8 April 2010
FITE Update 2: Tories and Gays
In recent years the Tories have tried hard to capture the pink vote, something unthinkable a decade or two ago. The Conservative Party has sought not only to change its image on this and similar issues, but there is substance too. In short, the Tories are more gay-friendly, as evident through various statements, Commons votes and policy changes. But it all went pear-shaped with Shadow Home Secretrary Chris Grayling's recent comment to the effect it was up to B&B owners' conscience whether they opened their homes to gay couples. Importantly, Cameron did not sack or publicly reprimand his Home Affairs spokesman, which has led one gay Tory activist to claim she will now vote Labour. This suggests that despite Cameron's positioning, the Labour Party is indeed the natural home of gay rights and activism, a view backed by how the government gleefully seized upon Grayling's comments to argue the Tories haven't changed on this issue. Meanwhile, Cameron's efforts to win some of the gay vote has failed... on two counts. First, gay activists are now openly calling for a vote in support of Labour. Second, by not sacking Grayling it would seem Cameron is not convinced of modern society's fixation with celebrating the gay lifestyle. Yet by seeking a via media he has also alienated many conservatives who reject special treatment on the basis of sexuality. How might this whole issue play out among Christians deciding how to vote?