TWO north Kent MPs voted against gay marriage proposals yesterday. (Jan 5)
Gareth Johnson, MP for Dartford, and Gravesham MP Adam Holloway were among 175 politicians who opposed the bill in the Commons.
Nevertheless overall MPs voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill by 400 to 175, a majority of 225.
Mr Holloway told News Shopper: “My dad was a Church of England clergyman, he used to bless gay couples.
“He, like me, was always very clear that marriage is something between a man and a woman.
“When civil partnerships were introduced I thought they were designed to sort out the inequality.
“For me it was not about inequality but completely redefining my understanding of it.”
He added: “Two gay men who work in my office, one is engaged and one in a civil partnership, are perfectly happy.
“They saw marriage as something different. It’s not about inequality.”
Mr Johnson said he is a strong supporter of civil partnership but believes marriage is the “union between a man and a woman”.
Part of a statement on his website read: “The proposals, if agreed, would result in civil partnerships and marriage being available for gay people but marriage alone for straight people.
“Therefore this is not about creating equality, it will in fact create more disparity.”
He added that of the 300-plus messages received from his constituents, just 20 supported the bill.
Meanwhile the bill, hailed by Prime Minister David Camerson as a "step forward for our country", was welcomed by the majority of Bexley MPs.
Teresa Pearce, Labour MP for Erith and Thamesmead, and Old Bexley and Sidcup’s representative James Brokenshire voted in favour.
Catholic-raised Teresa Pearce said it was "quite a hard decision" and based on important differences in rights between civil partners and married couples.
She told News Shopper: “If one civil partner dies, the pension share that the surviving partner receives is often lower and lasts for less time than with married couples.
"The reason for this is the pension a surviving partner is entitled to is measured differently depending on whether they have been civil partnered or married.
“For civil partners, public sector schemes are dated back to 1988. For private sector schemes, it need only be backdated to the Civil Partnership Act 2004.
“But for married couples, a surviving partner is entitled to a pension based on the number of years their spouse paid into the pension fund."
She added: “If you were in hospital you’re not automatically accepted as being responsible adult for the spouse as if you would if you were married.
"It’s not a perfect bill but there’s time to amend it."
David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, voted against as revealed he would do to News Shopper in November last year.
The legislation will now be subjected to more parliamentary scrutiny before a House of Lords vote.
If it becomes law same-sex couples will be able to get married in civil and religious ceremonies, with faith institutions being able to opt out.