Political and social change don’t always march in lock step together

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Conservative Party Chairman Francis Maude outlines the importance of pro gay politics.

Sometimes social change walks faster than political change and sometimes the parties and if I may say, the Conservatives in particular have to move faster to catch up with the social change.

One of the things in which I am most proud of this country is not its tolerance, which I always think of as a passive virtue, but that positive virtue of respect, respect for each and every one of us whatever our sexuality whatever our lives are.

A few years ago it would have seemed strange to see a the Chairman of the Conservative Party sharing a platform with representatives of the other main parties at the launch of a gay news magazine. Yet at the launch of the Pink News last month, there were colleagues from all sides of the House of Commons celebrating together.

In the past few years, there have been legislative changes that have fundamentally altered the position of gay people within Britain, I’m pleased that I have played some small part in this change.

The other day, I had an experience that brought home the value of these changes. I was having dinner with a friend and his partner and they were explaining the process they were going through to jointly adopt their first child. I felt some sense of pleasure that I had been one of those members of Parliament that had voted for the ability for same sex couples to jointly adopt children.

The fact is that all of these changes, the Civil Partnership Act, the ability to adopt is all about removing difference and creating a wider mainstream in which we all live, we all co-exist in respect for each other, in understanding each other and that makes for a better Britain.

Today, no mainstream political parties advocate anti-gay polices, I hope they never will.

This article first appeared in the August issue of The Pink News which is out now