Wycombe MP, Steve Baker, attended Wycombe Pride today and speaking to the Free Press discussed his vote 11 years ago against same-sex marriage.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act which was passed by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition government in 2013 and therefore legalised same-sex. Mr Baker’s vote in Parliament against this act is frequently brought up to him in interviews.

Attending Wycombe Pride, he discussed his vote with the Free Press: “I am very grateful that I’ve been made welcome [at Wycombe Pride] because I know that the vote on same-sex marriage was an extremely painful time for people. This isn’t my first pride in Wycombe and I’m very grateful to be here and I’m grateful to be supported by Harry from my team as well.”

When asked how he felt to represent the Conservative party at Wycombe Pride he said “I am very proud to represent the Conservative party. I think that people do forget that although it was a painful vote, it was the Conservative party who brought it forward and implemented same-sex marriage.”

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He explained his reasoning behind his vote saying that “At the time, I felt that it would cause the church an enormous problem, which it subsequently has. And I also felt that we needed a much more radical reform of marriage to fit marriage of the 21st century.”

Continuing, he added that “If people go and look at the Law Commission website, that is just what they are proposing. Now, I’ve never had a problem with same-sex marriage, I have two gay couples who are my friends, I went to one of their weddings. It is so painful for me to know how much pain my vote caused people here in Wycombe. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be here and to talk to you.”

He finished by adding that: “I think it has to be said that the overwhelming majority of expressed opinion of those in Wycombe at the time of the vote was against. It was because people hadn’t been warmed up to it. I think now today, people are overwhelmingly comfortable with where we are and I really hope the Law Commission’s proposals take marriage further forward so we can really de-politicise marriage.

“We don’t want politicians and the state getting involved in people’s love lives. I’m very happy to be here and to let people know that for all the difficulties that I am here for them and I want them to know that I support them. I’m grateful that Harry is here from my team.”

Harry, who works with Mr Baker in Parliament told the Free Press what Pride meant to him, saying that: “I think there is a certain aspect of just really being able to be yourself. Unfortunately, and as we saw outside the Two Brewers in Clapham, LGBT hate crimes are still happening and I still get abuse when I’m on the trains and to be able to be somewhere where you feel completely safe, I think it is something that people from outside the LGBT+ community don’t necessarily realise.

“That pride is just a place where LGBT+ people can be themselves, can feel safe and can just have a beautiful aura of positivity and inclusiveness and being part and feeling part of a community which often has been so marginalised and still can be today.”