All three Brighton and Hove MPs voted in favour of same sex marriage in the House of Commons this evening (Tuesday 5 February).
Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, Simon Kirby, the Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown, and Mike Weatherley, the Conservative MP for Hove, backed the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
The bill passed its first hurdle – known as the second reading – by 400 votes to 175 despite a rebellion by Tory backbenchers.
Dr Lucas said: “While the Conservative catfight over today’s vote will fade into insignificance, the momentous occasion on which MPs were given the chance to stand up for equality in marriage will be remembered for many years to come.
“The majority of the public sees no reason why people of the same sex who love each other and want to marry should not be able to do so.
“And despite claims to the contrary, this legislation will not force any faith groups to conduct gay marriages.
“Like many of the constituents who have written to me on this issue, I support the aims of the government’s proposed legislation and will therefore vote ‘yes’ to same sex marriage in Parliament.
“However, while I’ll be voting for equal marriage, I’ll also be calling for more far reaching reform to allow everyone – same sex and opposite sex couples – to enjoy a civil partnership or marriage, as they choose.
“This is a question of equal love. It’s not about asking for special treatment for gay couples or straight couples.
“It’s about everyone enjoying the same rights regardless of their sexuality.”
Mr Kirby said that he was a longstanding and vocal supporter of equal marriage.
And in his role as a parliamentary private secretary at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, he has been involved in preparing the ground for the bill.
He said: “Tonight’s vote marks an important milestone in the evolution of the institution of marriage and the advance of equality in the UK.
“I am proud to have voted in support of this historic change and I am proud of this government for having the courage to introduce the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
“The legislation strikes the right balance between equality for same sex couples and the rights of people of faith.
“I believe that those who listened to the debate will be assured that no church, synagogue or mosque will be forced into something that contradicts with their beliefs and organisations and individuals who don’t believe in same sex marriage will be fully protected from legal challenges.
“I know that equal marriage has the support of the majority of my constituents in Brighton Kemptown and I assure them that I will continue to fight for this bill as it makes the remainder of its passage through Parliament.”
On Friday (1 February) Mr Weatherley said: “I first raised the issue of unequal marriage rights for same sex couples back in 2011.
“I am delighted that legislation is now before the House and I look forward to voting on this important bill, which will be of huge significance to thousands of my constituents.
“While still slightly contentious now, I know that just a few years down the line, like civil partnerships, everyone will be wondering what all the fuss was about.”