The prime minister pledged lasting support for the Pride movement over the weekend, tweeting: “I will only be your prime minister for a few more weeks. But I will be your ally for the rest of my life.”
But when MPs were given a free vote on extending same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland if devolution is not restored, Ms May abstained.
Critics said her pledge was meaningless and claimed the rest of her life meant “a few days”.
Lyndsay Macadam, chief executive of Brighton-based LGBT+ charity Switchboard, called Ms May’s claims “empty and meaningless”.
“Switchboard is absolutely delighted by the huge step forward for LGBTQ equality across the UK that last night’s vote in Northern Ireland represents,” she said.
“However, whilst we understand that Northern Ireland politics are complex, we are saddened and disappointed that Theresa May did not feel able to demonstrate her allyship for LGBTQ communities in real terms in her final weeks as prime minister.
“Her claim on Pride weekend that she would ‘be your ally for the rest of my life’ are empty and meaningless in the light of this lack of support. To be an ally is not just to tweet during Pride, but to build relationships based on trust, consistency and accountability.”
One Twitter user posted: “Theresa May is not an LGBT+ ally and never will be.”
The prime minister’s spokesman declined to give a specific explanation for Ms May’s decision not to vote. However, he pointed out she had previously said she would like to see marriage equality extended across the UK but felt the correct forum to make the decision for Northern Ireland was the devolved assembly.
A No 10 source said: “The House of Commons delivered a clear message yesterday, and it is one the government has heard. There are, we believe, some technical issues with the amendments as they were presented. We want to take forward precisely the spirit of those amendments so we can act upon the principles they set out.
“There is also a general principle of devolution, in that it would be better for a re-formed Northern Ireland Executive to be able to take these issues forward. Clearly that isn’t the case just at the moment.”
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