Eric Pickles: I was ‘narrow-minded’ to oppose gay adoption
Conservative Cabinet Minister Eric Pickles has apologised for his record on gay rights – branding his previous views “narrow-minded” and “prejudiced”.
Mr Pickles, who is Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, previously voted against an equal age of consent and same-sex adoption, while missing the vote on civil partnerships.
He eventually voted in favour of same-sex marriage in 2013, and has since affirmed his commitment to equality.
Speaking to LBC, he apologised for his poor track record on the issue.
He said: “I have to say, a few years back I had a different view, absolutely. I originally voted against gay adoption, I think I voted against gay marriage some time back.
Pushed on what triggered his decision to support same-sex marriage, Mr Pickles replied: “Well, to tell you the truth, simply friends – going to people’s houses, seeing a stable couple together. Seeing constituents who’d wanted to have a proper legally recognised relationship.
“And I just thought, ‘you just can’t be so mean, you can’t be so narrow-minded, you can’t be so prejudiced.’ So I did a complete, 180 degrees and I’ve never regretted it.”
In the same interview, the MP for Brentwood and Ongar said he opposed a boycott of Dolce & Gabbana, after the legendary gay designers spoke out to oppose ‘non-traditional’ families.
Mr Pickles said: “The world’s too small. You can’t replace one piece of hate with another piece of hate.”
Calls by Sir Elton John for a boycott of Dolce and Gabbana have quickly gathered pace, with support from celebrities including Matt Lucas, Sharon Stone and Courtney Love.
Victoria Beckham, a close friend of Sir Elton John and David Furnish, also tweeted her “love” for IVF babies.
But a few celebrities, most notably former Mirror editor Piers Morgan and ex-Apprentice contestant Katie Hopkins have criticised the boycott, describing it as “bullying” and threatening freedom of expression.
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