Tory anger over town hall lesbians

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The Independent Online

Jaci Taylor is prepared for the howls of outrage that will come from certain quarters when she is sworn in as mayor of the Welsh coastal town of Aberystwyth next week. The Plaid Cymru councillor of four years announced yesterday that she has chosen her lesbian partner as mayoress.

For Ms Taylor, 55, the decision is simply a logical one and she does not intend to be deflected by reactions based on what she clearly regards as a specious morality.

She points out that she has never made her relationship a secret and sees no reason to make it clandestine now. She has two daughters from a previous marriage, but has been in a relationship with Felicity Roberts, a mother of six, for the past 20 years.

"It does take a lot of guts to make a decision like this," she said. "But everyone has a place in society and everyone is equal, whether it is in terms of sexuality, race or culture.

"We have been together for 20 years and have never hidden the fact that we are together. Everybody we know has accepted us as a couple. To be honest, while I've never sought to conceal our relationship, I've never really thought about talking about it either until now."

"It shouldn't really be an issue. There are more important issues like getting a better life for people."

Thus, when Ms Taylor was elected mayor, it seemed perfectly natural to choose Ms Roberts as her mayoress. But not everyone sees it that way.

"It degrades the position of mayor," thundered Aubrey Palmer, chairman of the local Conservatives. "I only heard about this today so it has come as quite a shock. It is going to cause quite a storm in Aberystwyth because it is not normally something we associate with this town. Things like this don't normally happen here."

Whatever the Tories think, Ms Taylor enjoys the complete approval of her husband, David, from whom she separated in 1980. He will be there at next week's swearing in ceremony.