Sir Tony is strong opponent in same-sex marriage debate
Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry delivered a powerful speech in the House of Commons on Tuesday in which he spoke against the proposed Government Bill to allow same sex marriage.
Sir Tony was called as the fourth speaker in a six-hour debate which culminated with MPs voting in favour of same sex marriage in England and Wales.
Sir Tony addressed the house saying: “I am confident that we are all created in the image of God, whether we be straight, gay, bisexual or transsexual.
“We are all equally worthy in God’s sight and all equally loved by God.
He continued: “I am also sure that we are and should be equally welcome at God’s table.
“But equallness does not always equate with being the same.
“For centuries, civilizations have recognised the value and importance to society of having an enduring and exclusive union between one man and one woman, not least for the raising and nurturing of children.
“The uniqueness of marriage is that it embodies the distinctiveness of men and women, so removing that complementarity from the definition of marriage is to lose any social institution where sexual difference is explicitly acknowledged.
“What this legislation will do is to end the concept of marriage as it has been understood by society in general and by almost all faith groups in particular for recorded time.”
The controversial bill was carried despite opposition from almost half (136) Conservative MPs, by 400 votes to 175 – a majority of 225. But Sir Tony said the vote was one of individual conscience rather than political loyalties.
“It was not a vote against the party, it was a free vote.
“There was no whip and each MP had to vote according to his or her conscience,” he said.
Sir Tony said the unfettered nature of the vote enhanced the quality of the debate in the house.
“This was a well attended house and a packed house when I got up to speak,” he said. “Everyone was listening to everyone else’s views carefully because everyone realised that these were serious and important issues.”
Mr Baldry said despite the yes vote he hopes the government’s work to build protections into the bill to enable faith groups to make their own decisions on same-sex marriage will be upheld.
“The government has worked hard to ensure it protects religious groups and faith groups and has made it clear from the outset that it wants to see those protections in place to ensure that churches and mosques don’t have to undertake same sex marriages if they don’t want to,” he said.
But he added the exact impact of the bill and its provisos won’t be clear until individual cases come before the European courts.
“We won’t know how robust these safeguards are until someone challenges them,” he said.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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