Northampton’s MPs split on gay marriage

MP Michael Ellis will vote in favour of gay marriage
MP Michael Ellis will vote in favour of gay marriage

The issue of gay marriage has split Northampton’s Conservative MPs ahead of Tuesday’s Parliamentary vote on the issue.

Northampton South MP, Brian Binley has said he is opposed to the bill and South Northamptonshire MP, Andrea Leadsom, has indicated she will abstain from the vote.

But the MP for Northampton North, Michael Ellis, has said he will vote in favour of gay people being allowed to marry.

He said: “I strongly believe in the importance of marriage and I think that is something that is extended by allowing homosexual couples to marry.

“It’s an important institution and it’s strengthened by broadening it out to a wider range of people.”

Some politicians have argued that allowing gay couples to marry would ‘weaken’ the institution of marriage.

But Mr Ellis said: “I don’t see how two people who love each other and want to commit their lives to each other being allowed to marry will impact on the marriage of anyone else.

“This vote is a matter of conscious and I feel it’s the right thing to do, to support people to be happy and to have the same rights as others.”

The MP also said it was crucial to remember that churches would not be forced to carry out gay marriages.

But his opposite number in Northampton South, Mr Binley, said he opposed the bill.

He will not be in Westminster for the vote because he is receiving treatment for cancer, but he said if he was there, he would vote against.

He said: “This Bill risks institutionalising division whilst further undermining marriage in the eyes of many of those of us who see it as something greater than a mere legal device.”

The MP for South Northamptonshire, Andrea Leadsom, said in a letter published on the Pink News website that she would abstain in the vote.

She said: “I find myself genuinely torn on the debate – I cannot vote against a measure that would mean so much to the minority of homosexual couples for whom marriage is the ultimate recognition for their genuine feelings for each other.

“Yet nor can I vote for a measure that risks centuries of faith based belief in marriage as between a man and a woman, that will upset so many of my constituents and which has not yet won public support.”