Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in my recent e-consultation on same sex civil marriage. Once again I had a bumper response, with well over 500 votes!
The results were neck and neck, with the final tally showing 51% voting against, and 49% voting for.
This certainly suggests that there is not a strong consensus in the constituency.
Some of the main arguments made against the proposal included:
- Marriage has traditionally always been between a man and a woman, and any extension of this would undermine the institution.
- Civil partnerships are already in place, and so further changes are unnecessary.
- This may lead to some further relaxation of the laws on marriages, which would further diminish the institution
- This should not be a priority for the Government in these difficult times
Arguments in favour of the plans included:
- It is simply discriminatory to exclude people from the institution of marriage on the basis of their sexuality.
- The Government should be leading the way in changing attitudes on homosexuality.
- What matters is whether two people love each other, and not their gender.
- Society now has different attitudes towards marriage, relationships and co-habitation, and so the institution has already changed.
As many of you may know, I have been vocal in my support of same sex marriage. The extremely close result here shows a big divide in the constituency on the issue and the arguments marshalled from those against same sex marriage have not persuaded me to change my view: I remain supportive. However, in order to represent the views of all of my constituents I am planning on submitting a summary of the results to the Home Office for consideration as part of their consultation. If you wish to contribute views to this individually, the details on how to do so are here: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-us/consultations/equal-civil-marriage/consultation-document?view=Binary
Once again, thank you to everyone who took the time to vote, particularly those who put down some thoughts on why they voted a certain way