How will each Labour MP vote on Equal Marriage?

February 5, 2013 8:14 am

Today much of the interest will be in the size of the Tory “rebellion” (it’s technically not a rebellion as it’s a “free vote”) over Equal Marriage. Labour MPs have also been offered a free vote on Equal Marriage, and thanks to research carried out by LGBT Labour and exclusively revealed below, we know how the vast majority of Labour MPs will be voting. All of the Shadow Cabinet will be backing Equal Marriage, but it’s worth noting that five Shadow Ministers (Tony Cunningham, Stephen Pound, Rob Flello, Gavin Shuker and Stephen Timms) are not believed to be backing Equal Marriage, with 3 – Cunningham, Pound and Flello – voting against and the other two abstaining.

The full list* is below:

Voting Against -13

Joe Benton
Sir Tony Cunningham
Jim Dobbin
Brian Donohoe
Robert Flello
Mary Glindon
Roger Godsiff
Paul Goggins
Michael McCann
Jim McGovern
Paul Murphy
Stephen Pound
Jim Sheridan

Abstaining – 5

Alex Cunningham
Austin Mitchell
Gavin Shuker
Stephen Timms
Virendra Sharma

Voting For – 225

Adrian Bailey
Alan Johnson
Alastair Darling
Albert Owen
Alison McGovern
Alison Seabeck
Anas Sarwar
Andrew Gwynne
Andrew Love
Andrew Miller
Andrew Slaughter
Andrew Smith
Andy Burnham
Andy McDonald
Andy Sawford
Angela Eagle
Angela Smith
Ann Clywd
Ann McKetchin
Anne Coffey
Anne McGuire
Barbara Keeley
Barry Gardiner
Barry Sheerman
Ben Bradshaw
Bill Esterton
Bob Ainsworth
Bridget Phillipson
Caroline Flint
Cathy Jamieson
Chi Onwurah
Chris Bryant
Chris Evans
Chris Leslie
Chris Ruane
Chris Williamson
Chuka Ummuna
Clive Betts
Clive Efford
Dai Harvard
Dame Anne Begg
Dame Joan Ruddock
Dame Margaret Beckett
Dame Tessa Jowell
Dan Jarvis
Dave Watts
David Anderson
David Blunkett
David Hamilton
David Hanson
David Heyes
David Lammy
David Miliband
David Winnick
David Wright
Debbie Abrahams
Dennis Skinner
Diana Johnson
Diane Abbott
Douglas Alexander
Dr Alan Whitehead
Dr Jack Dromey
Dr Stella Creasy
Dr Tristram Hunt
Ed Balls
Ed Miliband
Emily Thornberry
Emma Reynolds
Fabian Hamilton
Fiona MacTaggart
Fiona O’Donnell
Frank Dobson
Frank Doran
Frank Field
Frank Roy
Gareth Thomas
Gerry Sutcliffe
Gemma Doyle
Geoffrey Robinson
George Howarth
Geraint Davies
Gisela Stuart
Glenda Jackson
Gloria De Piero
Gordon Banks
Gordon Brown
Gordon Marsden
Graeme Morrice
Graham Allen
Graham Jones
Graham Morris
Graham Stringer
Gregg Mclymont
Harriet Harman
Hazel Blears
Heidi Alexander
Helen Goodman
Helen Jones
Hilary Benn
Hugh Bayley
Huw Irranca-Davies
Hywel Francis
Iain Wright
Ian Austin
Ian Davidson
Ian Lavery
Ian Lucas
Ian Mearns
Ian Murray
Ivan Lewis
Jack Straw
Jamie Reed
Jenny Chapman
Jeremy Corbyn
Jessica Morden
Jim Cunningham
Jim Dowd
Jim Fitzpatrick
Jim Murphy
Jimmy Hood
Joan Whalley
John Cruddas
John Cryer
John Denham
John Healey
John Mann
John McDonnell
John Robertson
John Woodcock
Jonathan Reynolds
Jon Trickett
Jonathan Ashworth
Julie Elliot
Julie Hilling
Karen Buck
Karl Turner
Kate Green
Kate Hoey
Katy Clarke
Keith Vaz
Kelvin Hopkins
Kerry McCarthy
Kevan Jones
Kevin Barron
Kevin Brennan
Khalid Mahmood
Liam Byrne
Lillian Greenwood
Linda Riordan
Lisa Nandy
Liz Kendall
Louise Ellman
Luciana Berger
Lucy Powell
Lynn Brown
Madeline Moon
Margaret Curran
Margaret Hodge
Maria Eagle
Mark Hendrick
Mark Lazarowicz
Mark Tami
Martin Caton
Mary Creagh
Meg Hillier
Meg Munn
Michael Connarty
Michael Dugher
Michael Meacher
Mike Gapes
Mike Wood
Natascha Engel
Nia Griffith
Nic Dakin
Nick Brown
Nick Raynsford
Nick Smith
Owen Smith
Pamela Nash
Pat Glass
Pat McFadden
Paul Blomfield
Paul Farrelly
Paul Flynn
Peter Hain
Phil Wilson
Rachel Reeves
Richard Burden
Roberta Blackman-Woods
Ronnie Campbell
Rosie Winterton
Rushanara Ali
Russell Brown
Sadiq Khan
Sandra Osborne
Sarah Champion
Seema Malholtra
Shabana Mahmood
Sharon Hodgson
Shaun Woodward
Sheila Gilmore
Sian James
Simon Danzcuk
Siobhain McDonagh
Stephen Doughty
Stephen Hepburn
Stephen Twigg
Steve McCabe
Steve Reed
Steve Rotherham
Susan Elan Jones
Teresa Pearce
Thomas Docherty
Toby Perkins
Tom Blenkinsop
Tom Greatrex
Tom Harris
Tom Watson
Valerie Vaz
Vernon Coaker
Wayne David
Willie Bain
Yasmin Quershi
Yvette Cooper
Yvonne Fovargue

Voting plans unknown – 12

Alan Campbell
David Crausby
Gerald Kaufman
Iain McKenzie
Lindsay Roy
Tom Clarke
Rosie Cooper
Catherine McKinnell
Sir Alan Meale
George Mudie
John Spellar
Derek Twigg

Can’t vote (Deputy Speakers) – 2

Lindsay Hoyle
Dawn Primarolo

* – The voting plans of 20 Labour MPs are currently unknown. If any of these MPs (or any others) wish to contact us to update or correct and of the information above, we can be reached via mail@labourlist.org

  • Chilbaldi

    The people voting against are predictable. Olde worlde small ‘c’ conservatives.

    • Jeremy_Preece

      So a good bit of name calling and you dismiss those that don’t agree with you as being “old worlde” and therefore inferior to yourself.
      I am also sure that if we have a vote in 1300 about whether the world was round or flat I would have been classed as one of the dangerous new heritics who ought to be burned at the stake. However in both cases, winning a vote does not the same as being right.

      • 1985Tom

        In 1300, actually, everyone was pretty aware the world was round. It wasn’t that much later that people were sailing west to try and discover new routes to Asia. But that’s somewhat besides the point. The point is that just because you’re out of step with the majority, that doesn’t make you sodding Galileo.

      • Markoid

        But the world is round, so those that voted for it being round would have been right…..

        • Jeremy_Preece

          That’s my point. They would have been both right and lost the vote by being in the minority.

  • NT86

    Not that surprising. But to each his (or her) own. While I strongly support the motion myself, I don’t think it’s right to label those opposing it as “bigoted” (I’m not saying the report above is, but elsewhere in the media). There’s always been a handful Labour MP’s who’ve been on the fence when it comes to LGBT issues (Joe Benton namely) so it’s nothing new. You can be economically more left wing, but socially conservative. That’s why I think it was right to make this a free vote, because it’s one of those things that will divide a lot of sentiment.

    I recall that Austin Mitchell said that it wasn’t a relevant matter, so maybe he doesn’t oppose it in principle.

    • AlanGiles

      Interestingly, Austin and Stephen Pound used to be frequent, if not regular, contributors to BBC Radio programmes, but they don’t seem to get much of an airing these days. Perhaps they are hoping to reignite their broadcasting careers in the twilight of their careers, by explaining to “Today” and “PM” WHY they are opposed.

      • NT86

        Well there has been little to no coverage of Labour MP’s who oppose this. It might be worth the media covering this because on Newsnight etc, all we’re seeing are the familiar faces who oppose the Bill (e.g. Conservative MP Anne McIntosh was on last night and I’ve seen her on TV during the course of this debate a few times before).

        There’s also at least 2 Lib Dems who’ll be voting against it.

    • 1985Tom

      All sorts of things divide a lot of sentiment. Why is this a more reasonable case for a free vote than, say, retirement ages? http://labourlist.org/2012/12/harmans-pps-resigns-over-pensions-amendments/

    • Jeremy_Preece

      When I was born it was still illegal to be a practicing homosexual. As I grew up I was very aware of the treament that this group received. In the city comprehensive school that I grew up in there were certainly gangs that indulged in “gay bashing” which was just a thug – bulley thing. There were some middle class people in the school, and I am sure that many of their parents would have dropped their teacups on the floor in shock if their children even mentioned that someone in their street was gay.

      We never thought that right. I have never thought that is right to deny people ordinary rights whatever their colour, belief or sexual orientation. I still do not.

      I totally saw the need to give homosexual partners the legal safeguards that civil partnerships offer.
      However like millions of others in this country I do not think that a civil partnership is the same thing as a marrage and I certainly understand why others of my faith, other faiths and no faiths at all cannot see how a parliment can decide to rewrite cultural definitions.
      There has been no proper consultation about this and it has come from nowhere.

      • Dave Postles

        It must be one of the most proximate actions to the ‘self-regarding action’ of Mill, if no one is compelled to perform the ceremony (i.e. let civil registrars who wish to perform the ceremony do so, and allow others to demur).

        • LembitOpiksLovechild

          The trouble is Dave, is that i for one and many others don’t believe that “no-one will be compelled to perfrom the ceremony.” Registrars are compelled to perform civil partnership ceremjnies on pain of dismissal already. There’s no personal conscience get-out clause. The people who have pushed and agitated for this reform will not rest until every church and minister is required by law to perform these marriages if demanded. We’ve seen it too many times before: Laws are introduced with assurances that there will be no compulsion but as soon as they hit the first objection Human Rights laws are invoked and people will be forced into acting against their conscience. Sorry. I just don’t believe you.

      • http://twitter.com/LouMcCudden Louise McCudden

        It’s got nothing to do with you and it’s not come from nowhere, people have been campaigning for it for years, if not decades.

        • Jeremy_Preece

          With all due respect this was not on the agenda of any political party. Therefore it was pulled out of the bag by Cameron in an attemept to grab some votes, and propablay from some LibDems who want to be seen to do somehting that looks like it is not Tory, even if Cameron and some of his cronies are also going along with it.
          This has not been given proper public consultation.
          I am afraid that I find your rather petulant “it has got nothing to do with you” rather ill thought out. I and everyone else in this country live under the same rule of law, and so any change in the law affects everyone.
          This legislation is attmepting to redefine the essesnce of marrage and what marrage is. I do not believe that it has the moral remit to do so. It is also a redifinition that is unacceptable to many and is being used at the moment also by very agressive secularist to have another good old go at people with that they don’t like or agree with.
          I consider myself to be a very tolerant person who fully accepts that
          I also very mush resent attempts made to try and push myself and others into trying to appear as bigoted which I am not. I have already said that I fully support civil partnerships. The was a great move in giving people equal status in law.
          How else can I explain? Perhaps if I say that I do not discriminate against shapes. A triangle has equal status as a shape to a rectangle. You could argue that it is wrong to discriminate against a triangle because of its different number of sides. Redifining marrage is a bit like saying that in the interests of equality you are going to redefine a rectangle to say that is can have any number of sides (or at least that it can have three sides). Such a position is nonsense in the literal sense. I feel exactly the same way about a so called same sex marrage. For many of us a man and a woman is the very essence of what a marrage is. Two people of the same sex in a perminant legal union on the other hand is a civil partnership.

          • Octavian

            One of the most mendacious points ever made in this debate is how opponents of gay marriage are just ‘saying what they think’ or just ‘practicing their beliefs’ as though that could ever be justification for genuine and real discrimination. When your CHOSEN beliefs are homophobic and you defend them, then you’re homophobic. When your chosen beliefs are racist and you defend them, you’re a racist. It really is that simple.

            You say you consider yourself a tolerant person – yet you aren’t. How can you be when you would resist a person’s right to get married on the basis of who they have sex with? All because some mythical book 2000 years ago says so. That – is in your opinion – enough for you to justify the basest discrimination against a group of people who have never harmed you or even threatened you harm.

            And all people with your point of view can ever complain about is that ‘religion is being bullied’. Really? Is anyone banning religious people from getting married? Is anyone curtailing their legal rights as individuals?

            So the next time you try to represent yourself as tolerant and a ‘good person’ – remember – you actively support discrimination. That’s not tolerant – it’s the opposite.

          • JoblessDave

            I find it sad that your comment has been “negatived” x 3: I respect your right to hold such a view, and believe it has a sound logic to it, even though I must be honest and say I do not feel exactly the same.

            A corollary argument, made to me by a friend of mine on the weekend, was that “if marriage is religious, and some religions are happy to marry same-sex, then good luck to them, but why can’t I get a non-religious civil partnership with my heterosexual partner?”

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            That’s your view but I and the majority of Labour MPs do not agree.

          • Jeremy_Preece

            And a few Labour MPs do agree with me. That is democracy. I hope that you are not thinking now that you can go on to have a witch hunt of those that didn’t agree with you. After all I have learned that in the 1970’s trade union leaders never bullied in order to win a vote even if they did oppose a secret ballot. Your tolerance of those who vote differently from you was of course assured. So I can believe you.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            A very few, and clearly no-one in the shadow cabinet….looks as if labour is clear about what it thinks

          • Jeremy_Preece

            Sorry Mike, is that yes or no to a witch hunt against those who used their free vote in the way that you don’t like?

          • Octavian

            Sorry Jeremy – Labour MPs who voted against equality for gay people have no business being in the party. Its inconsistent with the values of the Labour Party. And no – freedom of conscience is not being trampled. If you believe that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to marry in church, then you should feel free to join an organisation that shares your beliefs.

            Do you think that people who believe the NHS should be privatised should be allowed to remain in the party? Or people who think the welfare state should be ended?

            Of course not. It doesn’t matter what your excuse is for holding such an offensive viewpoint. Nobody is trying to change your mind – you’re free to believe what you want. You just can’t be a member of a party that opposes homophobic discrimination whilst actively espousing homophobic beliefs.

            Call it a witch hunt if you want (just another way to try to portray yourselves as being victims of intolerance) – but I’m sure you’d feel more at home with UKIP or the Tories.

          • Jeremy_Preece

            This is not your Labour Party anymore than it is mine or anyone else’s. It is a party which is broad church in the truest sense and which reaches out to many, including the faith groups within the UK.

            There was as a party line, a free vote given and which people are allowed to vote according to their own conscience. I am sorry if that offends you but there it is. If I am in a minority of opinion within the issue of a free vote, well then there it is. I remain well within the cannon of the Labour Party.

            I am quite free to be a memeber of the political party who’s values I hold dear and at the same time to disagree with an issue that was a free vote. You and I will probably agree on just about all of the other issues which are affecting this country and that is why I am a very active member of this party.

            Your view is saying that every Roman Catholic who follows their faith cannot be a member of the Labour Party, any Anglican (who’s church is prevented by law from carryout single sex marriages), every member of every Christian church that is not opted in, every Jew (except the Liberal Jews), and every Muslim is also banned from the Labour Party.

            It is actaully many people from all of these faiths who are outraged by the social injustice of this government, and many of whom also do practical activites to help feed the poor out on the streets. Many of these people are both natural allies of the Labour Party, but many are frightened off by the sort of reception that they would receive from the sort of agresive response that you give.

            These are the votes which Labour workers are sweating buckets to try to win over in order that we can see a Labour government in at the next election, and a run up to that election whereby Labour wins local council seats. This is why I joined the Labour Party and why I fight for these issues, and for Labour success.

            While I can understand your views and agree to differ on this free vote issue, I am sad that you do not seem to have the same tolerance. I might even have had some more respect for your comments had you had the courage not to hide behind a false name – but probably not. I also remind you that Yvette Cooper’s opening remarks in the house about this being a free vote debate carried out in an atmosphere of respect for those on both sides of the argument.

            I remind you again, that what was voted in was for same sex marriages to be allowed in the legal sense, and that Churches are allowed to opt in if they so wish. My gripe is that these clauses that were part of the bill, and sold as a fundamental promise may turn out to be invalid in the European Court of Human Rights. Therefore a bill containing pledges which are legally dubious, and sold without the explanation that these pledges may not stand up in a higher court is the same thing as a bad bill. Furthermore it would be less than honest if these risks were not set out before a democratic vote was made.

          • Octavian

            Again you accuse others of intolerance and yet seem unable to grasp the rampant hypocrisy of your own position. You accuse people of intolerance for disagreeing with you yet you support a position that is intolerant of gay people. And my so-called ‘intolerance’ has no consequences other than maybe making you feel bad. Your intolerance supports denying people the right to marry in church because of their sexuality.

            You think that my call for your expulsion from the party is intolerant. That it’s possible to believe that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to marry yet still be in the Labour Party. Let me ask you a question – can you be a Christian and worship Allah? Can you be a Catholic and worship Satan?

            No. Belief consistent with the teachings/scriptures/aims of a religion is required to be part of that religion. Beliefs consistent with the aims and mission of a political movement are required for membership. That you believe many of Labour’s ‘values’ doesn’t mean automatically you should be allowed to join – after all, we wouldn’t want racists in – why should homophobes be allowed?

            You expect to able to practice homophobia and defend discrimination and remain in a party that opposes it. That you and others like you call it ‘freedom of conscience’ doesn’t make it any less hateful. Faith or religion is just an excuse here. Would you feel the same way if the bible replaced homosexuality with skin colour? If not – why not?

            You and others like you claim that you’re not bigots, not homophobes – just following your conscience. You think ‘god’ allows you special exemption to be homophobic. It may well do – but not in any Labour party I and others support.

            You may wonder at the depth of feeling from people like me who oppose your position – undoubtedly, you and others are shocked to find yourself on the wrong side of morality. But consider this – it doesn’t matter why, for what reason, which religion dictates it or the depth of your own faith – you are choosing (faith is a choice – not something you’re born with) to deny gay couples the same rights as the rest of us on the basis of their sexuality.

            We see no difference between you and the BNP or fundamentalist Muslims or anybody else who seeks to curtail the rights of people based on how they were born.

            We see no difference between what you want to do and what other people who seek to restrict the rights of minorities do.

            That’s why you will be vigorously opposed. Call it persecution if it makes you feel better. Doesn’t make it true. You’re actually supporting the discrimination of others.

            You remind me of BNP supporters who claim that they are free speech martyrs because they’re just speaking their minds when being racist.

          • Jeremy_Preece

            Extremists see everything in extremes. Your accusations and your tone says more about you than me.
            Have you ever tried anger management thearapy :)

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            Well said. Catholic homophobia is every bit as unacceptable as BNP racism

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            Well said. Catholic homophobia is every bit as unacceptable as BNP racism

      • http://www.facebook.com/george.morgan.505960 George Morgan

        Why should your faith give you the right to tell other people what they can and can’t do? This is meant to be a democracy, not a theocracy. Even just within the context of faiths, why should, say, the Catholic church stop the Quakers having gay marriage as part of their religion?

        This definition of marriage stuff is a pretty duff ploy. The proliferation of divorce has changed the meaning of marriage way more than equal marriage ever will but you don’t get faith groups banging on about that. It’s just a laughably weak semantic ruse aimed at denying equal rights to LGB people.

        The Labour Party is meant to be an orgainisation dedicated to fighting for equality. Any party member against marriage equality should have a serious think about this, and the repercussions that their homophobic outpourings – the only real motivation for opposition – have on LGB people in society.

      • Brumanuensis

        Why exactly do you feel the need stop gay and lesbian people from marrying? You don’t own marriage; your religion doesn’t own marriage – even the Coalition for Marriage don’t argue that – so what gives you the right to veto this change?

        The whole point about cultural conventions is that they aren’t fixed, but can change quite rapidly. It used to be a legal and cultural convention that there was no such thing as rape within a marriage, a legal principle that wasn’t abolished until 1990. A majority of people support marriage equality. You may disagree with them, but you can’t plausibly argue that Parliament has no right to change the laws on marriage because of ‘cultural definitions’.

        • Jeremy_Preece

          Marriage is the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognised by law, by which they become husband and wife. It is the bedrock of the family and the basis of procreation and upbringing of children.

          So it is not a matter of stopping homosexual partners from getting married, it is as impossible as it is to make a roast lamb dinner out of bread and cheese.

          Many of those children who are lucky enough to come from such a background have advantages in terms of being able to form good relationships in the future.

          There are many reasons as to why this ideal breaks down in some cases, but that does not to detract from the value of marriage.

          Parliament cannot change what is as old as the hills and fundamental to being a human being. All that parliament can do is to devalue marriage into a legal civil partnership, or to play with words.

          I am sorry if you find that unpalatable. I have never been one to follow the herd. A majority does not make it right any more than passing a law in the 13th century that the earth is flat. Both are the popular view of their respective day, and both are wrong.

          • Brumanuensis

            “Marriage is the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognised by law, by which they become husband and wife. It is the bedrock of the family and the basis of procreation and upbringing of children”.

            Stop right there.

            Who defined it this way? When? With reference to what?

          • Jeremy_Preece

            Our civilisation, as part of what lifted us above being animals. The expression as old as the hills springs to mind.
            I have lived through a large number of brave new world ideolgies and these usually collapse. Gay marriage will become another!

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=715486331 Alex Otley

            You seem to be putting marriage on a pedestal as if it is some special entity beyond the comprehension of mere mortals, that we have no right or fundamental ability to alter. But marriage is a man-made construct that evolves as society evolves. You may believe that marriage is sanctioned by god, and within your own home and your own place of worship that is your business. But you have no right to impose those views on others.

            People are getting themselves in a right flap over this but fail to realise that earlier reforms to marriage were actually far more drastic – a wife no longer being regarded as the property of her husband is a far bigger change.

          • Jeremy_Preece

            If you mean do I rate marriage as highly valuble and the best possible basis for the family unit then yes.
            I am really puzzled to understand how you think that calling a union of a same sex pair as being a marriage and trying to change the very basis of marraige is somehow less of a change than updating the view of a wife as an equal partner. The fact is that the roles within marriage were always supposed to be different but of equal, both necessary and two different sides of the same coin.
            As for imposing ideas on others it is not me that is trying to universally change the nature and definition of something that is as old as marriage.
            As for respecting other people it is actually some very agressive gay rights people who have been deliberately trying to book church halls and the like for civil partnership receptions just to enjoy causing offense, in exactly the same way as Nazis forced Jews to eat pork.
            The so called exemptions for churches that do not want to perform gay weddings i.e. most of them, are given the sort of protection in law that can easily be reversed when the secularist are ready for their next onslought. So please don’t talk about me trying to force views on others.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=715486331 Alex Otley

            Good grief. All sorts of legislation could easily be repealed, amended or introduced by a future Parliament. You can’t argue against legislation on that basis, it’s a non-argument. If you think that the next Parliament is going to repeal those protections then that is a conspiracy theory.

            Religious freedom cuts both ways. You assert that churches are being hounded and prevented from carrying out their faith in a comparable way to Nazis attacking Jews (a deeply offensive comparison in itself), and then seek to deny religious freedom to other churches.

          • Jeremy_Preece

            Sorry, when did I deny religious freedom to other churches? I think that you will find that I have overall advocated religious freedom for all faiths.
            I have made the point and will do over and over again, that many dictatorships from Napolean to Hitler etc. have set out to be very secular and to drive all religious views out of public life. The act of demanding apostity from their church was often used by extremists in the Middle Ages to prove loyalty.
            The Nazis did attack all religion. They did force Jews to eat pork in order to violate their conscince, and they rounded up many Catholic priests and put them in the camps. All of this started with an insidous attack on the rights of the Christian church to be in public life as well as the attacks on Jews. Yes it was really offensive. My point is that forcing your views onto other people of religious faith is just that. The same principle even if carried out less agressively.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=715486331 Alex Otley

            You deny religious freedom to those faiths that want to have same sex marriages when you try to stop them from being able to do that. The position that guarantees freedom of religion is allowing religions to have same sex marriages if they choose. Nobody is forcing religions to carry out same sex marriages. Please give me a specific example of how this law will actually force views onto a religion.

            The lawyers agree that the case law will be water tight. The comparisons to Denmark are illegitimate because they deliberately forced their established church to carry out same sex marriages. Even the Church of England have finally conceded that the legislation does not actually pose a threat to a religion’s right not to opt in. Pretending that there are worries about churches being coerced is absurd scaremongering. Your religion is not being attacked. Your faith is free to define its marriage as between a man and a woman. But your religion stops at your front door. We do not live in a theocracy, thank you.

            When it comes to atheism and dictatorship I would cite Christopher Hitchens, who frequently dealt with that argument far more eloquently than I can.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            And you try and convince us you’re not a conservative? I thought we wanted to change society…..

      • ovaljason

        I’m glad you use your real name. In a today’s world where every utterance is archived, your children and grandchildren will hang their heads in shame as they read you air your bigoted views about who is and is not allowed to marry.

  • David B

    You expect Gordon Brown to be there to Vote. That will be a novelty!!

    But putting aside the sarcasm, it is important that this is a free vote as it is a matter for each member to vote based on their conscious, but this must extend to each church to decide whether they are going to perform the ceremony.

  • CRW

    People voting against this measure should be removed from the Labour shadow cabinet. People who don’t beleive in equality shouln’t be at the top of our party.

  • ovaljason

    The Labour Party – as a whole – should have a very clear conscience. It’s only a small number of old-time MPs opposing.

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  • http://twitter.com/chriswcheeetham Chris Cheetham

    Why wouldn’t an MP say what they going to do?

  • http://profiles.google.com/sheenagh Sheenagh Pugh

    Surely the most contemptible are the 3 abstainers, without the courage of their convictions either way? They can’t not know what they think!

  • Robert_Eve

    Well well well – there appear to be a few Labour MPs who understand what marriage is and ought to continue to be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nick.bibby1 Nick Bibby

    I just find it odd that, overwhelmingly, those opposing the bill are Roman Catholic. In any other situation if an MP opposed a piece of legislation which enshrines a fairly basic principle of equality in the law because of the demands or either a foreign power or private lobbying interest (the Vatican and the Church, respectively) there would be an outcry. Yet, once again religious organisation get a free pass that wouldn’t be granted to any others. Imagine if somebody said, “I’m not voting for this because I’m a non-executive director of a company and they feel it’s not in their interest”. There would be mayhem – and rightly so.

  • ecco fatto

    here’s me thinking equality for all is a tenet of the party i have voted for all my life.and then mp’s wonder why the public believe they are out of touch,stuck in world of the ‘westminster village’.where they don’t follow the rules they make for us.we the people are being ignored.was it ever thus.

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  • rekrab

    The fiddler and those that follow? could be a tune in that!

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  • rekrab

    Like Liam Byrne? their equality didn’t exactly come through while they planned ATOS……did it?

  • Jeremy_Preece

    Ah! Here we go again. “A mystical book 2000 years old” therefore I am supposed to assume that in your great wisdom I should immeadiately see that it is therefore rubbish compared with your pro gay marriage line because your idea is new. Yea right.
    So now people of a faith are bigots because they should all abondon their faith because it no longer coincides with the view of the high priests of the new order – such as yourself.
    Or of couse people who still have faith are required to rewrite their faith in a way that suits you, as their faith cannot have anything to do with God because you in your ultimate wisdom can say that there is no such thing (and of course everyone must accept your atheism and secularism as the only truth).

    If I maintain faith then I am immeadiately intolerant and a bad person as opposed to you who have oppointed yourself to judge me. You being the great and good overlord qualified to make such sweeping statements. So I am really intoerant because actually I see the world rather differently.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=715486331 Alex Otley

      The problem is not that you want to observe your faith. Nobody is saying that you can’t. The problem is that you expect your faith to take precedence over everybody else’s. That is unfair, theocratic and a real existing threat to freedom of religion – something that you pretend to support only so far as it furthers your chosen policies. If you cared about the principle you would support the right of Quakers etc. to hold same sex marriages as their expression of religious freedom. The fact that you don’t exposes your true intention: subjecting us all to your chosen doctrine.

      • Jeremy_Preece

        As it stands the opt out or rather the intended “opt in” provision seems to be defective.
        It would appear that if a church is classed as a public building, then those churches not performing single sex marriages could be fouind to be in breach of the law in the European Court of Human Rights. This was not explored in the consultation.
        Other issues include the fact that in current legal marriage it is expected that the hetrosexual marrige has to be consumated in order to be valid and the single sex one not. Also in the marriage vows the promise of fidelity to exclude all other sexual partners is also fudged, since under the same sex marriage adultary (valid grounds for divorce) can only be legally committed if one of the partners of the same sex marriage then has sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex.
        Therefore the marriage is not on the same footing as hetrosexual marriage in those two respects.
        All in all, this was a rushed piece of legislation and contains many flaws. Proper debate and proper considerations were not given enough time and the process of consultation, green and white paper etc. were short cut.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

          No. Caselaw emanating from Spanish cases taken to the Court suggests otherwise. This is propaganda from the right-wing anti-gay groups – thought you didn’t share their prejudices? Maybe you should stop using their lies to support your view and we might start to believe you

          • Jeremy_Preece

            In the normal run of introducing a bill, all of these possible scenarios are argued out. In a rushed through bill many can get overlooked.
            The issue is whether the safegaurds built into this act would stand up in the European Court of Human Rights .
            I really fail to see how just labelling the Bishops as right wing anti gay helps resolve that issue. However it seems to mean that you feel that if you label someone as right wing then you don’t even have to bother to argue or even try to understand what they are saying.
            I have noticed that if you and I disagree (almost always) you often feel that slapping a label on me that I am also rigth wing or a Conservative (which I am not) is an adequate get out for you not have a constructive answer.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            We can never entirely know because that’s how the ECHR works. However, they have made it clear that same sex marriage itself is not regarded as a right and is up to the state concerned. Spain, Portugal and indeed the Netherlands all have significant Catholic populations and it hasn’t caused any problems there. The State carry out same sex marriages and if allowed, some religious groups who opt to do so. The Catholic church doesn’t want to.
            If you want opt outs for civil duties such as for registrars, then I’d oppose that for the same way that I opposed get out clauses for people who wanted to opt out of parts of their jobs in the recent cases

          • Jeremy_Preece

            Thanks Mike, so the safeguards are not as caste iron as they were made out to be, but “should be okay”. I am not sure that this was made clear before the vote yesterday.
            The legislation in Spain was, I understand, better thought out and not rushed through. The UK didn’t follow the usual process of green paper, white paper and so on. So was rushed without proper full debate and considerations of the detail.
            As I think I have already said, there are other issus which do not add up. In particular for a hetrosexual marrriage, validity is also legally subject to consumation, whereas the same sex marriage is not, also that adultary is one of two grounds for “quicky” divorce and is clear cut, (the other being unreasonable behavour which is more complex).
            For adultary to take place in a hetrosexual marriage then one of the partners would have had to have had full sexual intercourse with a third party of their opposite sex. Yet for a same sex marriage, it is impossible for adultary to take place if either partner is unfaithful within their sexual orientation, and can only legally committ adultary if they have sexual intercourse with a third party of the opposite sex.
            Therefore, just in law, these marriages on those two counts do not seem to be equal.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            And you use that as an excuse to discriminate – I think its called ‘scraping the bottom of the barrel’… given there is only one reason for divorce – the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage – its an irrelevance. As far as I am concerned the view of the church in the public sphere should be irrelevant. It can make judgments upon its members as long as there is no public impact, but that’s all.

          • Jeremy_Preece

            Hello again Mike

            “given there is only one reason for divorce – the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage…..”
            Actually Mike, adultary and unreasonable behavour are grounds for divorce according to the law of the land as it stands. Your emotional feelings about that don’t change the way that the law stands. Therefore my assertions that these are grounds for divorce are legally correct.
            So do try not to get too wound up by it and enjoy the rest of your Sunday :)

          • Jeremy_Preece

            Hello again Mike

            “given there is only one reason for divorce – the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage…..”
            Actually Mike, adultary and unreasonable behavour are grounds for divorce according to the law of the land as it stands. Your emotional feelings about that don’t change the way that the law stands. Therefore my assertions that these are grounds for divorce are legally correct.
            So do try not to get too wound up by it and enjoy the rest of your Sunday :)

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

        I think religion should be purely for the private sphere – it should have no place in trying to enforce its principles on the public. Of course it can express its view, but not demand a veto or a right to have its definitions or outlooks reflected in civil law

  • Jeremy_Preece

    JoblessDave, thank you for your comments. I know that I tread on a hornet’s nest. It happened when I was at school and said that I disagreed with one of my then casual mates telling me about their gay-bashing in central Bristol on a Saturday evening. It cost me a thumping and a loss of a friend, but it was the right thing to say. Now I find that pubic opinion has moved from my right to my left and is almost as fierce.
    Thank you also for picking up on the fact that our faith is also rational. It is being rational and reasonable which distinguishes real Christianity from fanaticism. As a few of the replies on this site show, there is an increasing tendancy to knee-jerk reactions against my Catholic faith.
    My faith is the source of my sense of social justice and like many Christians of all dinominations, it is what drew me toward supporting the Labour Party, and the moral grounds on which I protest about the concentration of wealth into the hands of such a few. And of course there are many other starting points which take people to many of the same conclusions.
    A serious answer to your question about a non-religious civil partnership is that in some ways that is what some registry vows seem to be. In church the vow ends with “till death do us part” where as the legal civil vows they promise to be faithful for the duration of the marriage, which is a somewhat lesser committment.

  • AlanGiles

    ” Registrars are compelled to perform civil partnership ceremjnies on
    pain of dismissal already. There’s no personal conscience get-out
    clause.”

    Well surely it is part of a registrars job to perform the legal functions of their office. Registrars are paid to do a civil job – whatever their religious views are, like in any other civil job you should leave your personal feelings at the door.

    They are merely being asked, as part of their duties to officiate at civil partnerships. Who are they to say which functions they regard as acceptable?. If it is a legal procedure (which it is) then no laws are being broken, and again, I repeat if you want “one nation” you can’t make people of a different sexual orientation somehow “lesser”. Either you want full equality or you don’t. To do them justice, all but 22 Labour MPs stood by this principle.

    Interestingly, Iain Dale has written that he knows of many “secret” gay Conservative MPs who voted against the gay marriage bill, who might well be exposed because of hypocrisy. He has said that he will not do it himself, but that it is common knowledge in Westminster who these people are, and some names might leak out.

  • Jeremy_Preece

    There is also another issue which was raised by the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales.
    It is just that. If you accept that a church is a public building then the very churches which do not have to “opt in” are actually liable to be prosecuted in the European Court of Human Rights, and could then be in breach. Also the law about it being illegal to perform same sex weddings in the Church of England and the Church in Wales, could also be deemed illegal.
    It is then that exactly the fear you are expressing becomes a reality. And there is no way that the Catholic CHurch is going to comply – nor should it – to these secular demands and so you will have a huge backlash.
    That these loopholes exisit I think is more to do with rushed legislation than anything else. But like you I also have no doubt about the most vicious secularist who would do anything to force all minsters and priests to break their faith, disband, or face prison.

    • Dave Postles

      Marriages in all churches are governed by the Marriage Act 1949. The registers are supplied by the civil registration service and duplicate copies have to be returned to the civil registry. The law of marriage is a secular law.

      • Jeremy_Preece

        So that doesn’t answer my question as to whether these safeguards built into the legislation, ones which were crucial to the support of a number of those MPs who supported the bill, are actually in danger of being found deficient in the European Court of Human Rights, and therefore illegal in a higher court.

        • Dave Postles

          Your Catholics are assuming the same resort to an external authority – the Papacy. I doubt that we will invoke Praemunire against them.
          On your premiss, churches in many countries could be arraigned at the ECHR, purely on the grounds of equity. You seem to have some sort of fetish/preoccupation about ‘secularists’. I’m a secular humanist. It’s merely a belief, for which I have no proof. Quite honestly, I don’t give a shit whether your churches offer marriage to gays or not, provided that there is a place for gays to have the rights and rites of marriage conferred on them.

        • Dave Postles

          Mmm, my earlier reply doesn’t seem to have been accepted. Basically, any church in many countries might be arraigned before the EHRC for not recognizing same-sex marriages on the grounds of equity and equality, the situation in the UK notwithstanding.

          Personally, I don’t care if your church offers such marriages, provided that there is some place for the celebration of gay marriages.

          As to Catholic churches, they appeal to a foreign authority anyway – the Papacy. I don’t expect that we will invoke Praemunire.

          I suspect that many secular humanists are like me: it’s a (non-)belief, not an authoritative position and we really do not intend to proscribe religion or offend religious sensibilities. We are in the tradition of the late Stephen Jay Gould, recognizing two magisteria.

          • Jeremy_Preece

            Hi Dave. I see that your original post also got through in the end as well. I suggest that it was automatically filtered out because you used a four letter word, not one that I would have though offensive, but probably one that automatically gets your post diverted for moderation!
            I have to say that I actually find your position both reasonable and tolerant, and one that it is easy to coexist with. One that I don’t have to agree with but that I can respect and that allows all of us to coexist and work as a party together on defeating the Tories.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        Is that also the case for all non-Christian marriages? I do not know, but in principle the need identified in the 1949 Act you mention would also seem to apply to Mosques, Temples, Gudwharas (?), and indeed any other recognised religious buildings.

        Also, it is a bit British-centric. What about marriages conducted abroad, whether religiously or civilly? How is the “tie-ing together” of civil and religious registers done in those cases?

        • Dave Postles

          If the marriages are not in accordance with the 1949 Act, then they are not marriages recognized by British law and are not afforded the rights, obligations and protection afforded through marriages in British law, although they no doubt have the status of ‘common law’ marriages in some cases and so might have an appeal to equity (strangely paradoxical – perhaps Brum will enlighten that issue). People can marry in Polynesia if they wish, but should not expect the marriage to eb recognized at British law unless it is repeated here in a formal manner according to the 1949 Act. If they’ve married in Las Vegas, then the jurisdiction is there, unless the marriage is repeated here, I would expect.

          • PeterBarnard

            I think that the 1949 Act allows British embassies (and, perhaps, consulates) to conduct (civil) marriages, Dave. I guess that’s because embassies are considered as the “home soil” of the countries occupying the embassies?
            Certainly, two friends of mine were married in the British embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in the early 1990s and, as far as I am aware (although I don’t absolutely know), they haven’t had to repeat the action here in the United Kingdom.

  • Jeremy_Preece

    The Labour Party should have a very clear conscience. It allowed a free vote – end of. That was democracy.
    Funny that those who won, are even more vindictive in victory, and seem to want a witch hunt against those who dared to disagree.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

      Witch-hunt? Think we will leave that to the religionists. No, we simply expect our MP’s to believe in equality for all citizens. Thankfully, most of these MP’s are nearing retirement

  • Jeremy_Preece

    Ah! So freedom of speech means that no one should ever speak out unless they do so under the cover of a false name. Otherwise, if they do, then they under threat. Does not sound like the open democracy that I respect.

  • Jeremy_Preece

    Perhaps you should learn what the term “free vote” means.
    Your side won the vote last night, why do you think that you can start a hate campaign agaisnt those who voted in the way that you didn’t like? Let me guess, you are so tolerant that you cannot tolerate anyone who dares not to agree with you in a free vote!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

    Couldn’t agree more….

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

    I agree with that. Flello, in particular, really can’t continue with a justice portfolio

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

    I think registrars performing civil marriage shouldn’t have an opt out. Its not a religious ceremony.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

    Me neither. The churches can do what they want, I want nothing to do with religionism in any case. But I do wish to see my civil partnership a civil marriage

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