May 21, 2013
As you know, the controversial Bill has now passed through the House of Commons with a very large majority.
I continued to abstain as I saw no reason to change my position.
As I explained before, for me it is ultimately an issue of equal rights. So, I see no fundamental reason why people of the same sex should not be free to express their commitment to each other through marriage. The critical caveat for me was that no-one should be forced to conduct such a ceremony if it went against their religious conviction. I was satisfied that the Government had done enough to meet that condition.
However, it was clear from my unscientific survey that a significant number of constituents remain very opposed to the proposal. Neither you or I have the means of knowing absolutely whether opponents of the Bill are a majority of the 80,000 people I represent. Indeed the national polling suggested a majority in favour. However, I decided to continue abstaining out of respect for the large number of people who do not share my personal view.