Tory MP makes powerful apology for voting against equal marriage

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A Conservative MP has admitted he was wrong for voting against same-sex marriage.

Nigel Adams, the Member of Parliament for Selby and Ainsty, made the admission today while discussing a Turing’s Law proposal that would pardon men with historical gay sex offences.

The government announced earlier this week that it will seek to pass Turing’s Law via an amendment to a crime bill, but the SNP’s John Nicolson is pushing forward with his own broader backbench legislation.

Speaking in the Commons on the issue, Mr Adams addressed his own record on the issue.

He said: “I would like to take this opportunity to issue a mea culpa. During my first term in office I voted against equal marriage for a whole host of reasons.

“I thought at the time that what I was doing was right, but having now reflected and seen how that Act has made such a positive difference for thousands of couples around the country, I deeply regret that decision. I got it wrong.

“If I had the opportunity again, I would vote differently, and I want to apologise. I want to apologise to my friends, I want to apologise to family members, and constituents who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

“I want them to know that I believe in their full equality. I won’t have the chance to change that vote, but I’m pleased to have the chance to stand in support of equality before the law today.”

Addressing Turing’s Law, he said: “This bill is of great importance, not only just for justice in this country – its is of great emotional importance for constituents who are either gay themselves or have friends, family and colleagues who are, and who have felt judged by a different standard over the years.

“[John Nicolson] is my colleague on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and I’m grateful to him for using his time to bring forward these proposals and sharing his ideas with me over several bottles of Rosé.

“I am proud to be on my feet today in support of this bill.

“Equality before the law must be not only our fundamental principle, but our fundamental practise, and that means that not only must justice be done, but justice must be seen to be done.

“These were what we rightly now consider outdated discriminatory laws targeting sex between men differently to others. To truly rectify this injustice, we must grant pardons, admitting these convictions were immoral.

“Like Turing, they each are someone’s family, someone’s friend, someone who deserves acknowledgement of their fundamental equality before the law.”