VOTE: Where Plymouth's MPs stand on the issue of gay marriage
SUPPORTING gay marriage is the right thing to do, a city MP has argued ahead of a crunch Commons vote.
But while backing the move, Labour’s Alison Seabeck for Plymouth Moor View insisted no pressure would be put on clergy who did not wish to carry out the ceremony.
Tory MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport Oliver Colvile was “pretty sure” he had decided which way he would vote today on legalising same-sex weddings, but did not wish to say ahead of informing constituents.
Meanwhile, Conservative MP for South West Devon Gary Streeter is understood to oppose the proposal as it was not in his party’s manifesto.
But as he is chairing the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill through committee in Parliament, he cannot give a public view or vote on it at any stage.
Sheryll Murray, Conservative MP for South East Cornwall is said to be taking soundings from constituents before the third and final reading of the bill.
The legislation, if approved by Parliament, would enable same-sex couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies, where a religious institution had formally agreed.
It would also allow couples who had previously entered into civil partnerships to convert their relationship into a marriage.
The Church of England and the Church in Wales would be barred from offering same-sex marriages, but other religious organisations will be able to “opt in” to holding ceremonies.
The plans have been strongly championed by Prime Minister David Cameron, but have split his party’s ranks and provoked significant opposition.
Conservative activists have signed letters voicing both opposition to, and support for, the move.
At least 100 Tory MPs are expected to vote against the bill when it faces its first Commons hurdle today.
All three major parties have allowed a free ‘conscience’ vote on the issue.
The proposals are expected to get through as they are backed by most Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs.
Ms Seabeck said: “I am voting in favour because I believe it’s the right thing to do.
“A number of gay couples want families or have children and it’s entirely appropriate those children should be bought up within a marriage.
“I have received a significant number of letters on both sides of this argument, and I have also met people to discuss worries that they have, however I will be voting with my conscience.
“That’s why I will be supporting the proposals whilst ensuring that no pressure is brought to bear on members of the clergy who do not want to carry out these ceremonies.”