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MPs urge Lords to block gay marriage Bill after ‘sham’ free vote

By on Thursday, 30 May 2013

The same-sex marriage Bill will arrive in the Lords on Monday (PA)

The same-sex marriage Bill will arrive in the Lords on Monday (PA)

MPs have urged peers to throw out the same-sex marriage Bill on Monday, saying that the free votes in the Commons were a sham.

In a joint letter, a group of 15 MPs told members of the House of Lords that although the main parties claimed to have allowed MPs to vote with the consciences in reality pressure was placed on them to vote in favour of the controversial legislation.

The signatories said that MPs were threatened with the ruin of their careers if they opposed Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill.

“The main parties announced a free vote but we saw varying degrees of coercion with threats made, for example, to an MP’s future political career or withdrawal of party support at future elections,” said the letter, which was signed by Catholics Edward Leigh, Therese Coffey and Jim Dobbin.

“Regrettably, our ability as MPs to oppose, amend or scrutinise this Bill was heavily constrained,” they said.

According to a national newspaper, some backbench Conservative MPs say they were strongly advised by Ministers not to oppose David Cameron, the Prime Minister, who is determined to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.

The Conservative Party has denied issuing threats to MPs but a poll by ComRes showed that almost three in 10 Tories and one in 10 Labour MPs did not believe they had a free vote.

During the Third Reading of the Bill in the House of Commons a total of 130 Conservatives rebelled.

The Bill, which was not included in the election manifesto of any of the main parties and faces huge public opposition, is expected to be the subject of further rebellions in the Lords when it arrives there on Monday.

The Catholic Church and the mainstream Anglican and Protestant denominations as well as Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Sikhs are all opposed to the Bill.

The Catholic Church has sought amendments, warning the Government of the harm the law would inflict on Catholic education and the rights of individuals to worship God in keeping with their consciencies.

But one Anglican bishop has now voiced his support for the proposals.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, Nicholas Holtam, the Bishop of Salisbury, compared the existing prohibition of gay weddings to the acceptance of slavery by some Christians before abolition.

“Christians have had to rethink the priorities of the Gospel in the light of experience,” he said.

“For example, before Wilberforce, Christians saw slavery as Biblical and part of the God-given ordering of creation … the Biblical texts have not changed; our interpretation has.”

He added: “The development of marriage for same-sex couples is a very strong endorsement of the institution of marriage.”

  • $20596475

    I think your “interlocutor” is simply wrong and looking at the change from a particularly warped viewpoint.

    What is true on this, is true for every teacher on every subject. They are expected to teach the curriculum and not their personal beliefs. They are paid employees, who have contractual obligations, and not speaking to a faith group from a pulpit. If they cannot accept such obligations then they need to switch subjects and keep quiet on their opinions on marriage in school.

    No teacher will face prosecution for hate crime for holding such views. They might be disciplined if they voiced them inappropriately.

    Time indeed will tell but one thing is certain. Making talking about this illegal is NOT the whole point of SSM. The debate can, and certainly will continue, at least for a while. The major point is fairness and equality, with a secondary point the protection of minority interests who disagree.

  • DrCoxon

    I think that you will find that a pastor was sentenced to prison in Sweden in about 2004 because he condemned homosexual acts from his pulpit. Given that Sweden is heralded as a fine model of 21st century zeitgeist………….

    I would be interested in your consideration of a Catholic teacher in charge of doctrine at a Catholic school.
    You refer to my interlocutor as warped. However, he exists. The value to him of the legislation is not a romantic marriage, he sees it as a Trojan horse to attack the church. As far as he is concerned, the legality of homosexual marriage establishes the normality of such marriage and by extension the morality of homosexual acts. His goal is to outlaw discussion. I admire, and am grateful for, his honesty.

  • Simon Maxwell

    Three days before the 2010 election Cameron stated in an interview on Sky that he would not introduce same-sex ‘marriage’. He lied.

    He’ll get his comeuppance though. He’s going to lose the 2015 election, and I’m very much looking forward to it.

  • $20596475

    My original reply seems to have disappeared into thin air! I knew nothing of the event in Sweden so did some research. What you say is not entirely true and is typical of the way this kind of story is circulated by those who hold a view that religion is being persecuted.

    A lower court did indeed pass such a sentence. Why on earth anyone took the guy to court is a mystery, as is why they succeeded. However it was, quite correctly, overturned on appeal, which was upheld in the Supreme Court. There is a law against hate speech in Sweden but it was held that the law which ensures freedom of speech trumps it, and was clearly applicable in these circumstances. The pastor did not go to prison and is free to voice his opinions.

    I am sure your “interlocutor” exists but so do many pretty odd opinions about the SSM bill. You have only to search this site for confirmation.

    The outlawing of discussion, on any subject, cannot be allowed to become lawful. It is a basic freedom. Maybe what your “interlocutor” means is that once the SSM becomes lawful, and we have got used to them, the debate will fizzle out because of a lack of further interest.

  • sJames6621

    thats what europe was like – the church ran everything . Its called the dark ages. Zero social and economic progress, endless wars etc etc. The period ended with the holy Inquisition of torture and burnings at the stake, courtesy of the vatican.

  • sJames6621

    poor boy – you lost get over it. A couple beers might help to drown you sorrow.

  • sJames6621

    Inst in Catholocism the dustbin of history is hell. All you anti gays should go to your firehouse and find out the best brand of fireproof suits.

    God will certainly deal swifly with people who fail to love thy neighbor as per Jesus

  • sJames6621

    Bigotry – from the german Bei Gott (by god), eg hatred in the name of god.

  • kentgeordie

    You are welcome to your view, provided you are happy to disregard all the evidence and march with the secular mob. The Catholic Church can take credit for quite stunning achievements in the fields of art, architecture, music, mathematics, philosophy, theology. The Church was the only and a highly successful agent of social mobility. The Church invented universities, democracy and science. The Church provided the only education and health services available to the common people. The Church was at the forefront of agricultural improvement. From Caedmon via Langland and Dante to Shakespeare, the finest writers were fully in harmony with orthodox Catholic teaching, that is, the love of God for his wayward children.
    Should you fancy casting the odd beam of light into the dark pit of your historical ignorance, try googling Lucy Beckett, Stanley Jaki, or Thomas E. Woods. I am sure you are in for a nice surprise.

  • sJames6621

    in hte 4ths century the catholic church joined with emperor constantine . this was the begiing of the dark ages.

    Which btw included the catholic crusades agansst the mulsms. Tens of millions were murdered. NO wonder some of them hate us for socities have long memories