Equalities minister: PinkNews needs to ‘move on’ from me opposing same-sex marriage

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

PinkNews Exclusive
Equalities minister Caroline Dinenage has told PinkNews to ‘move on’ – rather than keep bringing up her vote against same-sex marriage.

The Tory MP for Gosport was appointed as a junior Minister for Equalities in May this year – though she voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in 2013, claiming the state had “no right” to implement it.

However, in an interview with PinkNews this week, the minister said she immediately regretted her vote against equality.

She said: “As soon as I’d gone through the voting lobby, I thought to myself, ‘what on earth are you doing?’

“If you look at my voting record, there were five or six votes on same-sex marriage and I didn’t vote against it again. I only did it the once.

“I thought, ‘This is ridiculous, you have to go with actually what’s in your heart and what you believe in’ – which is why the record will show that I then didn’t do it again.”

She added: “The other thing I will say, is I think that PinkNews really needs to move on as well.

“I was one of the key people who put through the Women and Equalities select committee. And, in the PinkNews article, it was ‘Oh, it’s fantastic we’ve got the Women and Equalities select committee, but we’ve still got this MP who voted against gay marriage’.

“It didn’t say ‘this is one of the women who fought hard to get this Women and Equalities select committee’ – and I did.

“I’ll take the flack, but I want to take the credit when I get things done as well.”

The PinkNews article on the formation of the committee included a back-link at the bottom that read: “It comes after David Cameron appointed Caroline Dinenage, who said in 2013 that the ‘state has no right’ to redefine the meaning of marriage, as a junior equalities minister.”

The equalities minister also opened up about taking her children to a Pride parade.

She said: “I’ve got a seven-year-old and I took him to the Portsmouth Pride event and he had the most wonderful time – because he comes from a world where everybody’s the same.

“He enjoyed all the food that was on offer, all the sweets that were on offer – there was hula hooping, there was wristbands, there was rainbow shoelaces. All his favourite Portsmouth football players were there because they were launching the LGBT supporters’ club.”

“My 12 year old was very much more aware of the diversity issues. He was actually outraged – he sat in my car with a map of the world, and was outraged at the amount of places in the world where you could be imprisoned for being gay. You can be put to death for being gay.”

The MP also confirmed the government will push through legislation on pardons for men convicted of historic gay sex offences – committing to “hopefully” moving on the issue in the first half of Parliament.

Click here to read the full interview.