South East Cornwall MP abstains in vote on gay marriage

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By Em_Williams | Wednesday, February 06, 2013, 12:39

The House of Commons has voted overwhelmingly in favour of legalising gay marriage but Conservative South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray abstained from voting. The landmark bill received 400 ayes to 175 noes in parliament last night.

Mrs Murray was one of two Cornwall MPs not to vote, Conservative George Eustice who represents Camborne and Redruth also chose to abstain.

Cornwall's four remaining MPs - Lib Dems Andrew George, Dan Rogerson, Stephen Gilbert and Conservative Sarah Newton - all voted in favour.

Prior to the vote, Newquay and St Austell MP Stephen Gilbert made a speech touching on his personal experiences. He stated:

"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."

He added: "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."

Do you think Sheryll Murray was right to abstain?


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  • Profile image for Shjohn

    What a cowardly decision!
    When questioned by the Cornish guardian sheryl didn't mention that she wouldn't be voting as she had a meeting!
    Draw your own conclusions, incurring travel expenses has never bothered her in the past!

    By Shjohn at 17:39 on 12/02/13

  • Profile image for BobDavidson

    On February 5th, Parliamentary under Secretary of State, Richard Benyon MP, came to Cornwall with Sheryll Murray MP. The purpose was to see for himself the devastating effects of the severe weather we had at the end of last year.

    The visit to Cornwall by the Minister was arranged prior to the announcement of the second reading of the Marriage(same sex couples) Bill on 5 February 2013.

    Sheryll's travel plans had already been arranged and booked, and indeed she stayed on after the Minister had left the Constituency. This was to continue to engage with the people of Cornwall on the important matter of flooding and other issues.

    The outcome of the vote was never in any doubt whatsoever. Sheryll therefore took the decision that Sheryll could do more good in Cornwall than incurring more expense changing her travel plans at short notice and returning to Parliament to vote on a Bill in which the result was so clear.

    This is not the final stage of the Bill and Sheryll is still pleased to take representations from Constituents before any further votes on this matter.

    By BobDavidson at 12:51 on 07/02/13

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