Does Equality Minister believe homosexuality is a sin?

// 10 May 2006

Well, she has refused to answer the question. But given that Ruth Kelly is both a Catholic and a member of the dodgy religious group Opus Dei, and given her voting record, who could blame us for drawing our own conclusions?

Kelly has insisted repeatedly that any private views on this issue are outweighed by her “collective responsibility” to implement government policy and the will of the Cabinet. But how hard will our Equality Minister push for equal rights for all, if in her heart of hearts she does not believe in it?

Worse still, Kelly has an appalling record of voting on gay rights issues. According to the Independent, she has missed “a series of votes of equal rights” since Labour came to power in 1997. She failed to turn up to vote on whether gay couples should be allowed to adopt and on whether to drop the age of consent for gay sex to 16.

Here are some choice quotes:

I don’t think it’s right for politicians to start making moral judgements about people … What I think the question is, is what are my political views? Those are the ones that I’m accountable for to the public. As a politician I think everybody should be free from discrimination.

Look, people have private views which they express in the House of Commons on votes of conscience in the usual way as members of Parliament. As a member of the Government, I have collective cabinet responsibility…

The Equality Minister should be absolutely committed to the cause; should be able to push hard to get these issues on the agenda. There are only so many issues that government can tackle in any one Parliament: how can we be sure that a minister who voted against gay adoption on principle will have the desire or ability to cajole the government into making fresh advances or defending the line?

She is also going to be responsible for implementing key legislation that will put discriminating on the grounds of sexual orientation on a par with discriminating on the grounds of race or gender.

How can she attack negative attitudes to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens she is meant to be representing, if she shares them? The answer is she looks to be utterly incapable of any such thing.

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