A GAY couple say they are delighted that a Bill to allow same-sex marriages was passed in Parliament last night.
Conor Marron from Hebburn and his partner James Lattimore launched their online petition, Coalition for Equal Marriage, last year and it’s been supported by almost 66,000 signatures,
Now that the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill is on its way to becoming law after MPs voted by 400 to 175 – a majority of 225 in favour of the legislation – the pair are hoping this is the first step to a more equal society.
The Bill will now need to be approved by the House of Lords.
Mr Marron, 29, an analysis manager for rail firm, East Coast, said: “We’re thrilled that the bill has passed this first and most significant hurdle.
The majority in Parliament reflects what poll after poll has demonstrated. The majority of the public supports this modest and natural progression.
“Hopefully it’ll get through the committee and Lords stages soon and we’ll find ourselves in a more fair and equal society before we know it.”
South Tyneside’s two MPs voted in favour of the legalisation of gay marriages.
Former foreign secretary David Miliband said his decision was taken on the grounds of both “principle and pragmatism”.
And Jarrow’s Stephen Hepburn revealed he had voted yes because he “believes in equality for all”.
The free vote went through – despite a significant number of Conservative backbenchers refusing to follow the party line and voting no.
Party political lines were drawn over the issue, with Labour and Lib Dems overwhelmingly in favour of taking legalisation over same-sex marriage forward.
South Shields Conservative Association had written to Prime Minister David Cameron expressing opposition to the move.
The letter stated the belief that the “gay community has an influence in this country that far exceeds its numbers” and went on to claim there was not support for the move among the general public.
Mr Miliband said: “I voted for the measure on grounds of principle and pragmatism.
“I know for myself that marriage is a remarkable institution born of love and founded on commitment. But I do not believe it is made more remarkable by restricting it to marriage between men and women.
“As a matter of conscience I think that equal treatment demands that same-sex couples be allowed to marry, with the rights and responsibilities it confers, should they wish to do so.
“As a matter of pragmatism, I think that the move to allow civil partnerships has been a great success, and far from undermining the case for a further move to allow marriage, strengthens the case for a move to full equality.
“Many of the concerns about same-sex marriage were raised in respect of the civil partnerships legislation, and I do not believe they have been borne out.”
Mr Hepburn added: “I voted yes as I believe in equality for all, and I have always held the view of live and let live. I do appreciate that some people take a different view and therefore I believe that no church or religious organisation should be required to hold same-sex marriages if they do not wish to do so, and I am pleased that such safeguards are part of this Bill.”