Stephen Gilbert MP, who did a brilliant summation on the Lib Dems' equal marriage motion, has come out in support of Tim Farron for party president. Like me his support as an openly gay man has raised one or two eyebrows with his friends. However, like me he has also clarified his position on LGBT rights with Tim himself. On his website he gives Tim's response as:
I am a passionate supporter of equal LGBT rights. But if you look at 'they work for you', I'm classed a s being 'opposed to equal gay rights' because of 2 of my votes on the Equalities bill. This is complete rubbish. I have complained to 'they work for you' about this.
The reality is that my votes on those two amendments were due to me taking what I considered to be a heavily liberal line on freedom of organisation and choice. You might not agree with my take on this, and Stonewall didn't, but Peter Tatchell and Outrage did.
I'm happy to argue whether or not I did the right thing, but please don't think that I'm some kind of homophobe!
Anyone who's known me over the 24 years that I've been a Liberal and a Liberal Democrat knows that this is the most outrageous rubbish.
Long before there was any public majority for LGBT rights I fought for the equalisation of the age of consent and for civil partnerships & the right to marry.
I am a radical liberal to my fingertips - and my anger at inequality caused by poverty and my anger at inequality caused by homophobia come from the same place.
But if anyone still thinks I'm 'a bit of a worry' I'd love them to come and talk to me.
As they say don't judge a book by a cover especially when it is the cover of 'they work for you' which looks at all votes on an issue, even the technical ones. As the man says if you have doubts ask, he's been more than willing to supply answers.