Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Mid Worcestershire's Peter Luff tells of backlash over same-sex marriage vote
FOUL “homophobic” emails and letters from people desperate to see gay marriage rejected have been sent to a Worcestershire MP.
Peter Luff, who represents Mid-Worcestershire, was also sent one note saying he is being prayed for and should “repent of his sins.”
The Conservative MP backed the bill on Wednesday, but has admitted the fall-out could impact on the number of activists prepared to campaign for the party in this year’s local elections.
“I had around 200 letters and emails and 80 or 90 per cent were opposed to it,” he said.
“Some of the emails I had were really foul, absolutely. I had a fair stream of homophobic emails from people.”
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was approved by a majority of 225 votes despite 139 Conservative MPs voting against it.
Mr Luff added: “Personally, I think it leaves David Cameron stronger but within the party he will be damaged.
“This is not an issue a lot of supporters feel good about and it will have an impact on people who help us out in county elections - that’s where the effect will be greatest.
“As far as I am concerned I just want to put this all behind us so we can concentrate on more important subjects.
“The party and the country was divided on it along generational lines, so in that respect it was an unwelcome distraction from the challenges facing the country.”
He said once he came out in support of the bill many people contacted him to pass on their thanks.
Andrew Grant, the president of Worcester Conservatives, who was one of the fiercest critics of the bill, said: “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, so obviously I was disappointed with the outcome.
“I am very concerned (about the elections) because most people I come into contact with are those party members in the higher age group who are slogging away and putting the money up.”
Councillor Adrian Hardman, leader of Worcestershire County Council, which has elections in May, said: “We’ll have to wait and see what the impact is, but I would hope activists are sensible enough to realise they’d be campaigning on local issues.”
The bill will need to go for a third reading before the commons and then be approved by the House of Lords before it become law.
It will make gay marriage legal in any non-Church of England establishment, although other religious organisations will have the ability to ‘opt out’ of a ceremony free from the risk of legal action.