Jamie Wake 2014 Independent Candidate for Whitley ward in the Reading Local Elections
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    May 19th, 2013jamiewakerdgequal marriage

    Don’t get too excited – I haven’t become fluent in Latin!  But the phrase seems very apt when I look at some of the amendments that have been tabled by a number of MP’s including one Rob Wilson, MP for Reading East.

    It goes without saying that I’m a vocal campaigner for Equal Marriage.  Of course being an openly gay man may have something to do with it so naturally I’m going to hold a little bit of bias.

    At the second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill our local MP’s here in Reading acted very differently.  Alok Sharma (Reading West)  voted for the Bill (Thank you Alok) and as expected Rob Wilson (Reading East) voted against.  Actually he voted for as well so technically abstained citing that further safeguards are needed in the bill.   Not that he has a great record for equality for LGBT people anyway.

    I blogged just before the last reading about Rob’s attempt to meet the Gay Community in Reading and listen to what they had to say.  I still feel that it was a token meeting -  held during the day when people were at work and organised at short notice.

    Well the 3rd reading takes place next week and Rob Wilson, Tim Loughton and Charlotte Leslie have tabled amendments to the Bill to include Civil Partnerships for Straight couples.  I’m very much in favour of this if we’re going to have full equality for LGBT and straight people but I’m suspicious of this proposal and as the title of this blog piece reads, Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.  Let me explain.

    Tim Loughton has been a vocal opponent of Equal Marriage and voted against it at the second reading.  Like Rob, Charlotte Leslie abstained too.  Tim with David Burrowes were quite obviously trying to be human obstacles during the committee stage and I’m not surprised to see Tim and David joining Jim Shannon in submitting quite a few amendments to this bill anyway.  Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem) did not vote at the last reading (In fact I’m rather suprised at some of the Lib Dems at the vote – especially  as when I was a member I believed they were the right party to join for fighting for LGBT equality – I’m glad I quit now). Whilst Stephen Williams and Julian Huppert are tabling the amendment for the right reasons I’m cautious and convinced that the others are doing this to delay the bill.

    From the outside, it seems that much of the Tory party seems set on destroying themselves with their attacks and opposition to this Bill but I’m pleased that the debate has outed all of those MP’s who stand in the way of equality.

    We’re already hearing whispers that the government will attempt to compromise with the 150 Tory’s set to oppose the bill by considering amendments giving protection to “conscientious objectors”.  i.e Teachers and registrars who are against equality.  Evidence to me that there are still much to change within the party if they ever are going shake off that image of the nasty party.  Whilst some have deep rooted religious views, others are just worried they are going to lose their seat in the general election.  Not that religion should be an excuse for homophobia.  Religion and personally held beliefs should not change the way in which you do a job – whether you are a teacher, registrar or MP.   Many Tory’s are worried that Equal Marriage will prevent the Tory’s winning – I’m sorry to say this but the Tory’s have done quite a few other things since entering coalition that may sway voters to other colours instead of blue.

    Naturally, Rob has been tweeted by a few people about his voting intentions next week and his reply was non-committal and that there was a lot more debate to take place.  It’s quite likely that Rob already knows his voting intention (as we all felt he did last time) and a scheduled blog post will suddenly appear again straight after the vote with local gay Tory’s tweeting to his defence.  I guess it’s difficult trying to keep your known voters on side.  After all, wards such as Caversham contains a lot of Tory voters and Christian Tory Voters too.  Sadly us gays are all over the place – I guess this makes the game a lot harder to play!

    So yes, Rob Wilson may come bearing gifts but all that glitters is not necessarily gold.  Though I’m happy (and hoping) for Rob to prove me wrong.

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