A third of Cornwall MPs abstain from voting on gay marriage
A third of Cornwall MPs abstained from voting on the bill to legalise gay marriage.
The bill was passed in parliament last night by 400 'ayes' to 175 'noes'. The four Cornwall MPs who voted all did so in favour of the bill which has caused much controversy in the Duchy.
How Cornwall MPs voted:
George Eustice, Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth: Abstain
Andrew George, Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives: Aye
Stephen Gilbert, Liberal Democrat MP for St Asutell and Newquay: Aye
Sheryll Murray, Conservative MP for Southeast Cornwall: Abstain
Sarah Newton, Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth: Aye
Dan Rogerson, Liberal Democrat MP for North Cornwall: Aye
In an impassioned speech before the vote Liberal Democrat MP for Newquay and St Austell, Stephen Gilbet, said "I declare an interest: I am a gay man who grew up in a rural part of our country in Cornwall and am from a working-class background.
"I grew up 20-odd years ago in an environment that made it hugely difficult for me to be open, honest and up-front with my family, friends and workmates about the choices I wanted to take in life and the people I wanted to see.
"That was unacceptable 20-odd years ago and it is unacceptable today, but it remains the case for many hundreds of thousands of people across our country."
Wearing a rainbow-coloured tie, the MP continued, "I welcome this historic Bill, which I think will end a form of discrimination and, perhaps more crucially, send a signal that this House values everybody equally across our country.
"We know that marriage is an important institution that delivers many benefits, including stability, health and happiness.
"If we recognise those benefits, why would we keep them from some of our neighbours who seek to enjoy them and whose faith allows them to do so?
"We would not tolerate that level of discrimination in any other sphere of life and we should end it tonight in this one.
"Equal marriage will not be the end of the struggle for gay equality, in the same way that delivering the franchise to women and ending apartheid were not the end of those battles.
"However, it will allow us to start asking the right questions and to answer the other problems, and it will send a clear signal that we value everybody equally."
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