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East Anglia: MPs criticised by gay rights activist

PUBLISHED: 10:00 12 February 2013

Gay Rights Campaigner Peter Tatchell

Gay Rights Campaigner Peter Tatchell

A RENOWNED human rights campaigner has criticised five of the region’s MPs for voting against gay marriage, as new figures reveal that the number of same sex civil partnerships in Suffolk is increasing.

Peter Tatchell said that the bill, which cleared its first parliamentary hurdle last week, was of “symbolic importance” and said denying homosexual couples the right to get married was an insult.

Conservative MPs David Ruffley, Peter Aldous, Therese Coffey, Douglas Carswell and Priti Patel all opposed the bill, while Ben Gummer, Dan Poulter, Tim Yeo, Matthew Hancock and Sir Bob Russell voted in favour.

Mr Gummer said the state should not discriminate between heterosexual couples and gay couples while Dr Coffey said she wanted to “preserve family life.”

Mr Tatchell said: “I’m shocked that five East Anglian MPs support discrimination against gay people and do not believe that gay couples in love are worthy of marriage. It is deeply offensive and insulting.”

He added that he would continue to fight to enable heterosexual couples to be able to enter into civil partnerships.

Mr Tatchell said: “We should all be equal before the law, currently gay couples are banned from civil marriages and heterosexual couples are banned from civil partnerships. The Government’s legislation only ensures gay equality, not heterosexual equality. Civil partnerships are a separate legal system, separate is not equal.

The campaigner’s comments come as Suffolk County Council revealed that the number of civil partnerships has gone up over the last three years from 61 couples in 2010 to 68 couples in 2012.

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