The next British prime minister will be an anti-gay rights woman

Michael Segalov writes that both finalists to replace David Cameron for the leadership of the Conservative Party, Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom, have a record of opposing equal rights for gays.

Take a look at Theresa May who, in 1998, voted against equalising the age of consent for gay sex. That’s the same Theresa May who voted against repealing Section 28 – legislation that banned the “promotion” of homosexuality by local government and schools. She said no to same sex adoption, no to civil partnerships, and she didn’t once bother to turn up to vote on the Gender Recognition Act either.

In her time at the Home Office, policies have been put in place which forced LGBT asylum seekers to “prove” their sexuality, some allegedly through intimate photos and videos of same-sex sexual activity. Others were told that they couldn’t be gay simply because they had children.

Andrea Leadsom is the final contender, and despite only being elected to Parliament in 2010, she’s already managed to flex her anti-gay credentials. She too failed to vote in favour of same sex marriage, and has said that straight couples should have priority over gay ones when it comes to adopting children. Today on ITV News she clarified that she was “not happy” about the gay marriage law because of “hurt caused to many Christians”. Marriage, she continued, should have remained “as a Christian service that was for men and women who wanted to commit in the eyes of God”.

Segalov says that David Cameron, although not sympathetic to it, at least had the sense to realize that the writing was on the wall and to oppose same-sex marriage was politically toxic.

Leadsom and May might both be women, but there’s nothing progressive about either of them. The next Prime Minister of Britain is going to be a gay rights dinosaur, and our broken democracy means there’s nothing we can do.

Of the five people who contested for the nomination, only Michael Gove, whose name will be forever liked with backstabbing, has no anti-gay record.


  1. cartomancer says

    The tricky thing with Theresa May is that she has publicly announced that she has changed her mind on LGBT rights. It’s tricky because there’s no way of knowing whether this is a genuine change of opinion (which we should really allow for in people -- it would be altogether problematic if we didn’t allow public figures to change their minds), or whether she’s just toeing the party line and pretending for the sake of popularity. It is true that she voted in favour of full same-sex marriage in 2013, as David Cameron wanted.

    Of course, one might argue that she is, at least, canny enough to realise that appearing anti-LGBT will lose her votes and support now, whereas Andrea Loathesome very much isn’t. Even if the conversion wasn’t sincere she will continue to appease in this manner, and in some ways having politicians who recognise which way the wind is blowing on progressive issues is the most important thing, irrespective of their personal views.

    She’s pretty regressive, right-wing and reactionary on a lot of other issues though, so it’s not as if getting Theresa May is going to be in any sense ideal.

  2. Nick Gotts says

    Marriage, she continued, should have remained “as a Christian service that was for men and women who wanted to commit in the eyes of God”.

    That’s not just anti-gay, it’s utterly bizarre. Presumably, Loathsome does not recognise marriages performed in register offices, or those between Jews, Muslims, Hindus etc. In Scotland, there has never been a requirement for any religious participation for a marriage to be legally valid. In England and Wales, religious sanction (by a C. of E. minister, a Quaker congregation, or a rabbi) was only necessary between 1753 and 1836 (before 1753 the couple simply had to declare themselves married before witnesses, from 1836 civil marriage was permitted in register offices).

  3. lanir says

    @cartomancer #2: Genuine change of opinion or change of voting opinion? “In my newly revised opinion, you should all vote for me!”

    The latter does have the benefit of sounding like actual politics but maybe you guys will get lucky and whoever gets voted in will want to make the people happy so they can stay there awhile.

  4. Dunc says

    Amusingly, the leader of the Conservative Party in Scotland -- Ruth Davidson -- is a lesbian, currently in a civil partnership, and planning to get married, and she has said that whoever wins the leadership contest will be invited to her wedding.

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