No liberal believes in absolute freedom. We restrict freedom of speech by outlawing incitement to violence or racial hatred, and we restrict freedom of movement by putting in place border controls. Liberals are not anarchists: they believe in the need for some kind of State structure to protect life and liberty.
While it may be more comforting to consider these men but lone wolves acting upon their own deranged ideas, that no longer seems to be the case. In this age of social media and easily accessible information in which we live, it is no longer necessary for contact to be made for a message to be passed on.
The latest manifestation of this campaign centres on the veil, or niqab, worn by a minority of Muslim women in Britain but recently inflated to assume the status of a threat to society. It is a campaign which has drawn support from both right and left of the mainstream political spectrum and commentariat, justified on the basis of women's rights, security, and/or progress.
The moment Clegg got into bed with Cameron and co. was the moment he relinquished all rights to that kind of balanced assessment. It should never have happened; simple as. A token voting system referendum and a few quid added to a tax threshold doesn't make up for the fact he has lost the student vote for his party.
I recently wrote on this site that, in reference to the recently published photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, pregnant and on holiday, that '...our morbid fascination with this bizarre, ordinary family invests them with a sort of inverted dignity just by them doing and saying nothing of real consequence.' I didn't expect such a vivid illustration to present itself so soon.
Sexual orientation is, I think, a complex thing and not reducible to the facile and outdated categories of nature or nurture. Likewise, rights can be complex. But the case here is simple, whether that way by chance or choice, gays and lesbians deserve the right to marry. Granting that right in the UK is a good choice, let's make it now.