A continuation of the last post on the blog, click here to read the first part!
Lisa: A lot of the students we asked today said they didn’t know your vote on gay marriage.
Ellie: Yes, they asked ‘ask him why he said yes’, ‘ask him why he said no’. How did you vote?
I felt I couldn’t support the legislation as it was for a very simple reason, which is we’re signatories to the European Court of Human Rights, and my read of the legislation says it would make it more likely for a successful challenge for religious institutions being forced to marry. Any individuals could go through. I went from the starting point of, why would you not want to extend rights to every group? And I come to the position that is; it would be ironic that you would abridge the rights of religious institutions and individuals to extend them in another group. That’s a very difficult thing to square off. So I took the view that to not vote for the legislation was the right way through. That’s a bit of a nightmare because obviously it frustrates everyone. The hundreds of people that got in touch with me and said I want you to vote against this legislation. The handful- honestly the handful- who got in touch with me and said I want to vote for it. And ultimately this is politics right? You don’t do what is always popular, you do what you think is right in that situation. I appreciate it isn’t the right situation and it looks like you’re sitting on the fence. But for me, the right decision I felt to make was to say I’ll start from the position that if I can vote for this I will and I feel like I can’t, so I’m abstaining on the legislation. It’ll go through with a massive majority, go through to the Lords and probably get picked apart but it will be passed into legislation.