New deputy PM Thérèse Coffey is against same-sex marriage and dislikes abortion
Thérèse Coffey has been named as Liz Truss’ health secretary and deputy prime minister – news that will alarm LGBTQ+ people.
Coffey was the first appointment to the new cabinet, and will find herself at the centre of political decision-making.
She told journalists that she was “very excited” while leaving Downing Street – a sentiment likely not shared by many LGBTQ+ people.
Throughout her political career, Coffey has repeatedly voted against LGBTQ+ rights, and she’s made it clear she hasn’t changed her perspective whatsoever.
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) September 6, 2022
According to TheyWorkForYou.com, Coffey voted against same-sex marriage in 2013.
Even worse, Coffey was part of a group of 15 MPs who urged the House of Lords to block same-sex marriage after the House of Commons voted in its favour in 2013. Writing at the time, Coffey said the government was trying to “redefine marriage” without a mandate.
“Genuine concerns about the impact on society’s understanding of marriage and the bill’s implications for free speech and civil liberty have been swept aside,” Coffey said at the time.
In 2019 she voted against extending marriage rights to queer couples in Northern Ireland.
That’s not all – Coffey has fought consistently against social changes that could better the lives of LGBTQ+ people. She has stated her opposition to mandatory sex and relationships education in schools and has suggested parents should be allowed to withdraw their children from lessons where they see fit.
And in June, following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade ruling giving the right to abortion, Coffey said she would prefer that women “didn’t have abortions” but said she would not “condemn people that do”.
Liz Truss’ health secretary Thérèse Coffey is a staunch social conservative
Over the years, Coffey has defend her position on same-sex marriage, citing her religious beliefs. In 2012, she told a Twitter user: “I believe family is the main purpose of marriage”.
In 2020, during an appearance on Sky News, Coffey made it clear she hadn’t changed her views on same-sex marriage at all.
“I took the view at the time, and I still hold to that, I have a strong faith background about what is a legal partnership and what is marriage, but that is not a question for today,” Coffey said.
“I believe in live and let live, and I’ll be interested to see.”
Coffey emerged as one of Boris Johnson’s staunchest supporters during his premiership – she repeatedly defended him against partygate-related criticisms, and she was one of the many ministers who came to his aid when he stood accused of turning a blind eye to sexual misconduct accusations against Chris Pincher.
Like Johnson, she is no stranger to controversy – she faced criticism in 2016 when it emerged she had been given free trips from bookmaker Ladbrokes to go to horse racing events.
Once Johnson finally resigned, she threw her support full force behind Liz Truss to succeed him.
According to The Telegraph, Coffey is “little known to the wider public” but is thought to be one of Truss’ closest friends in politics.
It’s less clear where Coffey stands on other LGBTQ+ related issues, such as trans rights – she has been notably quiet on the issue, although that’s unlikely to continue if she becomes Truss’ health secretary.
However, Coffey’s voting record shows she has generally voted against laws that promote equality and human rights.
As health secretary, Coffey will have a big battle on her hands, with the NHS creaking at the seams.
It remains to be seen whether she will do anything about the crisis in trans healthcare, but given her voting record, it seems unlikely LGBTQ+ people will be a priority in her health department.
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