Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 8°C

Search

Suffolk: ‘Gay marriage could lead to court action’ says MP David Ruffley

PUBLISHED: 09:00 27 November 2012 | UPDATED: 09:07 27 November 2012

MP David Ruffley who opposes gay marriage

MP David Ruffley who opposes gay marriage

Archant

AN MP has warned that plans to allow gay marriage could lead to vicars getting sued if they refuse to carry out ceremonies on religious grounds.

The comments from Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley come as David Cameron is pushing for changes in the law that would see marriage, currently defined as between a man and a woman, redefined to accommodate same-sex couples.

Mr Ruffley said he supported previous legislation to introduce civil partnerships that saw gay couples gain the same legal rights married couples have, but argued that marriage itself should not be tampered with.

He said: “Of course there are arguments on both sides, but I firmly believe that marriage is defined in the Judeo-Christian tradition as being between a man and a woman.

“I’m particularly concerned that if marriage is redefined then some members of the clergy who, for religious reasons, do not recognise gay marriage, may be open to litigation in the courts. Such litigation down the road is highly undesirable.

“Many members of the gay community who speak to me do not feel particularly strongly about gay marriage. They are content with the status they have in law already under civil partnerships.”

A House of Commons vote on the change could come as early as January, but already 118 out of 303 Conservative MPs, including Mr Ruffley and two others from Suffolk, have signalled they will rebel.

Mr Cameron has said he will allow his MPs to vote as they wish, but if his proposals were ditched it would be a significant personal defeat for the Prime Minister, who sees the issue as symbolic of attempts to modernise the Conservatives.

The other two MPs in the county who have said they would rebel are Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey and Waveney MP Peter Aldous, who said: “Broadly speaking I have expressed my concerns.

“The 2005 civil partnership legislation was much needed and addressed a particular issue with same-sex relationships, as they did not have equal footing in the eyes of the law.

“But as far as this consultation on new proposals, I have concerns that marriage is something that not just the state is involved in but religious organisations and the church.

“I feel uncomfortable with the state redefining the definition on marriage, as was proposed, and I have made the Government aware of my stance.”

Dr Coffey said: “I take a traditional view on marriage; it’s about commitment, but also primarily about family.”

2 comments

  • I presume Ruffley would also moan if a racist church minister refused to marry a black couple? He seems to want a charter for bigots to pick and choose who they discriminate against.

    Report this comment

    beerlover

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

  • "I firmly believe that marriage is defined in the Judeo-Christian tradition as being between a man and a woman." Anyone with a cursory knowledge of the bible knows that biblical marriage also means one man and many women. Believing in the bible is a private matter, why should we legislate delusion into national law?

    Report this comment

    Bish Chan

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

A man in his 30s has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving in connection with a crash between two lorries and a car today.

The mother of a 21-year-old killed in a crash at the same spot which claimed the life of a teenage girl this month has called for a lower speed limit on the road.

There is further evidence that drivers in Suffolk are taking more notice of the region’s speed limits after figures showed that the number caught on the A12 has fallen by near two thirds over the last year.

The sacking of Essex’s chief fire officer has been branded unfair and unjust by union leaders.

As Ipswich Town take to the field against Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow afternoon, one diehard Owls fan will be hoping the team he has followed since the 1920s can return to South Yorkshire with an away win.

Concerns that paint factory jobs are at risk at two of Stowmarket’s largest employers have been raised, as one of the businesses looks at buying out the other.

A 52-year-old man from Ipswich has admitted to possessing a knife at Crown Pools last month.

Most read

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24