Protesters last night stepped up the pressure on Theresa May by calling for a full explanation of her past record and an apology "in the form of an affadavit".
The protesters whose online campaign forced equalities minister Theresa May to say she had “changed my mind” about gay adoption on Question Time last night have stepped up the pressure by calling for a full explanation of her past record and an apology “in the form of an affadavit”. The campaigners have also called for more awareness to be raised of her voting record, which included opposing the repeal of Section 28 and lowering the homosexual age of consent to 16.
“Tonight we witnessed quite an extraordinary event on national television: a Facebook campaign caused a senior government minister to annouce she had “changed her mind” concerning gay couples adopting. I am of course refering to Theresa May’s comments when confronted by a teenager on Question Time regarding her gay rights record…
“This doesn’t stop us questioning her record however and we will continue to do so… Furthermore her argument that is was ”some years ago” seems intriguing. Whilst we accept that she may have recently changed her mind, we question why she still voted against the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill in 2008, containing clauses which would stop discrimination against lesbian couples receiving fertility treatment.
“This was a free vote; she did not have to follow her party. Therefore, the fact that she voted against it shows that to a certain extent she genuinely holds these beliefs independently of any pressure from the party. More importantly; this was 17 months ago. This was not the Theresa May under party obligations of 1997, this was the Theresa May, free agent, of 2008…
“We are calling for a full explanation of her views and an apology for her previous voting record in the form of an affidavit. We still regret her appointment, since she is not a very symbolically positive candidate whom we could trust to continue the progress made over the last few years. We will continue to raise awareness and to call for her resignation. We will give her a call tommorrow to present our proposal.”
Still very much calling for the equalities minister to be removed from her post, one of the main campaigners Jane Cahill told Left Foot Forward:
“I don’t think its ok for her to be Equalities Minister. I think our campaign is showing that many people have been angered by her appointment and dismayed by her voting record- a few words on a Question Time where the one person you’d expect to grill her (Shami Chakrabarti) didn’t seem to know a thing about it? I don’t think this answers our more compelling concerns.
“I don’t question her sincerity on gay adoption, but nor do I view it as the ultimate test of someone’s views on LGBT equality. That she voted against Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill as late as 2008, which was aiming to stop discrimination against lesbian couples receiving fertility treatment, indicates to me that she isn’t committed to LGBT rights. I should also point out that the vote on that bill was a free one.
“I wholeheartedly welcome her comments, but we are now looking for something more substantial to reassure us that this isn’t just some words said on Question Time to avoid a difficult issue. We will be phoning her today to request a sworn apology for her previous voting record, in the form of an affidavit. Until that point we shall be pushing for her resignation.”
The “Sack New Homophobic Equality Minister” Facebook group now has nearly 70,000 members while an online petition “Requesting Theresa May’s Resignation from the Post of Equalities Minister” has received nearly 30,000 signatures.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.