13 May 2015, The Tablet

Incoming equalities minister changes mind over gay marriage

The new minister for equalities, who voted against gay marriage in 2013, has changed her mind and says she now fully supports its legalisation.

Caroline Dinenage, MP for Gosport, who attended a Catholic school, voted against the legalisation of same sex marriage at its second reading in July 2013 and was absent for the Third Reading.

At the time she said in a letter to a reader of the gay rights website Pink News that canon law states “that marriage is in its nature a union of ‘one man and one woman’.”

The state had no right to redefine the meaning of marriage, she added.

But following her appointment yesterday she said in a statement that she now supports the legalisation of gay marriage and is “fully committed to advancing the cause of LGBT equality”.

Part of this commitment would involve tackling homophobic bullying in schools and introducing a law to posthumously pardon people such as computer scientist Alan Turing, who was criminalised because of their sexuality.

“I’ll be meeting with LGBT organisations such as Stonewall as soon as possible to discuss this Government’s priorities for this parliament,” she added.

Today she reiterated her position in a message on Twitter.

Ms Dinenage attended Oaklands Catholic School, a comprehensive in Hampshire that also educated armed forces minister Penny Mordaunt and Labour former front-bencher Jon Cruddas.

Ms Dinenage will report in her role to the Education Minister, Nicky Morgan, an Evangelical Christian, who also voted against gay marriage shortly before her appointment as Minister for Women and Equalities in April 2014. As a result David Cameron passed the equalities aspect of her brief to then-culture secretary Sajid Javid and gave responsibility for implementing gay marriage legislation to a junior minister, Nick Boyles, who is in a civil partnership. The equalities brief was later re-added to Ms Morgan’s role and she has subsequently said that she would now vote in favour of gay marriage.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme in October: “I wish that [constituents] had come forward earlier to say: ‘Actually, we’d like you to support it.’”

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