David Cameron painted a picture at the turn of this decade. The Conservatives were new, brand new and very gay-friendly. But as it stands we have three out of five PM candidates whose voting history on LGBT rights is deplorable (or non-existent) and two who have a fair weather relationship with the gay community.

Painted as the party that brought in same-sex marriage, David Cameron would have had us believe that the Tories had finally changed.

But it seems all he had actually created was the almost perfect veneer.

Modern, forward thinking and accepting, but like all veneers, it’s what’s behind all that shine that really matters and what I’m seeing is rotten.

With the departure of Cameron, we’re on the edge of having a country run by those who either wouldn’t vote on LGBT issues – so beneath them apparently is our humanity  that they wouldn’t even vote on life changing legislation, or those who, some might say are sheep in a wolf’s clothing, having had a long history of voting consistently against gay rights – and then almost like a light switch, all change, just like that.

And while voting for equality for the LGBT community is commendable and admirable if it’s just lip service or a ploy to further career prospects – I’d rather not have you on our side. I’d rather deal with one face rather than two, at least you know where you stand.

It’s becoming patently clear that same-sex marriage, the most historic piece of legislation this decade and one of the cornerstones of Cameron’s progressive Tories, was only won because of the coalition government with the Liberal Democrats.

It might surprise you to find out that the majority of Conservative MPs voted against marriage equality including two of the current Prime Minister candidates: Stephen Crabb and Liam Fox. Michael Gove voted yes for gay marriage but then was absent for other key elements that would complete that equality.

In total 136 Conservative MPs voted against the ability for gay and lesbian men and women to be treated equally under the law.

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Andrea Leadsom couldn’t be persuaded either way. She found parts of the new law “unacceptable” and abstained from the vote. In fact, she’s not voted on any LGBT legalisation since her 2010 induction to parliament.

So here we are, five candidates, all vying for the top spot in Westminster. All of them have dubious voting, three of them clearly aren’t in our corner despite any backtracking they may have done in the past few days – and for this we, as a community, need to be worried.

If nothing else the vote on the EU has lifted the lid on a Britain that many of us thought we’d left behind in the last century, we’ve had racial and homophobic tensions on the streets – with an increase of hate crime being reported, Brexit it seems, has given some on that side of the argument a feeling that open bigotry is acceptable.

I’ve written to all five candidates about allaying legitimate fears our readers have put forward about LGBT protections as a new government forms – nearly 24 hours later – nothing.

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Like all veneers, the shine is only skin deep and eventually, it will crack. If we’re not careful it’s wholly possible that our rights, our freedoms could be rolled back.


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About the author: Jake Hook
The editor and chief of THEGAYUK. All in a previous life wrote and produced songs on multi-platinum records.

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