A ‘spoiling’ amendment tabled by Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham to delay and possibly wreck the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was defeated in a commons vote last night.
In an amended calling for Civil Partnerships to be made available to straight couples Mr Loughton complained that it was just not fair to extend marriage to gay couples, but not allow straight couples to have the same civil partnerships that were available to same-sex couples. The MP who has backed several amendments to the bill claims he is a great supporter of all sorts of equality and he did back the introduction of civil partnership for gay couples in 2005. His amendment was defeated by 375 votes to 70.
Human Rights Campaigner Peter Tatchell has argued for civil partnerships for straight couples for many years, however Mr Loughton’s amendment was seen by many as a tactic employed by the Tory right wing to delay the introduction of the new legislation.
Peter Tatchell came to national prominence in 1983 when as an openly gay candidate he was beaten in a bitter by election contest by Liberal Party candidate, Simon Hughes MP.
Simon Hughes MP was one of the MPs who voted for Mr Loughton’s amendment last night.
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall the LGB Equality Charity said:
“The amendment tabled by vocal opponents of equality would have resulted in significant delays to the Bill’s implementation. Last nights success means that the BIll has survived all of the attempts made thus far to undermine it.
“Today the Bill will have its Third Reading in the Commons before it heads to the House of Lords where, as always, we expect a very tough fight.
“With your help we’ll continue to make the case that loving, committed same-sex couples should be able to celebrate their relationships in exactly the same way as their heterosexual friends and family.”
Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown, today reaffirmed his support for equal marriage.
Simon, who has been a strong supporter of equal marriage, said:
“I support equality because I believe the institution of marriage strengthens families and society and I think that the benefits of a legally defined marriage should not be excluded to anyone because of their sexuality.”
“The Government listened closely to the contributions to the debate during the Second Reading of the Bill in February of this year and has worked hard to ensure watertight legal safeguards will be in place for religious institutions.
“Yesterday’s report stage debate was another good opportunity for MPs from all parties to further scrutinise that Bill. The Government showed that they are listening to people’s contributions to the legislation and they have committed to a review on extending civil partnerships to heterosexual couples. This review is in keeping with the fundamental principle of equality which underlies the Same Sex Marriage Bill , and I am pleased that the House was able to support it so strongly and the progress of equal marriage was not obstructed.”
“If, as I hope, this Bill passes into law, no harm will be done, but in allowing loving couples to be admitted to one of our most important institutions, and sending a signal about the place of gay people in society today, we will have done much good.”
The following MPs voted for Mr Loughton’s spoiling amendment:
Adam Afriyie (Windsor), Peter Aldous (Waveney), Steven Baker (Wycombe), Andrew Bingham (High Peak), Graham Brady (Altrincham & Sale West), Andrew Bridgen (Leicestershire North West), Steve Brine (Winchester), Robert Buckland (Swindon South), Aidan Burley (Cannock Chase), Christopher Chope (Christchurch), Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (Cotswolds, The), David Davies (Monmouth), Glyn Davies (Montgomeryshire), Philip Davies (Shipley), Jonathan Evans (Cardiff North), Roger Gale (Thanet North), Cheryl Gillan (Chesham & Amersham), James Gray (Wiltshire North), Charles Hendry (Wealden), Philip Hollobone (Kettering), Stewart Jackson (Peterborough), Gareth Johnson (Dartford), Marcus Jones (Nuneaton), Chris Kelly (Dudley South), Pauline Latham (Derbyshire Mid), Andrea Leadsom (Northamptonshire South), Phillip Lee (Bracknell), Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater & Somerset West), Tim Loughton (Worthing East & Shoreham), Karen Lumley (Redditch), Karl McCartney (Lincoln), Anne McIntosh (Thirsk & Malton), Esther McVey (Wirral West), Anne Main (St Albans), Paul Maynard (Blackpool North & Cleveleys), Nigel Mills (Amber Valley), David Morris (Morecambe & Lunesdale), David Nuttall (Bury North), Stephen O’Brien (Eddisbury), Matthew Offord (Hendon), Chris Pincher (Tamworth), John Redwood (Wokingham), Jacob Rees-Mogg (Somerset North East), Andrew Robathan (Leicestershire South), Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet & Rothwell), Henry Smith (Crawley), Caroline Spelman (Meriden), Bob Stewart (Beckenham), Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes), Ben Wallace (Wyre & Preston North), Robert Walter (Dorset North), Heather Wheeler (Derbyshire South), Craig Whittaker (Calder Valley), John Whittingdale (Maldon), Bill Wiggin (Herefordshire North), Gavin Williamson (Staffordshire South).
Joe Benton (Bootle), Rosie Cooper (Lancashire West), David Crausby (Bolton North East), Jim Dobbin (Heywood & Middleton), Frank Field (Birkenhead), Mary Glindon (Tyneside North), Paul Murphy (Torfaen), Yasmin Qureshi (Bolton South East).
Liberal Democrats: 3
Sir Alan Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed), Simon Hughes (Bermondsey & Old Southwark), Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West).
Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP): 3
Mark Durkan (Foyle), Dr Alasdair McDonnell (Belfast South), Margaret Ritchie (Down South).