Majority of MPs to Vote for Marriage Equality
January 16, 2013 | 9:44 am | James
Breaking: Majority of MPs to Vote for Marriage Equality
For the first time, a majority of MPs have committed to vote for a change in the law to lift the ban on same-sex marriage in England and Wales.
According to the Coalition for Equal Marriage, a grass-roots organisation campaigning for the introduction of same-sex marriage, 330 MPs have confirmed they will vote in favour of same-sex marriage legislation when it is introduced at Westminster in the next few months.
In contrast, just 126 MPs have publicly stated that they remain opposed to a change in the law, meaning there is now a clear parliamentary majority for equal marriage.
The survey, conducted by the Coalition for Equal Marriage, is based on public declarations of support or opposition from MPs, including letters to constituents.
James Lattimore and Conor Marron, co-founders of the Coalition for Equal Marriage, said; “We welcome the news that MPs favour the introduction of same-sex marriage by a margin of 3-1 and hope that even more will announce support in time. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are entitled to full equality, including equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. The UK Government has the green light to push ahead with this fair and progressive change which has the support of an overwhelming majority of the public and now Parliament too.”
Key figures from across the political spectrum have said they will personally be voting for the proposals, including the leaders of the three main parties.
The news comes as polling shows increasing support for same-sex marriage amongst the public. A recent poll carried out by ICM for the Guardian in December showed 62% of people in favour, with just 31% opposed. Similar polls for YouGov, Populus, ComRes, and Ipsos MORI have shown consistent public support for a change in the law to allow same-sex marriage.
In December, the Government released its response to the public consultation on same-sex marriage in England and Wales. With over 228,000 responses, it represented the largest consultation ever carried out by the UK Government. Despite a well-funded campaign by opponents of LGBT equality to encourage negative responses to the consultation 53% of respondents voiced support for same-sex marriage while 46% opposed. 72% of respondents who stated they were Christian supported the proposals, alongside 99% of those who identified as lesbian or gay.
The news that a majority of MPs support same-sex marriage was welcomed by politicians, secular groups and religious representatives.
Nick Herbert MP, Founder of the “Freedom To Marry” campaign, said; With the polls showing that a clear majority of the public support equal marriage and now evidence that a majority of MPs will back it, too, this is a reform whose time has come. Its opponents should recognise the democratic will and focus on ensuring legitimate protections for religious freedom rather than trying to frustrate a change that is so widely supported.”
Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, said; “The Labour Party strongly supports same sex marriage. When couples love each other and want to make a commitment, it should be a cause for celebration, not discrimination. Those couples should be able to marry, regardless of their gender or sexuality. My Shadow Cabinet colleagues and I will continue to be loud and proud supporters of same sex marriage, and I’m pleased there is a clear parliamentary majority in support of the forthcoming legislation. Labour votes will ensure that this measure is passed in the House of Commons and we hope the Government brings forward legislation as soon as possible.”
Stephen Gilbert MP, Liberal Democrat MP for St Austell & Newquay who proposed the party’s policy to support marriage equality said; Liberal Democrats have long fought for equal marriage and now we’re in government we’re committed to making it happen. That a majority of MPs have come out in favour of is a very significant step forward. The right to love and commit to who you chose is a fundamental one and whether you’re straight or gay, the civil institution recognising that love and commitment should be the same.”
The British Humanist Association (BHA) said; “Equality before the law is a vital civil right and the rights of one class of person to equal treatment should never be compromised because of the unshared religious beliefs of anyone. There is no suggestion that religious organisations should perform marriage against their will; all that is asked is that we all demonstrate some basic humanity and toleration, and do not obstruct same sex couples who wish to have legal equality for their relationship. We hope that the majority of parliamentarians will think the same and vote accordingly.”
Rabbi Anna Gerrard, Outreach Director of Liberal Judaism, said; “Liberal Judaism supports and promotes full equality in UK marriage law for same sex couples, including the use of the word ‘marriage’ and the option of sanctifying their relationship with a religious marriage ceremony. Liberal Jewish Rabbis already officiate at religious ceremonies for same sex couples, currently alongside a civil partnership, and hope that these may soon be enshrined in UK law.”
The UK Government is expected to launch same-sex marriage legislation for England and Wales by summer 2013. Separate legislation for Scotland has already been launched in December 2012 by the Scottish Government, and already has the support of over two-thirds of MSPs.
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Notes for editors:
* The Coalition For Equal Marriage (C4EM) is a grass-roots, volunteer-led campaign calling for the removal of the ban on same-sex marriage in England and Wales. It was founded by a gay couple, Conor Marron and James Lattimore in 2012.
* C4EM has the support of many prominent organisations including the British Humanist Association, the National Secular Society and a wide-range of religious, political and community groups.
* The voting intention of every MP on same-sex marriage can be found online alongside proof of each entry at: http://www.c4em.org.uk/support-for-equal-marriage/
* Full details of the Coalition for Equal Marriage (C4EM) campaign can be found at: http://www.c4em.org.uk/
* Full ICM polling data for the Guardian (December 2012) can be found at: http://www.icmresearch.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2013/01/OmBPC-Dec12.pdf
* Full ICM polling data for the Sunday Telegraph (March 2012) can be found at: http://www.icmresearch.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2012/03/OlOm-GAY-Marriage-PV.pdf
* Information about the recent UK Government consultation on same-sex marriage (including a full PDF breakdown of responses, figures quoted from page 40) can be found at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-us/consultations/equal-civil-marriage/. Summary extracts are as follows:
* 53% support civil marriage equality (of 228,000 responses)
* 72% of question respondents who identified as Christian believed that all couples, regardless of gender, should be able to have a civil marriage ceremony.
* 63% of all question respondents believed that the government should open up religious marriage for same-sex couples.
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