South East Cornwall MP abstains in vote on gay marriage
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.
South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray abstained from voting.
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?