Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Thank You

Today was a historic day when the main hurdle for the Equal Marriage Bill becoming law was passed thanks to the votes of 400 Conservative, Lib Dem and Labour MPs.

I want to say thank you to the brave and strong leadership of our conservative Prime Minister David Cameron. In the face of opposition from his own benches he today put the needs of the country and its people first and pushed forward with the Equal Marriage proposals. The reforms David Cameron has made as leader of the Conservative Party are one of the reasons I felt able to join the party and its great to see this culmination of his hard work. Thank you for helping LGBT people across the UK be one step close to being able to celebrate love, Transgender people be able to stay married to their loved one and for leading the Conservative Party into the progressive 21st Century.

I also wanted to say thank you to Maria Miller MP. When she took over as Equalities Minister she faced a raft of abuse and criticism focusing on her past and not looking at her skills and commitments she had made for the future. Today saw her leading on bringing forth the Equal marriage Bill and challenging the arguments made against introducing Equal marriage in England and Wales. She was forthright, clear and determined and  I respect her a great deal for the role she has played in carrying equal marriage bill through and leading the debate in the chamber. Thank you Maria Miller I know people across the UK are feeling happier tonight thanks to your hard work.

Finally I would like to thank Liberal Democrat and former Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone MP. She is an MP I respect a great deal, her hard work, persistence and passion has helped drive the equal marriage work within government as well as the wider equality agenda. She has been a fantastic advocate on transgender issues (which is often an issue hard to find advocates in the House of Commons on) and has remained positive and engaging on the issue of equal marriage winning people over and make a clear argument for why we should be supporting its introduction. I know many LGBT friends will join me in saying thank you Lynne we are proud of you and all your work!

A big thank you for every single person who has written to their MP, spoken on the radio, spoken to MPs in person, written blogs and done a whole variety of campaigning activities trying to show positively why we need equal marriage in the UK you have all made a difference and together shown what we can achieve when we unite across political, social and stereotypical divides to focus on an issue to bring happiness to 100 000s of people in the UK.

Finally a big thank you to the religious MPs Labour, Lib Dem or Conservative who voted to allow freedom despite their personal views on marriage and sexuality and those MPs that in the face of 100s of letters from constituents against equal marriage had the strength of their convictions to do the right thing for over 2.5 million LGBT people in the UK you have stood on the right side of history today and I thank you for the difficult decision you have made.

Equal Marriage is on its way to becoming law and the UK is better for it!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Dear Prime Minister - Equal Marriage

Letter to the Prime Minister I will be Posting tomorrow.

Dear Prime Minister

I am writing to you not as a Conservative Party Association Chairman or other quasi elected party official, but as an ordinary member of the Conservative Party, an activist, a campaigner and someone who joined over a year ago thanks to seeing the direction you have took the party and reforms you have made as party leader.

I'm a Bisexual and Transgender women those labels don't define me but instead are relevant because when it comes to equal marriage the proposals effect me personally.

As a conservative I believe in freedom and liberty, values I know you share as do many other members young and old. At the heart of these freedoms should be personal liberty and religious conscience. For too long the state has interfered in the loving relationships of same sex couples across the UK and in religious practice through the "banning" of same sex marriage. No religion should be forced to carry out ceremonies they do not feel in their own conscience they can conduct and no one should be forced to accept same sex marriage in their own religious institution. However no religion should be told by a conservative lead government and state that they are not allowed to carry out a religious ceremony, in this case same sex marriage if they so wish.

These freedoms are at the bedrock of conservative ideology and policy and are values we should hold up before all others. This debate is not simply one of equality but of ignorance blinding the values that the majority of conservatives hold. We need to show that by supporting the rights of loving couples we are delivering on the values that we can all support as a party regardless of our own individual views on same sex marriage.

The family is also at the center of most Conservative members political make up. Marriage with commitment brings stability and structure to help families grow and to provide a positive environment for the bringing up and caring for children too. Whether a family is built around a same sex relationship or one of the opposite sex we should be empowering families to give that commitment to each other and provide good homes for themselves and the next generation of children in the UK.

One thing that has not been discussed in the media is the positive effect the changes are going to have for transsexual people. When Labour introduced Civil Partnerships they left transsexual people out in the cold where they were forgot about when the legislation was drawn up. When a transsexual person transitions from the gender that was assigned to them at birth to one they "truly" are, they may be lucky enough to gain the support of their long term married partner (many transsexual people face isolation and relationship break ups when they transition) but despite this support they will face the difficult and traumatic experience of having to tell their husband or wife that in order for them to "change their gender" they have no legal choice but to annul their marriage or they will not be entitled to receive a gender recognition certificate (new birth certificate). Having talked to transsexual people who have experienced this it can be traumatic isolating and distressing for all involved and at a time when they may be very vulnerable and experiencing mental health distress this adds to their suffering. Its great that under the Equal Marriage Bill transsexual people will no longer have to annul their marriage in order to change their gender an inclusion I know my self and most members of the transgender community welcome immensely.

I know that this letter will not get the same level of recognition and media attention as the 23 Conservative association Chairman that have today handed you a letter opposing equal marriage, but as a loyal supporter, proud conservative and hopefully future Conservative Councillor or MP (Offices I aspire to achieve during my lifetime) I hope you will take time to read it and take my comments on board.

Kind Regards

Tara Hewitt

Conservative Party Member
Wallasey Constituency

email: tara1985@hotmail.com