New British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made his first appointment of an openly gay person in his administration. Member of Parliament Conor Burns was named minister of State for international trade.
The Department of International Trade announced the appointment Thursday.
Burns, a member of the Conservative Party, captured attention in 2012 when he voiced opposition to marriage equality legislation on religious grounds and suggested there was “no clamour for this at all within the gay community,” News Letter reported.
The out politician ultimately supported legislation when language was inserted assuring religious institutions would not be forced to host ceremonies.
Burns later said that when the Roman Catholic bishop of Portsmouth still objected to the legislation, he left the church, according to The Telegraph.
“When people are not in communion with the Catholic Church on such a central thing as the value of life of the unborn child, and also in terms of the teachings of the church on marriage and family life — they are voting in favour of same-sex marriage — then they shouldn’t be receiving Holy Communion,” Bishop Philip Egan said in 2014.
Trade Secretary Liz Cruss praised Burns’s selection as international trade minister.
— Liz Truss (@trussliz) July 25, 2019
“Thank you Liz. Really looking forward to working with you,” Burns replied.
Johnson’s ascension to prime minister and near-complete reshuffling of the United Kingdom’s government has been met with protests, including by LGBTQ groups.
He has also appointed a number of marriage equality opponents to his administration, which was decried by Labour Party leaders as the “most anti-human rights” Cabinet in decades.