Party leaders at Westminster today hailed the significance of the backing for same-sex marriage in England and Wales in a key Commons vote. Prime Minister David Cameron said the vote had been “an important step forward”.
Labour leader Ed Miliband called it a “proud day”. MPs voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill by 400 to 175 – a majority of 225 – but 136 Tory MPs opposed the bill and have continued to voice their concerns. MPs were given a free vote on the bill.
Records showed that of MPs in the West Midlands, 11 supported the bill and six – all of them Tories – opposed it.
Among the MPs to vote in favour was Aidan Burley (Conservative, Cannock Chase). He said he believed in equality.
“Marriage is a very conservative institution and one which Conservatives in particular ought to want to share with everyone,” Mr Burley added.
“It promotes stability in loving relationships and gives people more choice.”
Another Conservative MP, Gavin Williamson, voted against the bill. The MP for South Staffordshire said he believed it was poorly constructed and did not offer protection to churches.
Mr Williamson said: “I have a great fear that if this law is passed, in a few years’ time religious groups will be brought before the Court of Human Rights, demanding they perform gay marriages. I don’t think that’s right.”
Emma Reynolds (Labour, Wolverhampton North East), who supported the bill, said: “I don’t see why we would not extend that right to same sex couples.
“But we need to allow religious denominations and ministers to not have to marry same-sex couples.
“It’s already happened in other European countries so it can happen here.”