Equalities Minister who voted against gay marriage: I’m proud of progressive UK

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New Tory Minister for Women and Equalities Caroline Dinenage has said she is “proud” of the UK for being progressive, in a quote for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT).

Caroline Dinenage, the MP for Gosport, was appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron this week as the minister for equalities at the Department for Education.

The move prompted concern due to her record on LGBT rights, as she told a PinkNews reader in 2013 that the state has “no right” to redefine marriage, and that “preventing same-sex couples from being allowed to marry takes nothing away from their relationship.”

However, Ms Dinenage – who has since affirmed her support for equality – now says that she only voted against same-sex marriage because her constituents wanted her to.

Ms Dinenage  today said: “I’m proud that the UK has just been named the most progressive country in Europe for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) rights for the fifth year running, but far too many LGB&T people around the world continue to experience discrimination. We need to tackle that and to create a fairer society for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

A previous appointment to the equalities office also proved controversial, as now Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan also voted against same-sex marriage.

The Tory MP for Loughborough, who retained her seat in last week’s general election, was controversially appointed to the equalities post in July last year – despite voting against same-sex marriage.

Mrs Morgan has since become a supporter of LGBT rights, telling PinkNews in October that she would “probably” vote in favour of same-sex marriage if she could do so again.

Labour has voiced concern with the appointment, with rights activist Lord Cashman expressing “deep concern” with the appointment.