MP votes on gay marriage

Eric Ollerenshaw MP
Eric Ollerenshaw MP
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Lancaster MP Eric Ollerenshaw said the parliamentary vote on same sex marriage was “a good day for democracy”.

Mr Ollerenshaw was one of the Tory MPs to vote in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, which was passed by 400 to 175.

But 136 Tory MPs opposed the bill, including Morecambe MP David Morris. MPs were given a free vote on the bill, meaning they were not ordered to vote a particular way by party whips.

The legislation will now receive more detailed parliamentary scrutiny.

If it becomes law, the bill will enable same sex couples, who are currently able to engage in civil partnerships, to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies – the latter only with the consent of religious institutions.

Mr Ollerenshaw, who spoke in Tuesday’s parliamentary debate, said he had been assured that faith groups would not be forced to carry out same sex marriages.

“Providing there is protection in place for groups who do not want to carry them out, I am satisfied,” he said.

“I equated it to divorce. I am Roman Catholic and no one has ever challenged their right not to marry divorcees.

“In terms of equality of rights and minority groups I am in favour of it.

“I have always been a supporter of equal rights for everybody, even if I don’t always support their views.

“It [the debate] was a difficult occasion. People spoke honestly from their hearts – it was a good day for democracy.”

Mr Morris was unavailable for comment as the Guardian went to press.

Former Lancaster MP Ben Wallace, now MP of Wyre and Preston North, also opposed the legislation.

He was among 136 Conservatives, 22 Labour MPs, four Lib Dems, two independents and eight others.