Richard FullerDear Mr Fuller,
I feel inclined to email you as a fellow Bedfordian. I now live in Manchester, however, my family are all active voters in your constituency.
Growing up in Bedford is one of the few things in life I will always treasure. The river festival, Bedford community arts (now Bedford creative arts), and the many friends I have made from The Clarence (sadly closed) and the Barley Moe pubs I have since I came out as gay at the age of 16 in 1997.
I won’t lie, it was tough. My family took a while to accept me, and my friends would be heckled in the street, but it was a different time back then. Section 28 hadn’t been repealed so there was little support, when I wanted to give blood at the age of 18 I was told I couldn’t. I didn’t choose to be gay, but people in parliament chose to declare me second class.
As we’ve progressed in recent years I have come to believe that I am not a second class citizen, and I don’t believe that the majority of the population of Bedford would also believe that I am either. I have studied and worked hard all my life just as any other heterosexual has. I pay my taxes and I support my friends and my family. So I’m not so different from you, no?
When I read this evening that you were already deciding to vote against the equal marriage bill I was incredibly disheartened because firstly, it’s not even been officially debated yet and secondly I believe that it is your job to represent the majority of the people in Bedford and Kempston. If you need proof, look at every poll going – the people whom you represent agree with equal marriage.
David Cameron has already made it very clear that religious institutions will not have to perform ceremonies should they choose not too.
I am writing to beg you to reconsider your decision. Recently the church denied the possibility for women to become bishops. The church looked sexist and out of touch and I believe that a vote against equal marriage will have similar effects on both yourself and the conservatives. Please do not deny me, my friends and this gay people of Bedford the right to equal marriage. This isn’t about “gay marriage” this is more important than that. This is about equality.
Civil Partnerships, have been a great stepping stone for this legislation. But it is wrong for the gay community of Bedford to simply “make do” with that. I remember learning in school how people of different ethnic backgrounds could not get married, how black people would be forced to sit at the back of a bus, it’s embarrassing that a civilised society allowed that to happen, and as this bill makes history in British politics, I beg that you prove how progressive the Conservative party can be and vote YES to equal marriage when the time comes. Do not abstain and please show the gay community of Bedford that you see them as equal and prove it.
As someone recently said “we are all in this together”
Thank you
Anthony Maxwell
Sent from my iPad