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Owen Paterson sacked as environment minister in Government reshuffle

Joseph McCormick July 14, 2014

Owen Paterson, who was in 2012 the first cabinet member to come out against same-sex marriage, has been sacked as environment minister in today’s reshuffle.

Paterson, then the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, in 2012 became the first cabinet member to publicly declare his opposition to same-sex marriage.

In a mixed letter to a constituent which praised the government’s progress on, and support for, LGBT rights, he also lamented on why he said he could not support same-sex marriage efforts.

He wrote: “Having considered this matter carefully, I am afraid I have come to the decision not to support gay marriage… the government is rightly committed to advancing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and has already taken action to do so by allowing those religious premises that wish to carry out civil partnerships do so, erasing historic convictions for consensual gay sex and putting pressure on other countries that violate the human rights of LGBT people.”

Mr Paterson was then the third Tory minister to oppose equal marriage, after Philip Hammond and Tim Loughton came out against the measure earlier that month, and after the defence minister, Gerald Howarth blamed the measure for the election losses suffered by Tories in the local elections.

He voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act during its third reading in the Commons.

More: cabinet, environment minister, equal marriage, Northern Ireland, owen paterson, reshuffle

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