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Redbridge’s religious leaders speak out on same-sex marriage vote

PUBLISHED: 08:30 17 February 2013

A number of religious leaders say they are against the vote in favour of gay marriage which was passed by the House of Commons last week.

Members of Parliament approved the Marriage (Same- Sex Couples) Bill last week by 400 MPs to 175.

The bill will still need to undergo further scrutiny in Parliament and more voting rounds before it becomes law.

It would allow same sex couples to get married in England and Wales but only in religious institutions that had formally consented.

Ghazanfer Ali, chairman of Ilford Islamic Centre, Albert Road, Ilford, said: “All the faith communities have reservations about gay marriage. Even if it goes through, God’s law is above any other law.”

He said if the bill does become law it will change little for the Ilford mosque, as it is not something Muslims “get involved with”.

Opposition to the proposed changes was echoed by the Rev Ian Tarrant of St Mary’s Church, High Road, South Woodford, who said it was something neither society or the church is ready for.

He said; “I thought the provision for civil partnerships was very good as it stood.

“I think it’s an issue that divides society at large as well as the church and I don’t think society or the church is ready for gay marriage in general.”

Mr Tarrant praised the debate surrounding the bill which was a free vote, meaning MPs did not have to vote in line with their political parties.

He said: “It was good to have a debate in which people from all parties spoke from the heart.

“There are lots of people that still don’t accept homosexual relationships and I think that’s true within and outside of the church. “

Rabbi Beni Fleischer of Wanstead and Woodford District Synagogue, Churchfields, South Woodford, said: “For me, a family with a mum and a dad is the natural setting for children to grow up in.

“Every marriage is potentially the start of a family. I can’t deny that it’s under threat but I don’t think that means we should put the nail in the coffin.”

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