Baroness Barker: Nicky Morgan’s appointment “disappointing”

Protest against a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriageThe appointment of former treasury minister Nicky Morgan to the post of education secretary and minister for women and equalities has come under fire from Liberal Democrat peer Elizabeth Barker given Morgan’s recent opposition to same sex marriage (though it should be pointed out that the responsibility for the implementation of same sex marriage has been given to skills and enterprise minister Nick Boles).

Pink News has the story:

Speaking to PinkNews, Baroness Barker said: “It is good to see equalities firmly within education, but it is disappointing that the Conservatives appointed another Minister who opposed same sex marriage.”

Downing Street has defended the appointment of Mrs Morgan, saying as she is also the Education Secretary, she will be responsible for tackling issues such as homophobic bullying in schools.

Many have questioned her appointment, however, as Mrs Morgan, elected to Parliament in 2010, voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act at second and third reading last year, stating that “marriage is between a man and a woman.”

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18 Comments

  • For goodness sake. Attack her on what she does in education by all means, but the idea that someone isn’t fit to serve in high office for opposing gay marriage is beneath us. I hope and expect she’ll be a big improvement on her predecessor.

    This witch-hunt against people who don’t support gay marriage – and the suggestion that they have no interest or ability in the field of equalities – has to stop.

  • Helen Tedcastle 17th Jul '14 - 10:29am

    This is ridiculous. It is not illegal to have opposed gay marriage. It is not illegal to support the traditional concept of marriage. There are many many issues which are going to fall onto Nicky Morgan’s desk – she should be judged for her competence in the round not pounced on like this before she has even started.

    The real story at education this week is the exit and demotion of Gove to Chief Whip. We should be celebrating that.

  • Daniel Henry 17th Jul '14 - 10:32am

    What Helen and tpfkar said.

  • No purges please. While many were opposed to gay marriage for homophobic reasons, it was perfectly possible to be opposed and not be homophobic at all, as proven by the fact that some gay people themselves were opposed to it.

  • Helen Tedcastle 17th Jul '14 - 12:57pm

    @ George Potter Nicky Morgan is not handling the gay marriage implementation. To assert that she is against equality per se is rather ludicrous.

    Also as others have said, it is not actually a sign of casual homophobia to oppose gay marriage. Otherwise you will have call those people who are gay who oppose same-sex marriage, homophobic also – which is crazy logic.

    It’s interesting to note how casual labelling as ‘homophobes’ and vigilant policing of those opposed to gay marriage, is regarded as acceptable behaviour by some Liberal Democrats.

    The party has a proud history of dissent and respecting conscience, lest some people forget.

  • “It is perfectly justifiable to oppose someone holding the equalities brief when they have voted against equality. ”

    Begging the question.

    Why is a vote against gay marraige necessarly a vote against equality, what is equality, what happens when you have two conflicting moral views, so many ways it can be interpreted, equality is nothing but a social construct so the idea there is only one interpretation of it is silly.

  • @George Potter
    According to the Guardian, Nicky Morgan had three reasons for voting against the equal marriage bill :-

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/15/equalities-minister-voted-against-gay-marriage-nicky-morgan

    I don’t think any of her reasons are to do with homophobia. If believing that marriage should have stayed as it was (i.e. between a man and a woman) is necessarily “homophobic” then you would have to call this man homophobic too :-

    http://www.gloucestershireecho.co.uk/Interview-Flamboyant-actor-Christopher-Biggins/story-20357610-detail/story.html

    There were plenty of other gay people who believed that marriage was a heterosexual institution and should have stayed that way. Now I don’t agree with these people and I am glad we now have equal marriage. But bullying dissenters by calling them “homophobes” when they actually might believe passionately in equality, but just have a different idea to you of what equality actually means, just comes over as arrogant and unreasonable.

    As for your other points – according to what I’ve just read Morgan is NOT opposed to abortion rights so I think you need to provide a source for that allegation. And I am scratching my head in bewilderment wondering what on earth alternative medicine has got to do with equality.

    My use of the word “purge” is entirely correct – it does not necessarily imply violence, as any good dictionary will tell you.

  • Graham Evans 17th Jul '14 - 1:55pm

    I wonder whether those who are now so supportive of Nicky Morgan are in reality preparing the ground for defending Tim Farron’s stance on gay marriage should he eventually run for leadership of the Party.

  • Graham Evans 17th Jul '14 - 2:18pm

    It is unfortunate that the term heterosexualism (see wikipedia) has not caught on since it probably more accurately describes people like Nicky Morgan who do not support equality before the law for LGBT people.

  • @Graham Evans
    Morgan has stated that she accepts the decision that was made and regards it as her duty to uphold the law as it now stands. She has moved on and appears to bear no malice to those who were her opponents.

    From where I’m sitting she’s looking morally superior to those who want to pursue a vendetta against her.

  • Graham Evans 17th Jul '14 - 9:47pm

    @Stuart
    Accepting a decision is not the same as believing that decision to be right. While barristers may be trained to argue that black is white if that is what their client requires, there is plenty of evidence that most people, if only in subtle ways and subconsciously , will either try to circumvent a law with which they disagree, or only half-heartedly follow through the logical consequences of a decision. Moreover, in those schools where the school leadership themselves believe that homosexuality is wrong, there will inevitably be a feeling that they can get away with circumventing the legal requirements because the person at the top shares their opinion. It is surely significant that even David Cameron did not trust Nicky Morgan to handle the follow-up on the gay marriage act, instead delegating that responsibility to Nick Boles.

  • @Graham Evans
    This is getting closer and closer to Orwell’s “Thought Police.” How can we have any open debates about anything if it is known that those who turn out to represent the majority view will regard those on the other side of the argument as eternally flawed even when they make it clear that they willingly accept the democratic decision.

    I haven’t a clue whether Nicky Morgan will make a good Secretary of State for Education but I certainly do not think that her suitability should be judged upon which way she argued on the now clearly settled issue of whether legally recognised gay pertnerships should be permitted to be called marriage.

  • James Sandbach 18th Jul '14 - 10:56am

    I’m with George and Liz on this – the appointment (just on the equalities brief) sends a message that the Govt. never agreed with equal marriage – wasn’t for the good of society but was a concession to the libdems.

    I don’t understand why the Secretary of State of Education should be the lead equalities Minister anyway not withstanding their interest in social mobility and bullying in schools (under the tory narrative equality is ONLY about social mobility through educational life-chances in childhood); the Equalities Minister brief needs to be a cross cutting one in Govt. though the Departments it engages the most are DWP, Justice & Home Affairs none of whom show the slightest interest in equalities issues and positively work against equality most of the time. Big Sigh!

  • @James Sandbach
    Of course equalities used to be within the Home Office, with the person ultimately responsible being Theresa May, though the equalities brief was delegated to Lynne Featherstone initially. This didn’t seem to worry Lib Dems at the time, in fact I remember (though it seems ironic now!) that May was very popular with LDV folk back in 2010, most of whom praised her for her civil liberties credentials despite the fact she’d voted to keep Section 28 just seven years previously.

    If it was OK for May to oversee gay equality issues then, I really don’t see what the problem is with Morgan doing it now.

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