Brent’s MPs speak out after equal marriage vote

Sarah Teather, MP for Brent Central

Sarah Teather, MP for Brent Central - Credit: Archant

Labour’s Glenda Jackson and Barry Gardiner vote in favour of bill while Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather votes against

Glenda Jackson

Glenda Jackson - Credit: Archant

Brent’s MPs have expressed their reasoning behind which way they voted in the equal marriage bill.

Barry Gardiner MP

Barry Gardiner MP - Credit: Archant

Sarah Teather, Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central voted against the bill following its second reading yesterday,(Tuesday), becoming the only one of the borough’s parliamentarians to do so.

Sarah Teather and the Brent Liberal Democrat website claims to be in favour of equal marriage.

Sarah Teather and the Brent Liberal Democrat website claims to be in favour of equal marriage. - Credit: Archant

Labour’s Glenda Jackson of the Hampstead and Kilburn Constituency and Barry Gardiner of Brent North voted in favour. The bill was passed with a majority of 225.

Ms Teather said her vote against ‘was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever taken’.

“As a life-long liberal and a committed Catholic I spent many months reflecting on this issue in the lead up to the vote,” she said.

Her vote against the legislation comes despite a post on the Brent Liberal Democrat website reiterating official party policy, which supports same-sex marriage.

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The article, posted on January 25, said equal marriage would “strengthen the important tradition of marriage in our society, ensuring it remains a vibrant institution well into the 21st century and beyond”.

Next to a banner saying ‘Taking Pride in delivering Equal Marriage’, the post adds: “Previous governments have shied away from taking action on equal marriage, but the Liberal Democrats are tackling the inequalities faced by the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community head on.

“The state should not bar a couple who want to marry just because of their gender and the state should not bar a religious body that wishes to do so from conducting same-sex marriages.”

Speaking to the Times, Glenda Jackson said: “I’m voting for it because I believe in it. I don’t believe in the idea that marriage is the exclusive preserve of men and women.

Responding to the claims of critics that the bill would undermine the institution of marriage, she said: “It’s a non-sensical argument. The changes that we’ve seen in marriages have been very great.”

Mr Gardiner added: “A strong enduring and loving relationship is to be celebrated and respected whatever the sexual orientation of the couple involved.

“I fully support the bill and the principle of equal marriage.”

A statement was later posted on Ms Teather’s website following the vote which claimed she had taken a “very proud public stance on gay equality in the past”

However, it added: “My concern, however, is that by moving to a definition of marriage that no longer requires sexual difference, we will, over time, ultimately decouple the definition of marriage from family life altogether.”

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