Commons Deputy Speaker comes out

Timothy Kincaid

December 19th, 2010

Nigel Evans, the Deputy Speaker of the Commons, has had a less than stellar history on gay-supportive legislation. His past has included voting for Section 28, legislation that banned affirmative discussion of homosexuality in schools, though in recent years he has been supportive of the community.

Now he is announcing what has long been an open secret, he is gay. Further, he is helping found a gay caucus within parliament. (mailonline)

The Deputy Speaker of the Commons is to come out as gay tomorrow to mark the launch of a Parliamentary group that will help MPs and staff be open about their homosexuality.

Senior Tory MP Nigel Evans, who deputises for Speaker John Bercow, says he is ‘tired of living a lie’ and has received threats of blackmail in the past from political enemies.

In what is perhaps an ironic turn, of the 22 out parliamentarians, 13 are Tories, the conservative party. (Though I rather suspect that if truth were known, Republicans might have a similar ratio in the US). His party leadership is fully behind his decision to come forward. The Tories have made a concerted effort to distance themselves from old anti-gay positions and to adopt a pro-gay image and platform.

In addition to response to a new openness within the Tories, there is also speculation that Evans’ announcement serves as “clearing the air” for a potential run at Speaker of the Commons.

Other Fred in the UK

December 19th, 2010

I am sorry, but I don’t think the term ‘gay caucus’ is a brilliantly accurate description of what ‘Parli-Out’ will be. It implies more power and influence than I reckon it would wield.

Also Nigel Evans MP is not the deputy speaker, he is one of three deputy speakers.

Dan

December 19th, 2010

“The Tories have made a concerted effort to distance themselves from old anti-gay positions and to adopt a pro-gay image and platform.”

In time, conservative politicians will do this in the US too. Already, 20% of Republican Senators have voted to repeal DADT. The question is, when will US Republicans look something like UK Tories on LGBT rights? Two years from now, or 15?

We can help accelerate the change — just as we got DADT repeal passed by contacting legislators, withholding financial support from the DNC, and so on.

Other Fred in the UK

December 19th, 2010

It is an interesting question as to whether and when the Republicans may try and emulate the Tories. I have two observations to make. First, the Tories wished to publically distance themselves from many of their old policies and ‘detoxify’ the Tory brand (the Tories had become unelectable without change). Very publically changing their stance on gay-rights was a means to draw attention wider policy changes, and win back many moderate centre-ground voters. Second, although we have no separation of church and state, we have, in practice, a clear separation of religion and politics. Politicians who use the bible to argue for or against something loose all credibility in Britain, even the Bishops find secular argument to be more productive to advancing their perfered policies.

Clifton

December 20th, 2010

“Politicians who use the bible to argue for or against something loose all credibility in Britain”

As it should be. Unfortunately American culture is still plagued by out dated biblically based religious mythology.

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