WORCESTER MP Robin Walker has supported gay marriage – despite admitting it might lose him votes at the next general election.
He revealed the debate over it is dominating his inbox at the moment, with the response from people in the city overwhelmingly negative.
But he told your Worcester News that he was prepared to “vote with my conscience” and back a Bill, unless it actually forced hostile churches to host gay marriages.
Meanwhile, in a ballot held on this website yesterday, 59 per cent of around 400 voters were against the idea. The ballot is still open, below.
More than 40 Conservative MPs have so far spoken out against gay marriage, despite Prime Minister David Cameron aiming to legislate for it before 2015.
Mr Walker will be defending a majority of 2,982 at the next general election, making his seat one of the party’s most marginal.
He said: “I’ve had tens of letters about this from constituents in the last two weeks and almost all of them are against it – it’s the biggest single issue at the moment.
“But I think allowing civil marriage is the right thing to do, as long as churches are not forced to host weddings they don’t want. Marriage is a good thing, it’s a positive thing for society and as we allow civil partnerships, the logical thing would be to extend it to marriages too. I don’t see it as a massive change.”
The stance has put him on a collision course with the Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Rev Dr John Inge, who said he was not in favour of “imposing a new meaning” on marriage.
West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin said she wanted to reflect the views of her constituents when the matter came before parliament.
Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff , while admitting he was unsure how he would vote, said: “I am not yet convinced forcing gay marriage throughout parliament in the face of such sincere and deeply held concerns would bring sufficient gains to homosexual people to justify the unacceptability of such a change to so many.”
So far, 234 MPs across all parties have come out in favour of legalising gay marriage, which includes Mr Walker.