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Wyre Forest MP to vote against same-sex marriage bill
WYRE Forest MP Mark Garnier says he will vote against a bill which would legalise same-sex marriage.
All MPs are due to be given a “free vote” on the second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill - which is strongly backed by Prime Minister David Cameron - tomorrow.
That means MPs may vote for or against the bill going through to the next stage or abstain from voting and do not have to vote along party lines.
In an open letter to constituents on his website, Mr Garnier explained he had received about 300 letters on the issue, with those against equal marriages outnumbering those in favour “by about 100 to one”.
He said: “I suspect that I share the views of many people across Wyre Forest on this subject. It is not something that people seem to be clamouring for.
“I have made no secret that this is something that I am broadly neutral on. However, I am adamant that the freedom of choice for places of worship must be maintained - that no church is forced to undertake these ceremonies against their will.
“I have received many letters on this subject and I have written in my Kidderminster Shuttle column that I am keen to hear from people on both sides of the debate - those in favour as well as those against.
“I have listened carefully to the submissions and made some enquiries among the gay community as well. I have even had a number of conversations with the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
“While most people seem ambivalent about the issue of same sex marriage, those who do have an opinion feel passionately about it. They are very concerned about the implications.
“As a broad indication of the responses I have had - and I have had about 300 letters on this - those against equal marriages outnumber those in favour by about 100 to one.
“It is for this reason that I am proposing to vote on this 'free vote' issue - and one that was not in any party manifesto in 2010 - by representing those people who have come to me and vote against the second reading of the bill when it comes before Parliament.”