Former MP apologises for voting against same-sex marriage: ‘I am sorry that I got it so wrong’
Former Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather has apologised for voting against same-sex marriage in 2013.
Parliament voted in favour of the same-sex marriage bill in 2013, paving the way for queer people to marry their partners in March of the following year.
While the bill was supported by all the major parties, individual MPs were given a free vote, meaning they would not be sanctioned for voting against equal marriage.
Sarah Teather, who left the House of Commons in 2015, has apologised for opposing the bill as the eighth anniversary of the history-making legislation approaches.
Sarah Teather was told she would ‘regret’ voting against same-sex marriage
“In 2013, I tied myself up in ridiculous intellectual knots trying to find a way to navigate Catholic teaching on marriage and my liberal instincts and campaigning history on gay rights.
“In the end, I voted against the bill.”
Next week marks 8yrs since gay marriage became law. In 2013, I tied myself up in ridiculous intellectual knots trying to find a way to navigate Catholic teaching on marriage & my liberal instincts & campaigning history on gay rights. In the end, I voted against the bill [1/3]
— Sarah Teather (@SLCT2015) July 5, 2021
She continued: “Wise friends said to me that it didn’t fit with what they knew of me and I would regret it. They were right.
“In the years since as friends and acquaintances have got married I have inwardly cheered and thanked God that I was then in an irrelevant minority.
“I think this anniversary is a good time to say more publicly that I was wrong then and I am delighted now that gay people have the right to be married.
“And I am sorry that I got it so wrong.”
Teather has won praise on social media for her apology, with some suggesting other politicians could do with following her lead and owning up to their past mistakes.
— Katharine Sacks-Jones (@KatharineSJ) July 6, 2021
I really like this thread. It takes a lot to admit that you’re wrong, even more so in public. To show critical and careful reflection and then share your conclusions is very admirable imho https://t.co/mdm3SBrU5M
— Declan (@declan_dundas) July 6, 2021
This is impressive – plenty of other politicians should follow this example. https://t.co/eBqzrgBJTa
— Thomas Hirons (@thomashirons) July 6, 2021
However, others have suggested that Teather’s apology is a case of “too little too late”.
I don’t know how to think about this: pleased that she recognises she was wholly wrong, or depressed that people only have these revelations once they’re long out of office. https://t.co/epVhSNhW7H
— Ben (@BenDunnell) July 6, 2021
After leaving politics behind, Teather went on to become director of the Jesuit Refugee Service UK.
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During her time in parliament, she founded the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Guantanamo Bay and served as Minister of State for Children and Families.