MPs vote in favour of gay marriage legislation

19:41 05 February 2013

MPs voted in favour of gay marriage legislation tonight, but dozens of Conservative MPs registered their opposition.

After the Prime Minister made a last ditch appeal for support, the House backed the proposals by a margin of 400 to 175.

However, with Labour and Liberal Democrats strongly in favour, it was clear that scores of Tories had taken advantage of the free vote to register their opposition.

The Labour Whips office suggested that 139 Tories had voted against the Bill, with 132 in favour. Dozens more did not vote.

The result followed more than six hours of stormy debate on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said it would make Britain “a fairer place to live”, and insisted religious organisations which did not want to conduct gay marriages had protection.

But Tory MPs lined up to condemn the measures, including the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee Graham Brady, who said he had “serious misgivings” over assurances on religious freedom.

Former defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth said that the government had no mandate for such a “massive social and cultural change”, which was not mentioned in the Conservative manifesto for the 2010 election.

Speaking in Downing Street less than two hours before the crunch vote, Mr Cameron accepted that there were “strong views on both sides of the argument”.

But he said: “I am a strong believer in marriage. It helps people commit to each other and I think it is right that gay people should be able to get married too.

“This is, yes, about equality. But it is also about making our society stronger.

“I know there are strong views on both side of the argument - I accept that. But I think this is an important step forward for our country.”

Mr Cameron did not attend the debate, but Downing Street had indicated that he would be voting.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “This is a proud day and an important step forward in the fight for equality in Britain.

“The overwhelming majority of Labour MPs supported this change to make sure marriage reflects the value we place on long-term, loving relationships whoever you love.

“Equal marriage builds on Labour’s successes in Government which include the repeal of Section 28, equalising the age of consent, the introduction of civil partnerships and changes to the rules governing adoption.”

Related articles

Latest Stories

Yesterday, 19:53
The brutal attack occurred on this quiet avenue in Mitcham [Photograph from Google StreetView]

Police are hunting for four thugs who stabbed a young man in the back in Mitcham.

Read more
Yesterday, 19:38
Karlton Burton and Javauntee Campbell were sentenced at the Old Bailey today

A teenager has been sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the murder of Queen’s Market trader Rashid Naeem.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:32
The towering sea of foam floating down the River Lea  [photograph by Kriss Lee, CLiPiCs Photography and Art]

A 10 foot deep, mile-long mountain of foam invaded the tree-lined River Lea at the weekend in scenes reminiscent of spooky sci-fi drama the X Files.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

Do you fancy yourself as a football ground know-it-all? Try our devilishly difficult quiz!

How well do you know your football stadiums? This brand new quiz from London24 will seperate the men from the boys...

Read more
Do you know your Thames truths from the porkie pies? (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

So, you live (or work) in London, and you think you know the river well.

Read more
Diego Costa of Chelsea exchanges words with Cesc Fabregas (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

Chelsea have made several personnel changes over the course of the summer as they look to mount a squad that can challenge for the title.

Read more