Questions over new UK equalities minister’s gay voting record

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Conservative MP for Basingstoke Maria Miller, who was appointed yesterday by David Cameron as culture secretary and has direct responsibility for the newly moved Government Equalities Office (GEO), is under the spotlight after a number of activists noted her questionable voting record on LGBT equality.

According to the politics website, since becoming an MP, Mrs Miller has either voted against or been absent from all major LGBT rights votes in the House of Commons.

Labour MP Chris Bryant tweeted on Tuesday evening: “Maria Miller is now in charge of the equalities unit consultation on equal marriage. She voted [against] gay adoption”.

There have been three votes in parliament of significance to the LGBT community since Mrs Miller entered the Commons in 2005.

She was absent from the vote on the Equality Act of 2007, and she voted against allowing same-sex couples access to fertility treatment in 2008.

However, in May of this year she urged Prime Minister David Cameron not to succumb to pressure from some on the right-wing of the Conservative Party, but to continue with the joint-coalition agreement to introduce same-sex marriage by 2015.

Mark Pack, blogger of the LibDemVoice website, wrote that it is important to remember that there was equal displeasure by others when Home Secretary Theresa May was initially given responsibility for the GEO in May 2010.

Whilst also having a questionable LGBT voting record, Mrs May subsequently demonstrated her commitment to supporting gay rights by recording an Out4Marriage video earlier this year.  

In other reshuffle developments concerning gay parliamentarians, Grantham and Stamford MP Nick Boles has been promoted to the position of planning minister, and Reigate MP Crispin Blunt is returning to the backbenches after losing his job as prison minister.

In May of this year, Mr Blunt joined the likes of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Labour MP Andy Burnham in recording a video for the Out4Marriage campaign.

In his video message, he said: “If like me you were born in 1960, the pace of change around all the equality issues over the last decade or so has been incredibly impressive, and what it means is that issues like same-sex marriage and a lack of access to it now just seem like the anomalies that simply leave those remaining examples of inequality, that everyone now really accepts is unacceptable.”

Mr Blunt came out as gay in 2010, when he separated from his wife of 20 years.