Jamie Wake 2014 Independent Candidate for Whitley ward in the Reading Local Elections
  • My thoughts on Equal Marriage passing 3rd reading

    May 22nd, 2013jamiewakerdgequal marriage

    Whilst many of us were celebrating the fact the same-sex marriage bill passed at its third reading in the House of Commons last night and will now journey on to the House of Lords, some of us were disappointed to see our local MPs here in Reading stick to what some might say was their usual form.

    Alok Sharma (Reading West) is not recorded as not voting for or against the Bill and I have been informed that he is currently out of the country. He did vote in favour at the second reading and wrote to me previously to say that he would vote in favour if the church was protected.  Last Night, the Mirror newspaper (and The Spectator) reported that Reading East Rob Wilson had voted against the bill but on questioning this through twitter, Rob has seemed to take offence to this and informed followers that this was not the case – I did tweet him to ask if that meant he abstained but failed to get a reply.  Later tweets from others and seeing the list of votes shows us that he did actually abstain.

    Rob put his name to an amendment that was seen by many – including the government – to be a wrecking amendment. It was suggested that it would delay the bill.  The amendment -  which would have allowed for heterosexual couples to have a civil partnership – was championed by him and others as by their logic, by giving gay people the right to marry, this would cause inequality for straight people.  Strange that – Rob Wilson championing equality when his historical voting record on equality for LGBT people has been so poor. He also voted for the amendment to allow registrars to discriminate and decline to marry gay people. Neither amendments were passed but I am pleased to see that a review into civil partnerships for heterosexual people will be carried out but again surprised that Rob did not vote in favour of this review!  Why not – I hear you cry?  I wish I could answer. So the question remains – why did Rob Wilson then abstain from voting in favour of equality for his LGBT constituents? A response was promised today following a cryptic tweet he sent “…Thought of the Day: how to answer in a questioning way… ” I’m still waiting to see this official response.

    Minutes before the vote, Rob Wilson took to twitter to ask for someone to follow him so he could have his 4,000th follower – he even promised that he’d follow back the next 34 that followed him. I personally feel that this showed disrespect to his LGBT constituents waiting to see how he voted.  He may not vote to give them – us – equality, but he could have done without making frivolous tweets.  Others may disagree but I’m not prepared to change how I feel.

    In some ways the Mirror newspaper was right. Rob Wilson did vote against Equal Marriage – he just also happened to vote for it as well to register an abstention. To me as a gay resident of Reading, anything other that a yes was wrong. I also believe that to abstain is a cowardly way out – not to be seen to be homophobic and to appease his safe votes and I guess christian voters who are strongly against Marriage Equality for LGBT people. He doesn’t represent me or any of the other thousands of LGBT Constituents here in Reading and he ought to have been more honest with his constituents and voted no – if that’s how he really feels rather than trying to protect his votes for the next election.  I did receive an interesting tweet from someone who insisted that Rob had told them at what I refer to as the token consultation with LGBT people in Reading that privately Rob Wilson wanted to vote for the Bill but couldn’t due to the voters in East Reading.  I don’t know how true this statement is as the individual has deleted the tweet – although the end of the conversation has not been deleted and reads “…Also, friend was sat next to me when he said it, so I wasn’t alone in hearing him say it…”  I’ll let you decide on this bit as it does sound extremely unlikely to me.

    I held out hope that Rob Wilson would vote on the right side of history last night and although I suspected that he wouldn’t, you wonder why he is unable to represent all of his constituents. Although it shouldn’t, I feel that his actions have let the rest of his Tory colleagues in Reading down – some of them who have actively demonstrated that not all Tory party activists/campaigners/Councillors/MP’s are the same and have been campaigning for Equal Marriage here in Reading and assisted to secure funding for Readings’ SupportU service.

    As you’ll know, I’m not politically alligned to any party.  I once joined the Lib Dems but considering how MP Simon Hughes voted I’m glad I left them!

    Closer to the General Election, I will be inviting Rob Wilson and other candidates to a LGBT Husting – I wonder if he’ll even accept the invitation?

    All this said, the bill has now left the House of Commons and I look forward to seeing it journey to (and likely back and forth again) The House of Lords. Hats off to all the party leaders and MPs that championed marriage for gay people like myself – your constituents are very lucky to have you.  I just hope ours – well, one of ours – in Reading steps up the the plate and holds out an olive branch to the LGBT Community to try and make amends.  After all, we didn’t vote against or abstain when he and others got married did we?

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