New Tory Minister for Women opposes right of lesbians to marry

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David Cameron’s new Minister for Women, Tory MP Nicky Morgan voted against same-sex marriage by stating “marriage is between a man and a woman.”

In a government reshuffle on Wednesday, sparked by the resignation of Maria Miller, Ms Morgan, MP for Loughborough, was appointed Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Minister for Women.

Conservative MP Sajid Javid, the new Culture Secretary, has also replaced Maria Miller as the most senior minister responsible for equalities in the UK Government.

It means for the first time the equalities brief for all is held at Secretary of State level.

Mr Javid, MP for Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, was elected to Parliament in May 2010. He voted in favour of the same-sex marriage act for England and Wales.

However, Ms Morgan, also elected to Parliament in 2010, voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act at second and third reading last year.

Benjamin Cohen the Publisher of said: “It is unfortunate that the new Minister for Women opposes the rights of some women, lesbians, to marry. I hope that in her new role, Nicky Morgan will represent all women regardless of the gender of the person they love.”

After the second vote in February 2013 she said: “This was totally a free vote, it was an issue of conscience and I had no pressure put on me from anyone higher in the Conservative Party.

“As an issue, this generated more response from my constituency than I have had before, the Loughborough office received more calls, visits and letters on this subject than we have ever seen before.

“On the day of the vote, I had 285 people who had written to me asking me to vote against it and just 24 asking me to vote for it.

“At that point, it was clear to me that people in my constituency wanted me to vote against it.

“There were also three main reasons of my own that I voted against it.

“First, this is a very big social change. There have been plenty of little changes down the years but what’s never been changed is that the fact that marriage is between a man and a woman.

“I think that was one of the issues people, especially those who asked me to vote against, found hardest to accept and it also tied in with my own Christian faith too.

“I totally support civil partnerships and that same-sex relationships are recognised in law. But marriage, to me, is between a man and a woman.

“The second reason is that people have become a bit cynical about consultations about policy changes at national and local government level .

“And in this case, I felt the question was not whether the change should be made, but how it should be made and I think we forgot that step of asking if it should be made.

“And the third reason was legal aspects of the bill. For instance, if we have gay marriage, should civil partnerships now also be opened up to heterosexual couples too? Or should we just get rid of civil partnerships altogether?

“Also, if same-sex marriages are to be dissolved, will that be different to heterosexual partnerships ending?

“I know there are a lot of worries for people like teachers and others in public sector roles and these are things I still feel need to be ironed out as the bill goes through Parliament.

“I appreciate that there will be people in my constituency who will be unhappy with how I voted and I wish many of them had contacted me earlier and given me a clearer picture of what people thought.

“A lot of people left it until the day, or the day after, the vote to tell me they supported it.

“I would say to them, there is still a long way to for this bill to go, it has to go to House of Lords, for example, and there is still time for people to let me know if they are pro-change.

“But at the end of the day, it was a free vote, I have to think about the views of the majority of my constituents and my own personal views and I think we could have handled the whole thing differently and taken more time to have more of a public debate about it instead of just ploughing on.”

Mrs Miller, former culture secretary, resigned from government this morning following sustained political and media criticism for over claiming on expenses.

The Basingstoke MP was the minister responsible for steering same-sex marriage through the House of Commons last year.