Groom cake decorations on a wedding cake
NORTH East MPs last night overwhelming backed the Government’s plans to legalise gay marriage.
Only four of the region’s MPs voted in the House of Commons against plans to allow same sex marriage, with religious objections cited in some cases.
Berwick’s Sir Alan Beith, a Methodist, voted against the move, saying church groups were not sufficiently protected.
Blyth’s Ronnie Campbell and North Tyneside’s Mary Glindon, both Catholic, also opposed the moves.
The House backed the proposals by 400 to 175 in a vote which split the Conservative Party down the middle.
David Cameron had made a last ditch appeal for support, but the Bill passed only with the strong support of Labour and Liberal Democrats.
And it was clear that scores of Tories had taken advantage of the free vote to register their opposition.
Blyth’s Ronnie Campbell had warned earlier this week that promises by the Government that the European Court of Human Rights would not be able to force an unwilling church to allow a marriage, were not strong enough.
And Sir Alan Beith last night told The Journal that he voted against on the first vote “but once the House had decided, I voted for all the motions necessary to allow it to proceed”.
“I respect the wish of same sex couples to commit to each other and celebrate their commitment,” Sir Alan said. “My concerns were that the bill redefined marriage, including religious marriage, that the safeguards for churches and teachers holding to a traditional view are not reliable, and that it creates different legal provisions between same sex and mixed sex marriage. It is not equal marriage.”
The Conservative MP for Stockton South, James Wharton, was another who voted against the Bill.
Elsewhere MPs of all parties showed their support, with Wansbeck’s Ian Lavery, Durham’s Kevan Jones and Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah all voting for.
Supporting the Bill as well was Hexham MP Guy Opperman. The Conservative told the Commons that “this country is on a journey and this House must move with it”.
In a widely praised speech, Mr Opperman said that as a Christian he “cannot conceive of a God who creates and allows and permits homosexuals but who would want to dent them matrimonial fulfillment”.