Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Updated: MPs vote for gay marriage

MERIDEN Conservative MP Caroline Spelman and Solihull Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt tonight voted in favour of plans to allow gay marriage.

Click the headline or link below to read the rest of this story. Speaking ahead of tonight's vote, Mrs Burt said: "I have listened to both sides of the argument on same sex marriage. It seems to me that if we want to live in an equal society, we have to ensure minorities are fairly and equally treated but not at the expense of freedom of religion. This Bill ensures that both are protected that is why I have supported it."

Mrs Spelman said: "A large number of my constituents have been in touch with me about the issue of Gay Marriage that was debated in the House of Commons yesterday evening. I received emails and letters on both sides of the debate and I am grateful for all of these comments. As you may know, I supported the Government’s bill.

"I have wrestled with the question of what would Jesus do and have come to the conclusion that I cannot look my friends in the face, simply because they are gay, and say that marriage is not open to them. I want to support those who commit to each other for life. Marriage is a wonderful institution and I don’t believe that same sex marriage will damage marriages between a man and a woman.

"It will be up to different religious organisations to decide if, or how they wish to take this forward. Some, like the Quakers are in favour and will recognise same sex weddings. The Church of England will not be required to do so.

"A number of constituents have been in touch with me to express their concern that teachers holding the view that marriage is between one man and one woman would face the sack. This is not true as the Education Secretary has made it clear that a teacher is free to express a personal opinion as they are in relation for example to divorce.

"There is nothing in the School Teacher’s Pay and Conditions Document that sets down what a teacher should or shouldn’t teach. I appreciate you may not share my views, but I hope you will understand the stance I have taken was based on my conscience and only after considerable soul searching.