Clegg slams gay marriage free vote

nick-clegg-speaking-at-london-pride-in-2008Lib Dem Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has hit out at the recent announcement that Tory MPs will be allowed a free vote with regards to gay marriage – a move made to avoid a rebellion from Tory MP’s and ministers who are opposed to it.

Mr Clegg said “We are not asking any person with religious convictions to sacrifice anything.

We are simply saying those who want to show a lifelong commitment to each other should be able to do so.”

Sir George Young, Commons leader, confirmed last week that MP’s would be offered a free vote and said “Along with other issues that involve matters of conscience, it seems to me perfectly proper that this should be subject to a free vote on this side of the House and that is what we plan to do.”

But Mr Clegg told BBC1′s Andrew Marr Show: “In the same way the civil partnerships legislation which was introduced under Labour was a whipped vote, I personally don’t think this is something which should be subject to a great free for all because we are not asking people to make a decision of conscience.”

He added: “If this was an issue that somehow the Government was proposing something that would somehow be an imposition on religion or the churches, then of course that would be a matter of conscience. We are not.”

Critics have questioned Mr Cameron’s commitment to the reform after he conceded to a free vote to quash an expected rebellion among backbench Tories.

The Coalition for Equal Marriage is tracking all support pledged by MP’s and tracking those who are against Marriage Equality.  Currently 176 MP’s are likely to vote in favour with 49 likely to vote against.  Views of 426 MP’s are unknown and 15 are remaining neutral.

Of the 49 MP’s expected to vote against Equal Marriage, 36 are Tory MP’s, 6 are Labour MP’s, 6 are from the Democratic Unionist Party and 1 is independent.

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