Senior Tory MPs’ qualms over redefining marriage

Thu, 24 Jan 2013

Two senior Tory MPs have raised serious concerns about the Government’s plans to redefine marriage.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has questioned the strength of proposed protections for religious groups.

And former children’s minister Tim Loughton MP said the number of people asking him to support same-sex marriage is in “single figures”.

Robust

In a letter to a student, Mr Hammond said, “I have concerns about the robustness of the protections for religious organisations that are being put in place with the best of intentions.”

He added that civil partnerships already provide many of the same benefits as marriage, saying he will be using his free vote to oppose a change in the law.

Mr Loughton said he has received hundreds of emails and letters urging him to oppose same-sex marriage, whereas the number of people asking him to support it is less than ten.

Complex

In an interview for Brighton newspaper The Argus, he said: “I have also heard from a number of gay people telling me: ‘We don’t need this. We don’t want to go and get married.’”

He added: “So this is a very complex issue and not as clear cut as some people like to portray it.”

This week, Rob Flello, Labour’s Shadow Justice Minister confirmed his opposition to gay marriage.

Fundamental

He said the state should not “re-write the fundamental nature of marriage” and raised the point that civil partnerships already give legal equality to married couples.

A vote in the House of Commons is expected within weeks.

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