Tory minister: I may be a gay icon over equal marriage but I’m not gay

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The Leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Stowell of Beeston, says she’s not gay but is thrilled to be considered a “gay icon”.

Baroness Stowell, the Tory peer who was in charge of guiding the same-sex marriage law for England and Wales through the House of Lords was asked the question in an interview to the Mail on Sunday.

Journalist Simon Walters commented that “some gay rights campaigners have speculated whether petite Stowell is gay?”

“Oh really?” she said with surprise. Pushed for an answer Baroness Stowell replied: “No.”

Walters had described Baroness Stowell as a “gay icon” for her role in steering same-sex marriage through the Lords. She subsequently was named Politician of the Year at the 2013 PinkNews Awards, along with Shadow Home Secretary Yvettte Cooper. Baroness Stowell was also named Peer of the Year at the 2013 Spectator Awards.

Baroness Stowell said she was “choked with happiness” when same-sex marriage became law and that allowing civil partnerships to be converted to marriages is an “important” step.

The change will come into effect on 10 December.

During last year’s debates, Baroness Stowell used a fictional marriage to actor George Clooney, in order to explain to the House the difference between adultery and unacceptable behaviour.

She went on to confess her love for Clooney, and believes it helped change the atmosphere among opponents.

“I’ve had a soft spot for him ever since I saw him in ER,” Baroness Stowell told the Mail. “I needed to relax peers who were tense about gay marriage, so I thought, ‘I’ll bring in George Clooney.’”

Baroness Stowell is such a big fan of Clooney that she has a cardboard cut-out of the actor in her office.

“Now George Clooney is taken, I’m back on the market,” she joked in reference to this year’s marriage of the star.