MPs vote in favour of gay marriage

David Cameron - backing gay marriage

David Cameron - backing gay marriage

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

MPS tonight (Tuesday, February 5) backed a controversial Bill to legalise gay marriage - but David Cameron suffered the embarrassment of most Tories refusing to support the move.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill - allowing same-sex weddings, including ceremonies in some churches that agree to host them - is now poised to become law.

But it only cleared a crucial Commons hurdle because of the overwhelming backing of Labour and the Lib Dems, despite being spearheaded by the prime minister A total of 134 Conservatives MPs opposed the legislation, on a free vote, and 35 more abstained - with only 126 in favour.

The vote, exposing a Tory party split down the middle on an issue that has provoked fury in many shires, damaged Mr Cameron’s attempts to project a modernising image.

As long ago as 2006, the future prime minister had argued for marriage “whether you're a man and a woman, a woman and a woman or a man and another man”.

And, in 2011, Mr Cameron told his party the reform would bind society together, saying: “I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative - I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.”

But many Conservatives protested there was no mandate for introducing gay marriage, because it was not included in the party's 2010 general election manifesto.

And others argued that - despite government promises of a “quadruple lock” of legal protections – churches could face a court challenge if they refused to allow gay couples to marry there.

Among Tories voting ‘no’ were James Wharton (Stockton South) and Anne McIntosh (Thirsk and Malton), who had both previously stated their opposition to the measure.

Mr Wharton raised fears that churches would be forced to perform ceremonies, while Ms McIntosh insisted marriage should remain “the union of a man and a woman”.

Robert Goodwill (Scarborough and Whitby) and Julian Sturdy (York Outer) also voted against, while William Hague (Richmond), the Foreign Secretary, was a strong supporter.

Almost all of the region’s Labour MPs supported gay marriage, although Alex Cunningham (Stockton North) and Pat Glass (Durham North West) missed the vote.

Mr Cunningham was abroad today (Tuesday, February 5), but had previously written to constituents to express his “reservations about it”, suggesting he would abstain.

A spokesman said: “He is not comfortable supporting the legislation, because of his personally held convictions.

“Alex believes that civil partnerships are sufficient and is not sure what changing from that status quo actually achieves?”

There was astonishment that David Cameron – despite personally pushing forward the gay marriage Bill – was nowhere to be seen when it was debated today.

Meanwhile, Margot James, the first openly lesbian Conservative MP, warned the Tories – like the Republicans, in the United States – risked losing elections if they stuck to a “socially Conservative agenda”.

At the weekend, 25 chairmen, or former, chairmen of Conservative party associations – including from Thirsk and Malton and Scarborough – spoke out against the Bill.

They wrote to Mr Cameron to warn that the policy will cause “significant damage” to the Conservatives at the 2015 general election.

Comments (10)

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7:59pm Tue 5 Feb 13

bunt61 says...

Talk about a 'smoke screen' the country is on its knees, the NHS is dying faster than its 'pathway' customers and this government is focused on gay marriage!!!!
Talk about a 'smoke screen' the country is on its knees, the NHS is dying faster than its 'pathway' customers and this government is focused on gay marriage!!!! bunt61
  • Score: 0

8:01pm Tue 5 Feb 13

Voice-of-reality says...

Was 'being on its knees' the best phrase to use given the issue.
Was 'being on its knees' the best phrase to use given the issue. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 0

8:16pm Tue 5 Feb 13

Jonn says...

Yipeeee!!! I thinks it's very touching of The Conservative Party to support gays wanting to marry with the blessing of the Lord. Those who criticise should remember what Jesus said about offering the other cheek.
Yipeeee!!! I thinks it's very touching of The Conservative Party to support gays wanting to marry with the blessing of the Lord. Those who criticise should remember what Jesus said about offering the other cheek. Jonn
  • Score: 0

9:01pm Tue 5 Feb 13

always right says...

Jonn wrote:
Yipeeee!!! I thinks it's very touching of The Conservative Party to support gays wanting to marry with the blessing of the Lord. Those who criticise should remember what Jesus said about offering the other cheek.
The conservative party might give their blessing !,,but i doubt very much the Lord would !. oh,ad which "CHEEK" are you refering to ?.
[quote][p][bold]Jonn[/bold] wrote: Yipeeee!!! I thinks it's very touching of The Conservative Party to support gays wanting to marry with the blessing of the Lord. Those who criticise should remember what Jesus said about offering the other cheek.[/p][/quote]The conservative party might give their blessing !,,but i doubt very much the Lord would !. oh,ad which "CHEEK" are you refering to ?. always right
  • Score: 0

9:42pm Tue 5 Feb 13

MSG says...

Futher isolation of some Conservative MP's and their supporters / voters. More defections ? UKIP must be laughing their socks off.
There are far more important things to be debating than this marriage issue!
Futher isolation of some Conservative MP's and their supporters / voters. More defections ? UKIP must be laughing their socks off. There are far more important things to be debating than this marriage issue! MSG
  • Score: 0

9:43pm Tue 5 Feb 13

Blankface says...

The gays married a few year back or the Con-Dems as they are normally known.
The gays married a few year back or the Con-Dems as they are normally known. Blankface
  • Score: 0

1:10pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Colcat says...

always right wrote:
Jonn wrote:
Yipeeee!!! I thinks it's very touching of The Conservative Party to support gays wanting to marry with the blessing of the Lord. Those who criticise should remember what Jesus said about offering the other cheek.
The conservative party might give their blessing !,,but i doubt very much the Lord would !. oh,ad which "CHEEK" are you refering to ?.
Don't think anyone has anything to worry about - something that doesn't exist can't bless OR object to anything.
[quote][p][bold]always right[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Jonn[/bold] wrote: Yipeeee!!! I thinks it's very touching of The Conservative Party to support gays wanting to marry with the blessing of the Lord. Those who criticise should remember what Jesus said about offering the other cheek.[/p][/quote]The conservative party might give their blessing !,,but i doubt very much the Lord would !. oh,ad which "CHEEK" are you refering to ?.[/p][/quote]Don't think anyone has anything to worry about - something that doesn't exist can't bless OR object to anything. Colcat
  • Score: 0

2:03pm Wed 6 Feb 13

frankyboy says...

I think this is yet another abuse of power by the Tories.
Marriage has been between a man and a woman for centuries. If the Tories want to change such an historic tradition of this country then they should treat the public with some respect and put it in an election manifesto, so that we know in advance that the change is going to be made. For the Tories to just decide to do it in mid-term, without any say by the public, is disgraceful.

In terms of the issue, I have no problem with it. It's just the abuse of power by the Tories that I object to.
I think this is yet another abuse of power by the Tories. Marriage has been between a man and a woman for centuries. If the Tories want to change such an historic tradition of this country then they should treat the public with some respect and put it in an election manifesto, so that we know in advance that the change is going to be made. For the Tories to just decide to do it in mid-term, without any say by the public, is disgraceful. In terms of the issue, I have no problem with it. It's just the abuse of power by the Tories that I object to. frankyboy
  • Score: 0

4:53pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Insel_Affen says...

frankyboy wrote:
I think this is yet another abuse of power by the Tories. Marriage has been between a man and a woman for centuries. If the Tories want to change such an historic tradition of this country then they should treat the public with some respect and put it in an election manifesto, so that we know in advance that the change is going to be made. For the Tories to just decide to do it in mid-term, without any say by the public, is disgraceful. In terms of the issue, I have no problem with it. It's just the abuse of power by the Tories that I object to.
Oh do knock it on the head!
.
If the Tories had done nothing about the issue, no doubt you'd have ranted on about how the Tories have ignored the issue. Remember, although they are there to represent you, they are also perfectly entitled to vote against what 'their public' want if they believe it's for the good and benefit of the country.
.
Dammed if they do, dammed if they don’t!
[quote][p][bold]frankyboy[/bold] wrote: I think this is yet another abuse of power by the Tories. Marriage has been between a man and a woman for centuries. If the Tories want to change such an historic tradition of this country then they should treat the public with some respect and put it in an election manifesto, so that we know in advance that the change is going to be made. For the Tories to just decide to do it in mid-term, without any say by the public, is disgraceful. In terms of the issue, I have no problem with it. It's just the abuse of power by the Tories that I object to.[/p][/quote]Oh do knock it on the head! . If the Tories had done nothing about the issue, no doubt you'd have ranted on about how the Tories have ignored the issue. Remember, although they are there to represent you, they are also perfectly entitled to vote against what 'their public' want if they believe it's for the good and benefit of the country. . Dammed if they do, dammed if they don’t! Insel_Affen
  • Score: 0

7:53pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Voice-of-reality says...

Further, the Tories gave parliament a chance to air their views but the Tories did not pass the motion.
Further, the Tories gave parliament a chance to air their views but the Tories did not pass the motion. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 0

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