Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, who came out publically as gay in August 2010, has again spoken about the decision in light of last week’s vote by MPs on equal marriage.
Speaking to the Mirror days after MPs voted to support the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, the 53-year-old former solider described the years leading up to his decision to come out and how society’s attitudes have shaped his own life.
“We’ve gone through a big change in the last 50 years,” he said. “We’ve gone from where being gay was a criminal offence to where there isn’t anything wrong with me and I think that’s a very large change for society to have undergone in a short time.
“There are only tiny inequalities remaining.”
Mr Blunt, who previously served as a justice minister, says coming out as a young man would have killed his military career.
“I don’t think young people would understand when they ask why you didn’t just come out when you were 18,” he added. “If there’s no one to turn to for information then, for all I knew, there was something wrong with me that had to be mastered and I duly did. Since I wanted to be a soldier, this thing that was deep within me was criminal.
“As a 17 or 18-year-old, I was thinking about going into politics but wanted to join the army first so joining up and going to university and then going into politics, none of that would have been possible had I come out. The fact it was illegal in my profession just meant I couldn’t go there. You have to make a heterosexual life, which I did and I was perfectly happy until my 40s, at which point society had completely changed.”
Speaking about the moment he told his ex-wife Victoria about his sexuality, the MP said: “I went away for a week in about August 2010,” he continued. “I met up with a couple of Americans on their honeymoon. I was on my own reading a book in English in a Spanish restaurant and we got talking.
“We talked through the issues and they said, ‘Why don’t you just tell her?’ I explained if it became public it would be in every newspaper in the country. But I reflected on their words and realised it was the right thing to do. And then the decision to tell the children and everyone else flowed from that.”
“People discuss the coming-out experience,” he said. “There’s a euphoria and, if you’ve taken 30 years to do it, you’ve got 30 years of relief. The overriding emotions were relief and happiness.”