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Same-sex marriage vote divides Wharfedale and Aireborough MPs
3:39pm Thursday 7th February 2013 in Local news
Ilkley Tory MP Kris Hopkins voted in favour of same-sex marriage in England and Wales, telling the House of Commons that it was “the right thing to do”.
Mr Hopkins was joined by fellow Conservatives, Aireborough and Horsforth MP Stuart Andrew and Skipton MP Julian Smith who backed the controversial Bill to legalise gay marriage.
However, Menston and Burley-in-Wharfedale’s Conservative MP Philip Davies was among the Tories who defied David Cameron’s plea that gay marriage would make society stronger.
MP Greg Mulholland (Lib Dem, Leeds North West) was one of seven Liberal Democrats who abstained.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill – allowing same-sex weddings, including ceremonies in some churches that agree – is now poised to become law.
Mr Hopkins told MPs the “vast majority of people” supported the Bill, arguing: “This is right, it’s right that we promote marriage to all.”
He revealed he had been contacted by around 120 people regarding same-sex marriage, the vast majority of whom asked him to oppose the Bill. He said: “I would like to thank most of them for giving me considered and thoughtful views on both sides of the argument.”
But he added: “It is important to bear in mind that people of religious faith do not want churches to be forced to marry people of the same sex, but I am confident that we have put the necessary safeguards in place. I want to make it clear to my constituents who have that fear that the Government have taken the issue seriously and are embarking on the right route.”
Mr Mulholland said: “I agree that all adults must be treated equally in terms of legal recognition of their relationship and the rights that convey. The question is how best to deliver that at the same time as protecting freedom of conscience.
“The problem is that, as currently drafted, the Marriage Bill delivers neither of these. It is a confused and flawed piece of legislation.”
Outlining his reasons for voting against the Bill, Mr Davies described it as being badly drafted and said it had nothing to do with real equality. “There is no great clamour for this, it is totally unnecessary,” he said.
Mr Andrew, who is openly gay, argued the current law was unfair and said: “This does not undermine marriage. Offering it to others can only strengthen it.”