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Same-sex marriage bill - how Wirral's MPs voted
WIRRAL West MP Esther Mcvey joined a massive show of protest by Conservatives yesterday as the House of Commons voted on gay marriage.
The borough’s Labour MPs – Frank Field, Alison McGovern and Angela Eagle – all voted in favour of the same-sex marriage bill, while Ms McVey voted against.
The minister for disabled people was one of 136 Tory MPs to disagree with the proposals which will see same-sex couples allowed to be married in both civil and religious ceremonies, the latter only with the consent of religious institutions.
Ms McVey expressed her worries about “redefining” marriage.
She said: "I believe in equality and equal rights for all, so we already have equality before the law and, for that reason, I am 100% supportive of civil partnerships which mirror marriage for same sex couples, therefore I believe that redefining ‘marriage’ is unnecessary given the established legal rights through civil partnerships. .
"The Civil Partnership Act 2004 created a union which is very similar to marriage. Civil partners have the same rights and responsibilities as married couples in many areas including tax, social security, inheritance and workplace benefits."
Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday's result was a “step forward for our country” as the bill was supported by a large margin of 400 to 175.
MPs had been given a free vote, which meant they were not ordered to vote a particular way by their party whips.
Wirral South MP Alison McGovern said it was important to acknowledge how society has changed.
She said: “The thing that’s really important to me is that in the debate, we heard people from all parties saying why equality was important to them.
“We have taken steps to make sure that equal respect is given to everyone and this vote was the culmination of how society has changed.
“We will now be watching as the matter progresses but I think the House of Commons’ view was made very clear yesterday.”
Wallasey MP Angela Eagle, who entered into a civil partnership with her partner in 2008, said: “I am very pleased that there was a large majority last night voting for the bill and in particular, I am proud that Labour had far fewer people voting against it than any other party.
“It will make our society more understanding and a kinder place to live in.”
The vote followed more than six hours of stormy debate on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller said the legislation would make England and Wales "a fairer place to live", and insisted religious organisations which did not want to conduct gay marriages had protection.
But Tory MPs lined up to condemn the measures - including the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee Graham Brady, who said he had "serious misgivings" over assurances on religious freedom.
Former defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth said the Government had no mandate for such a "massive social and cultural change".
Four of the 56 Liberal Democrats opposed the legislation at second reading - including former coalition minister Sarah Teather