Andrew Turner, Conservative MP of the Isle of Wight, has announced that he did not vote for gay marriage in Tuesday’s vote. Of course, he is Conservative and a lot of them still seem to be rather tense and behind the times on these matters, but it is his attitude towards those in his constituency that has annoyed islanders. Turner has been controversially quoted as saying:
“I am confident that we are all created in the image of God, whether we be straight, gay, bisexual or transsexual. We are all equally worthy in God’s sight and equally loved by God… but equalness does not always equate with being the same.”
This is, quite simply, a very confusing quote. Starting off sensibly, equating his religious views to modern society- he even goes on to say he believes everyone is equally welcome in heaven- he acknowledges four different types of people, of whom only one or two currently have the right to marry. He uses the word ‘equal’ so many times that he must surely want this equality to extend further within our lives, right? Of course not. He then completely contradicts himself with something that could surely win a prize for being idiotic. If equalness doesn’t equate with being the same, then what DOES it equate to? If equals means something different to two things that mean or are the same, then mathematics needs a serious makeover.
Furthermore, one of his biggest problems with the proposal is reportedly that no current MPs were elected on the promise of bring this measure in. However, does this really matter? Just because gay marriage wasn’t recognised by the parties as sufficiently important to bring up in this way during the election period does not or should not mean that they have to wait until the next election to test the water and see this policy through. There is plenty of support for it throughout the country, and although it is true that there is also plenty of opposition, this mostly comes from the older population who are very strongly stuck in their beliefs and in the way things have been throughout their lives. They should not be able to crush the beliefs and dreams of younger generations who want the country to move forward in its equality, and for those many gay people who just want to marry their partners and receive the same rights as straight couples.
Admittedly, Turner is MP for a predictably fairly backward constituency, due to its high proportion of older residents and dislocation from the rest of England, but there are many young people on the island who feel trapped, struggling to afford to move away, and they naturally dislike their MP’s complete disregard for their presence. If it is primarily the over 40’s, say, who are listened to, then no wonder our island is so stuck in the past: we need to move forwards with the rest of the UK, and not get stuck behind or even hinder everyone else.