May 25 2013 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Later today, MPs will be voting to legalise gay marriage for the first time in UK history.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill would allow same-sex couples to get married in England and Wales.
Religious marriages would only be permitted if the institution had formally consented.
Couples who already have civil partnerships would also be able to convert their relationship into a marriage.
MPs are being allowed a “free vote” in the House of Commons today, meaning they do not have to vote along party lines.
But most senior Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour politicians have strongly supported the legislation.
Unconfirmed sources have reported that Leyton and Wanstead MP John Cryer and Chingford and Woodford Green MP Iain Duncan Smith will vote for gay marriage but they have not confirmed their position with the Recorder.
Ilford South MP Mike Gapes said he will be voting in favour.
The Labour MP added: “I’ve been getting very strongly lobbied by a number of churches and other groups but it’s a free vote and I have to use my conscience.
“I think a lot of the fears are exaggerated and the government have given a lot of assurances for religious institutions.
“When you’re an MP you can’t please everyone. You have to take a position and I think gay marriage is the right thing to do.”
But Ilford North MP Lee Scott is abstaining from today’s vote.
He said he “does not support” the bill in its current form and has been contacted by 250 people asking him to vote against it.
The Conservative MP said: “I have concerns about the implications for religious groups.
“No religion should have to do anything they do not wish to and I do not see the full protections in the bill.”
Mr Scott said he will be voting for a timing motion when the bill is sent to a committee and the House of Lords to ensure it is properly scrutinised.
It is the second reading of the bill today, meaning it still has to go through committees, a report, a final vote and the House of Lords before becoming law.
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