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MP slated on gay marriage abstention

By West Briton  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

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CAMBORNE, Pool and Redruth's MP has been criticised for refusing to vote on the Bill to legalise gay marriage.

George Eustice was one of the two Cornish MPs who abstained as the Bill was passed in Parliament by 400 to 175 on Tuesday night.

When asked yesterday, Mr Eustice said he did not have strong views on the issue but appreciated others did, adding: "I could not vote for this Bill because I think civil partnerships are working well and do not think a change in the law is required.

"However, nor could I vote against it, because I do not believe the Bill forces anyone to do anything against their will."

But at www.thisiscornwall.co.uk, one reader said MPs should not be allowed to abstain because "they are supposed to be there to represent us".

Another wrote: "Abstaining is not a choice when you are elected to legislate."

Helston and Lizard MP Andrew George voted in favour of the legislation.

He said: "I am sure that the world isn't going to implode and marriage won't be devalued by this. Faith will continue to be respected."

But he added: "In the Bill, teachers who do not wish to teach that same-sex marriage is equivalent to heterosexual marriage would not get sacked and I think staff at register offices should be included in this too.

"If people have a belief or a faith and they can't find it (same-sex marriage) acceptable then I believe that providing the organisation itself isn't discriminating against any particular person then I think that is fine."

Sarah Newton, MP for Truro and Falmouth, voted in favour of the bill progressing to the next stage, having vowed to ultimately vote according to her constituents' views.

Liberal Democrats Stephen Gilbert, for St Austell and Newquay, and Dan Rogerson, for North Cornwall, voted for the Bill; Sheryll Murray, Conservative MP for Southeast Cornwall, abstained.

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