The home secretary and minister for equality Theresa May told the audience of the BBC’s Question Time that she has changed her mind about gay couples jointly adopting and would vote differently on gay rights issues if they were laid before the House of Commons today.
She was challenged on her poor LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) rights voting record as first pointed out by PinkNews.co.uk. Mrs May voted against equalising the age of consent, the repeal of Section 28, against gay couples jointly adopting and against lesbian IVF rights. She not attend Parliament for the vote for gender recognition or for the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations which she has responsibility to administering, that outlaws discrimination on the basis of sexuality for the provision of goods and services including adoption. She did vote for civil partnerships.
Almost 70,000 people have joined a Facebook group calling on prime minister David Cameron to sack Mrs May as minister for equality. Mrs May indicated she was well aware of the group.
“If those votes were today, yes, I have changed my view and I think I would take a different vote.”
She added: “On gay adoption I have changed my mind… because I have been persuaded that when you are looking at the future for a child, I think it’s better for a child who is perhaps in an institutional environment, if they have an opportunity of being in a stable, family environment – be that a heterosexual couple or a gay couple – then I think it’s more important that that child is in that stable and loving environment and I have genuinely changed my mind on that.”
She also pledged her support for measures to tackle homophobic bullying.
Although Mrs May did say why she’d had changed her mind on gay couples adopting, she didn’t detail whether or why she had changed her mind on Section 28 or the equal age of consent.
Former Labour minister Caroline Flint told the audience: “I’m pleased Theresa’s changed her mind and we should accept when people change their mind and welcome that.”
The director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti said that Mrs May “should be proud for having changed her mind.”