Yes. This is a blog about same-sex marriage and Rob Wilson, but before we get to the meat and two veg, some disclosure from me is probably apt.
Being Muslim, I’m acutely aware of the common-or-garden opinion of people of a religious bent, and probably Muslims in particular. The prevailing view – and it might well be correct – is that religious nutters view homosexuals as, as one guy on Twitter put it, ‘abomination’.
I don’t roll like that.
Many religious commentators on this issue seem to be presenting a dichotomy in which those ‘with religion’ present and perceive themselves not only as perfect, but also as arbiters of how those who are either not religious or who do not conform to their interpretation of religious doctrine should live their life. I utterly reject the view that homosexuality is an abomination. Who am I to judge how consenting adults should experience and express love?
So, how others live their personal lives, how they practice religion, how they express love and who they express it to and with is no concern of mine. But how my MP votes affects how my friends, colleagues, and even complete strangers live their lives. It’s my responsibility to protect my friends and neighbours from discrimination, from hatred, from ignorance.
The overwhelming opinion from all different parties – at least across my Twitter feed – seems to be in support of the same sex marriage Bill, voted on tonight. And my gut instinct is to support it, and I know the majority of Liberal Democrats nationally, and in Reading, clearly feel the same.
Rob Wilson, Conservative MP for Reading East has chosen to hide his personal feelings from his constituency. His explanation of why he abstained from voting in favour of same sex marriage gives a litany of what appear to be reasonable points against the same sex marriage bill. But the really telling thing is what he left out of the vanilla press release.
In amongst telling us how many letters and emails he read, and how many people he met, and how he has concerns that the Bill itself wasn’t in the Conservative Manifesto or the Coalition Agreement, Rob deftly neglects to tell us only his ownpersonal opinion on same sex marriage. But his voting record on equal gay rights (as theyworkforyou.com terms it) gives him away, and for a man who hardly ever votes against the party line, abstaining on this issue, at this time, perhaps highlights how strongly he feels.
We judge people by their deeds, not their words, and Rob’s deeds in this area seem to leave a lot to be desired. And that’s before we get the chance ask why he apparently makes time for Twitter based sarcasm.
In abstaining, Rob Wilson placed himself, as some are saying, on the wrong side of history, and his obfuscation from us of his actual personal opinion on this issue is rightly a concern. This is a matter of Human Rights. Of course the same sex marriage legislation isn’t perfect, but it’s a start, and I don’t believe for a moment that every piece of legislation that Rob Wilson actually votes for is perfect. Legislation evolves, and this is a step in the right direction. I’d have thought that Rob Wilson could have got that straight.