max temp: 12°C

min temp: 11°C


Suffolk: MP adds voice to gay marriage protest

08:00 18 December 2012

MP David Ruffley

MP David Ruffley


AN EAST Anglian MP has signed a letter accusing the Government of ignoring public opinion over gay marriage.

Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley, pictured, was among almost 60 who signed the letter after Culture Secretary Maria Miller announced plans to allow same-sex couples to marry last week.

The letter reads: “We are united in supporting the institution of marriage defined in law as a union between a man and a woman. We recognise the value of a loving and committed relationship and we respect civil partnership, but affirm the distinctive value of marriage reflecting the complementarity of a man and woman often evidenced in parenthood.”

Currently gay couples can enter into civil partnerships that give them almost the same legal rights as married couples.

Proposals which Prime Minister David Cameron backs would see marriage redefined, so that its current definition of being between a man and a woman would be altered to accommodate same-sex couples. However, the Church of England and its Welsh counterpart will be banned in law from offering same-sex marriages. Other religious organisations will be able to “opt in” to holding ceremonies, the Culture Secretary announced last week.

The Government says it carried out a consultation, but the MPs’ letter argued that half a million people had signed a petition opposing the proposed change. It said: “At the last election, none of the three main parties stood on a platform to redefine marriage. It was not contained in any of their manifestos, nor did it feature in the coalition’s programme for government.

“These facts alone should have led to extreme caution on the part of those calling for this change to be made. Instead the Government is ignoring the overwhelming public response against the plans.” The Government has said no religious institution would be forced to carry out same-sex marriages if it did not want to.

However, Mr Ruffley has previously warned any change could leave churches open to being sued if they refused marry people.

The letter, also signed by a handful of Labour MPs, added: “The proposed redefinition of marriage is unnecessary, given the legal rights established through civil partnerships.”

A Bill is expected at the end of January with changes potentially passed through parliament by the summer.

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey and Waveney MP Peter Aldous have also said they would oppose legislation to change the definition of marriage.

1 comment

  • If our PM had not refused to test the will of the electorate by allowing the promised referendum on continued membership of the EU, we might perhaps have been freed of the shackles of the EU imposed Human Rights Laws so that there was no danger of any religions being sued for opposing same sex marriages. By the same token the UK might have been immune to prosecution under this same Act by deporting Abu Qatada whilst at the same time saving the country many hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal fees.

    Report this comment

    Brian Betts

    Tuesday, December 18, 2012

More than 4,000 motorists were caught speeding during the first three months of enforcing the new 60mph speed limit on the Orwell Bridge.

A person has been successfully talked down from the Orwell Bridge this morning.

Local government secretary Sajid Javid has spent a day trying to resuscitate devolution proposals for Suffolk and Norfolk at meetings in both counties.

A Suffolk church verger who told his 70-year-old neighbour “you’ll get what’s coming to you” has been banned from contacting her for a year.

Police have released CCTV images of a man they wish to speak to after a home in Ipswich was burgled last month.

Halloween is just around the corner, meaning pumpkin carving and trick or treating will take over our lives for the next few days.

This week our iwitness themes was eerie Suffolk - open to anything that may spook or look odd.

A Suffolk museum is seeking public votes to gain funding for a scheme inspiring the next generation of engineers.

Although the new Odeon building next to the Ipswich Regent may have been vacant for the past 11 years, it was once the place for blockbuster movies.

Everyday our readers send in photos to iwitness24 that they have taken while out and about along the Suffolk coast, visiting one of our many beauty spots or while relaxing in their own gardens.

Most read

Most commented


Show Job Lists

Topic pages


Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24