OT minister to support same sex marriage in UK
(CNS): The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister for the overseas territories will be voting in the British parliament in favour of same sex marriage next week. Mark Simmonds, who is the MP for Boston and Skegness in Lincolnshire, told a newspaper in his constituency that he would support the notion of allowing same-sex couples to marry in the forthcoming parliamentary debate. “This is one of the most difficult decisions that I have had to make throughout my time as an MP,” the Conservative MP told The Boston Standard. “It is undoubtedly a complex issue which challenges ideas about traditional marriage."
He said, “I am reassured that no church will be obligated to offer equal marriage to same sex couples, and the legislation will explicitly state that it will not be lawful for the Church of England to marry same-sex couples. I have thought about this issue long and hard and, on balance, have decided to take the progressive option. I will therefore be voting for the implementation of these proposals,” he added.
The UK government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill for England and Wales was introduced in the House of Commons last week and the full debate by MPs and then vote on the proposals will take place on Tuesday. It has caused controversy among MPs, religious organisations and campaign groups, with only half of Tory MPs expected to vote in its favour.
The bill will not force religious organisations, including the Church of England and Church in Wales, to perform same-sex marriages, avoiding discrimination claims against religious institutions or the clergy for refusing to marry gay couples. Opponents say the bill will ‘redefine’ the meaning of marriage and instead favour civil partnerships.
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