City MP votes in favour of gay marriage

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Lancaster MP Eric Ollerenshaw has voted in favour of allowing gay marriage.

He was among 366 MPs who this week voted in favour of the proposals, despite 161 MPs opposing the government’s plans.

Several Tory MPs spoke against the proposals, but the Labour and Lib Dem leaderships backed them.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill now goes before the House of Lords before returning to the House of Commons.

Mr Ollerenshaw voted in favour, but agreed with an amendment, which was not passed, to protect the rights of existing registrars if they have a moral or religious objection.

He said: “In terms of equality of rights and minority groups I am in favour of it in principle but I want to see some safeguards in place to give further protection, which will hopefully be brought in by the House of Lords.”

It is hoped the bill will become law in time for the first ceremonies to take place next summer. The bill, if passed, will allow same-sex couples, who can currently hold civil ceremonies, to marry.

Religious organisations would have to “opt in” to offering weddings, with the Church of England and Church in Wales being banned in law from doing so.

Altogether 133 Tories opposed the bill, along with 15 Labour MPs, four Lib Dems, eight Democratic Unionists and an independent.

Demonstrators against the plans held a vigil opposite the Palace of Westminster as the debate took place.