Tory MP: Voting against same-sex marriage is my biggest regret
A Tory MP has admitted his biggest regret as an MP was voting against same-sex marriage, in a revealing op-ed for his local paper.
Andrew Griffiths, MP for Burton & Uttoxeter, opened up about his regrets since being voted in during the May 2010 elections.
“For while I am hugely proud of what I, and the Government I am part of has achieved over the last six years, there is one decision that causes me great pain. That was my decision to vote against gay marriage. It is a decision I wish I could change, and one I deeply regret,” he wrote.
Griffiths explained that his decision to vote against the bill was driven by constituents who contacted him over fears the church would change.
The MP explained that he hoped if he voted against gay marriage then a compromise might be struck later on.
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He wrote: “I was wrong to do so. I was wrong to put those concerns ahead of the right for people who love each other to find the same happiness in marriage that I have found myself.
“I was wrong to vote against a piece of legislation that was about bringing fairness and equality and joy to the gay and lesbian community, and for that, I apologise.”
Griffiths went on to stress that he respected the religious beliefs of the people who contacted him, but regrets not looking at the full picture.
He called the vote “an important lesson in life” that helped him realise that making a “mistake is distressing” and that being able to put it right is a “relief.”
“There is something incredibly joyous, beautiful and powerful about committing your life to the person you love, and nobody should be denied that. I want everyone to be able to experience it, regardless of sexuality.”
He admitted that speaking to his gay peers made him uncomfortable following the vote, but noted that he is still accepted by the gay community.
“After the vote, for me it became harder and harder to look my gay friends, colleagues and constituents in the face. I felt ashamed of what I had done. Yet just the other day in the post I received an invite to the marriage of my wonderful and longstanding friends Scott and Phil.
“I felt so touched that they wanted me there. I cannot wait to share their special day with them, and to be part of this momentous new chapter in their lives together. I’m proud that my government allowed that to happen.”