Caroline Dinenage wrote to constitutents voicing her opposition to equal marriage
David Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle continues today, with the appointment of Caroline Dinenage to the post of minister for equalities. Dinenage retained her Gosport seat in the election, and is part of Cameron’s new drive to increase the number of women at the Cabinet table.
But a look at Dinenage’s voting record raises questions about her suitability for the job.
In 2013 she voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at its Second Reading in the House of Commons. She voted for other components of the bill in order to stay loyal to the Tory party line, and was absent for the Bill’s Third Reading.
But there is no ambiguity in Dinenage’s comments on the issue. Responding to a letter from a PinkNews reader the day before the reading, she wrote:
“As you may know, as the established Church, its own Canon Law is part of the law of the land and one of its canons states that marriage is in its nature a union of “one man and one woman”.
I therefore believe that the institution of marriage is distinctive and the State has no right to redefine its meaning – these proposals were not included in any of the three main manifestoes nor did it feature in the Coalition’s Programme for Government.
“As I have mentioned, under current law same-sex couples can have a civil partnership but not a civil marriage and I believe that there is no legitimate reason to change this. Preventing same-sex couples from being allowed to ‘marry’ takes nothing away from their relationship.”
She also told a local newspaper:
‘I’m concerned that in the future teachers may be forced to teach civil partnership and gay marriage whether it’s in their religious belief to do so or not.”
Further back, in 2011, Dinenage was listed by the Daily Mail as one of 118 Tory MPs who had written to constituents stating their opposition to proposals to allow gay marriage. The Mail reported at the time:
“The sheer scale of the opposition means Mr Cameron is facing what has become the biggest Tory rebellion in recent history.”
The list included Cameron’s former equalities minister Nicky Morgan, who also voted against gay marriage.
Is there something the PM isn’t quite getting?
Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on TwitterLike 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.