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Guildford MP Explains Her Position on Same Sex Marriage

Published on: 8 Feb, 2013
Updated on: 9 Feb, 2013
Anne Milton MP

Anne Milton MP

Anne Milton, Guildford’s Conservative Member of Parliament, has explained her decision to abstain on Tuesday’s parliamentary vote on same sex marriages in replies to constituents that contacted her on the subject.

In a reply she wrote: “Can I thank you very much for contacting me about same sex marriage about which, as you know, I have remained open minded. I listened to the debate last night [Tuesday, February 5] and abstained on the Second Reading of this legislation.

“A very large number of constituents have contacted me, some people on several occasions. The views expressed differ widely with no clear consensus: Christians very much against; Christians very much in favour; church leaders who fear they may be forced to carry out same sex ceremonies; church leaders who regret they won’t be able to; and those who believe this is about equality and if people love each other gender should not be a bar to marriage.

The views expressed differ widely with no clear consensus…

“I should add that even amongst people who are in same sex relationships there have been differing views. The only consensus appears to be amongst younger people who tend to be far more likely to be in favour of this legislation. I should also add that people who have written to me have done so with care and sensitivity.

“Legislation that is about a social change, particularly when it conflicts with the deeply and sincerely held views of decent, non prejudiced people, should be built on a clear consensus. From the correspondence and meetings I have had, it is clear that amongst my constituents there is no such consensus. I should also add that I have never been lobbied to enact this change prior to this legislation coming forward.

“In representing my constituents I did not feel able to vote for this legislation; however in appreciation of the view of younger constituents I did not feel able to vote against. I will watch the progress of this legislation through the Committee Stage with great interest and look again carefully when it comes forward for a vote at Third Reading in the House of Commons”

Cllr David Goodwin wrote that he was: “… sorely disappointed Anne Milton MP could not decide whether to vote in favour or against the proposals on Equal Marriage, especially following her comments the previous week on concerns that people thought she was against the proposals.

“The residents of Guildford elected Anne Milton MP to reflect judgement, not to avoid votes deliberately because she couldn’t make up her mind.

“This is an issue which affects a lot of people in Guildford. I’m glad that this will enable people of the same sex make a lasting commitment to one another, finally bringing same-sex partnerships in line with heterosexual marriage. It’s a landmark decision which will also protect the interest of religious institutions not to go against their own beliefs”

Local Liberal Democrat Councillor, Caroline Reeves, said that speaking personally she was: “… very aware that there are opposing views on this subject. Personally I am pleased that we are a step closer to equality and fairness for all who want to marry regardless of their sex or status.

“I think it would have been a more definite message if Anne Milton had abstained by voting both for and against in the traditional way rather than not voting at all.”

See also: ‘Citizen’s Speak: Same Sex Marriage’

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Responses to Guildford MP Explains Her Position on Same Sex Marriage

  1. John Schluter Reply

    February 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I am tempted to send this headline into The News Quiz!

    • Martin Giles Reply

      February 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      To the pure … all things are pure.

  2. Bernard Parke Reply

    February 9, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    It is possible to vote in both lobbies for and against, but one would would have to be something like a hundred yards sprinter to achieve this feat.

    However who in their right mind would want to vote and then immediately cancel it out by voting again.

    This practice is currently under debate and will no doubt be stopped fairly soon.

  3. Jim Allen Reply

    February 10, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Why all the fuss – if I was our MP I wouldn’t have liked to vote on such a divisive issue.

    What we should be concerned with is the ‘under the radar’ bill “Justice and Security”, slipped in last week, bringing in secret courts. What price equality now?

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