I am super-duper happy with the result of yesterday’s vote on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. Finally men and women in England can marry whoever they like! The only thing I’m upset about is that it appears I sent my postcard in vain… My local MP – Steve Barclay – is not listed among those who voted for, against or abstained the Bill.*
Maybe the postcard didn’t arrive on time, or maybe he didn’t pay attention to it since I no longer live in his constituency. Maybe there wasn’t enough local political pressure for him to vote. Whatever the reason he is not on the list of voters, the fact remains that there are gay, lesbian and bi-sexual individuals and couples living in his constituency who will have been affected by this vote and as their parliamentary representative, Barclay has a duty to represent their voices and political interests.
This Bill is a question of human rights, and by apparently not taking part on Tuesday, Barclay sends a clear message that he doesn’t care about the human rights of some of his constituents. It makes me wonder, had we been in 1960s Alabama (where my father grew up), would Barclay have voted in favour of full civil rights for African Americans? Would he have stood in the way of officially (and finally!) changing the state constitution to allow interracial couples to marry in 2000? I asked him on the postcard to make me proud of my hometown, and I still am, but obviously he isn’t proud of the same-gender loving couples living there.
So for me, this is undoubtedly a happy moment human rights and marriage equality. However it is still a sad moment in local politics.
*If I have made some sort of mistake and Steve is in fact listed somewhere, please let me know!