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Gay minister Crispin Blunt's shock comments on homosexuality

A MINISTER who outed himself as a closet homosexual faces charges of hypocrisy over his record on gay rights.

Prisons Minister Crispin Blunt once claimed homosexuality is "not equivalent to heterosexuality" in a Parliamentary debate.

He continued: "It is also clear that there is a much greater strand of homosexuality than of heterosexuality which depends for its gratification on the exploitation of youth."

When other MPs cried out, "Shame!" he added: "I am sorry if Labour Members do not like the truth, but I do not intend to run away from the difficult issues."

The top Tory announced he was leaving his wife of 20 years on Friday, to "come to terms with my homosexuality".

But his shock remarks in a 1998 debate will stun gay rights campaigners, and leave him open to charges of hypocrisy.

The MP opposed a string of landmark equality legislation during his time in Parliament, including voting against lowering the gay age of consent in line with heterosexual couples.

During the debate, he said: "I believe it right that our law should discriminate in that limited way between homosexual and heterosexual practice.

"While I accept that, in law, we should tolerate people's choices to follow a homosexual life style and practice, I maintain that those are not equivalent to heterosexuality - nor should we pretend that they are."

The gay rights charity Stonewall has slammed Mr Blunt’s voting record, rating him just 36 per cent for his attitude towards lesbian, gay and bisexual equality issues.

He voted against gay couples adopting, and backed a bill designed to make it harder for lesbian couples to have equal access to IVF treatment.

And he did not vote on the repeal of Section 28, as he was absent at the time.

David Cameron has since apologised for the controversial act, which forbids the "promotion" of homosexuality in schools.

He was absent for 10 other votes on similar issues.

Mr Blunt, who was an officer in the armed forces before entering politics, opposed moves in 1998 to lift the ban on openly gay men serving in the military.

He said at the time: "The intangible that is military ethos has been progressively undermined.

"Letting overt gays in is another stage in this process."

However, Mr Blunt voted in favour of civil partnerships and in favour of outlawing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

The minister - uncle of awardwinning actress Emily Blunt - has a son and a daughter with wife Victoria.

He is the 11th Tory MP to come out as gay, and the first since the Tories entered government.



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