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Lib Dem minister: I wouldn’t vote for a Lib Dem who opposed equal marriage

Nick Duffy April 11, 2015

Liberal Democrat minister Stephen Williams has admitted he would find it “impossible” to vote for some of his colleagues who voted against same-sex marriage.

Mr Williams, who is openly gay, is the party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Bristol West, where he has served as an MP since 2005.

However, the politician – who has also served as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government since 2013 – surprisingly admitted he would not vote for one of his colleagues if they opposed same-sex marriage.

He revealed in this month’s issue of Gay Times: “I personally would find it very difficult to vote for a candidate who did not support my human rights. Almost impossible, in fact.

“It would mean one of their core beliefs is that I’m not equal to them. I was very disappointed in some of my colleagues, shall we say. Really disappointed.”

Liberal Democrats Sir Alan Beith, Gordon Birtwistle, John Pugh and Sarah Teather voted against same-sex marriage, while seven others were not present for the vote. Sir Alan Beith and Sarah Teather are not seeking re-election.

Mr Williams added: “I’m pretty thick-skinned, but some of it was quite hurtful. Hearing people elected on the same page as me, standing up in the Chamber and saying that if I love someone, my rights are not the same as their rights.

“It’s saying that a small proportion of the population should be denied certain rights, and therefore in their mind they’re saying I’m not as good as them.”

His views are not uncommon, with a PinkNews poll last year finding that 84.6% of gay voters would vote against their local MP if they voted against the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act – even if the MP was from their own party.

However, he is the first MP to make such an admission.

Read the full interview in April’s issue of GT, which is available to buy at www.gtdigi.co.uk or in shops.

More: civil partnership, civil union, England, equal marriage, Gay, gay weddings, lesbian, lesbian wedding, Lib Dem, liberal democrat, marriage, marriage equality, Nick Clegg, Politics, same sex weddings, Union, wedding

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