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MPs split over plans to bring in gay marriage
4:35pm Tuesday 5th February 2013 in News
EAST Lancashire MPs are split over Government plans to legalise gay marriage before voting on the issue tonight.
Hyndburn’s Graham Jones is set to vote in favour after a months of agonising on the issue.
Pendle Tory Andrew Stephenson will back the measure, but his Rossendale and Darwen colleague Jake Berry will vote against it.
Chorley’s Lindsay Hoyle and Ribble Valley’s Nigel Evans cannot express an opinion because as Deputy Speakers they will chair debates on The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
Mr Evans, who came out as gay in 2010, is understood to privately support it.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller said introducing same-sex marriage was ‘the right thing to do’ despite a rift in the Conservative Party over the plans.
Up to 120 Tory MPs, including some Cabinet Ministers, are likely to oppose the bill enabling same-sex couples to marry in civil and religious ceremonies in England and Wales.
The Church of England will be banned from offering same-sex marr-iages. Other religious organisations will be able to ‘opt in’.
Mr Birtwistle said: “I will vote against gay marriage. I don’t see why Parliament is getting involved. Marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Mr Straw said: “I shall be voting in favour of gay marriage because it is a way of contributing to the commitment of those who love each other. I cannot see how allowing marriage for gay couples can possibly affect straight couples who get married.”
Mr Stephenson said: “I support same sex marriage. I strongly favour equal treatment.”
Mr Berry said in December: “I will not be voting in favour of the bill. I am concerned the safeguards are inad-equate.”
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said: “I wish I did not have to vote. Having thought about this for five to six months I have come down in favour of equalisation.”
Bishop of Burnley and Acting Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev John Goddard said: “Many people of both sides of the argument believe this legislation is being pushed through in haste and without proper consultation. I support civil partnerships.”
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