A Tory MP who previously said the state had “no right” to redefine marriage, and who voted against same-sex marriage, has been appointed minister for equalities.
Caroline Dinenage, the MP for Gosport, was appointed by Prime Minister David Cameron today as the Parliamentary under secretary of state at the Ministry of Justice and the minister for equalities at the Department for Education.
In 2013, she told a PinkNews reader that the “state has no right” to redefine its meaning of marriage and that “preventing same-sex couples from being allowed to marry takes nothing away from their relationship.”
Ms Dinenage, the daughter of Fred Dinenage, the veteran ITV regional news presenter and former presenter of children’s programme How2, also voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at its Second Reading in the House of Commons. Ms Dinenage voted for other components of the bill, so as to stay loyal to the Tory party line, and was absent for the Bill’s Third Reading.
In a letter to a PinkNews reader, Ms Dinenage wrote that the Church states that “marriage is in its nature a union of ‘one man and one woman’, and went on to say “the insitution [sic] of marriage is distinctive.”
She wrote: “These proposals were not included in any of the three main manifestoes [sic] 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.”
A previous appointment to the equalities office also proved controversial, as now Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan also voted against same-sex marriage.
Mrs Morgan has since become a supporter of LGBT rights, telling PinkNews in October that she would “probably” vote in favour of same-sex marriage if she could do so again.
Benjamin Cohen, Chief Executive of PinkNews, said: “Like Nicky Morgan, Caroline Dineage voted against the David Cameron’s key equality measure, same-sex marriage.
“I hope that just like Nicky before her, Caroline will now announce that she has changed her mind, and recognise the value of marriage equality in England and Wales.”