, he arranged for four same-sex couples and four straight couples to file applications at local registry offices for, respectively, civil marriage and civil partnership licences. All were refused, of course. In February 2011, Tatchell and human rights lawyer Robert Wintemute of King’s College London applied to the European Court of Human Rights to strike down the bans that stymied those eight couples, and told the government that, sooner or later, it would have to go to Strasbourg to defend the existing law. Meanwhile, lobbying harder than ever, Tatchell wrote a “briefing paper” extolling gay marriage as a natural extension of the Conservative Party’s traditional support for the existing institution of marriage — and, with a fair amount of chutzpah, circulated it widely within Tory circles.So there we are, it was the ECHR what done it. Well, up to a point because I do not think this will be resolved even when the legislation is passed as it almost certainly will be, eventually and probably with some amendments. For who can define marriage to the complete satisfaction of all?
“That’s when things started to happen,” he says. “Astonishingly, within three months of our application to the European Court, the Government announced that it was going to consult on legalising gay marriage. They knew that there was no argument they could use in Strasbourg that would be anything other than bigoted and intolerant. I think they realised the game was up, and decided it was better to lead on the issue and get the kudos of enacting liberal reform than be dragged through the courts. It may have been a pure coincidence, but it does strike me as very closely mirroring the pattern of events that I set in place.”