Pembrokeshire's two Tory MPs: Why we voted no to gay marriage

Pembrokeshire's two Conservative MPs have explained why they voted against their party in last week's controversial vote on gay marriage.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was voted through by 400 to 175, a majority of 225, last Tuesday.

However 136 Conservatives, including Pembrokeshire's Simon Hart and Stephen Crabb, opposed the bill.

MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, Simon Hart, said he had voted against the bill because he felt it was not particularly well considered in terms of the law and didn't make a great deal of sense.

"It is not simple and not a particularly straightforward decision," he said.

"In things like this which make such a huge difference to people on both sides of the argument it should have been in the party's manifesto before the election.

"I didn't feel comfortable that we had done things we should have done in the way of consultation," he added.

"We haven't put it in the manifesto, we haven't got consensus from religious groups and churches. I had a huge number of letters from people in the constituency expressing concern and I felt I couldn't go ahead with it."

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb also voted against the bill saying it would be wrong to force churches to change their beliefs.

Mr Crabb said: "With the exception of Withybush Hospital, this issue has caused more constituents to write me than any other in the last five years. The vast majority have expressed opposition but there is no doubt that those in favour of the Bill represent a growing strand of public opinion. I have considered both sides of the argument very carefully.

"Around a third of all marriages in Britain take place in churches which believe that marriage is between a husband and wife. It would be wrong for Parliament to force churches to change their beliefs.

"But I am not convinced about the safeguards currently in the Bill to protect churches from legal challenge in the future, once the government changes the definition of marriage. Somehow a better balance needs to be struck between equality for same-sex couples and protecting religious freedom."

Comments (15)

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5:33pm Wed 13 Feb 13

chizy says...

Wow, the elected ones actually explaining their actions to people who put them there. Is this a first?
Last time I checked we were currently in the 21st century, the views expressed by the elected and their fellow 'No' voters is so dated and Victorian. I'm in no way a Tory,nor shall ever be, but good on their party colleagues for voting this one through.
Wow, the elected ones actually explaining their actions to people who put them there. Is this a first? Last time I checked we were currently in the 21st century, the views expressed by the elected and their fellow 'No' voters is so dated and Victorian. I'm in no way a Tory,nor shall ever be, but good on their party colleagues for voting this one through. chizy
  • Score: 0

6:48pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Tina2 says...

Does it matter at the end of the day if a couple that are gay get married? It is no one's business but their own.

These two MPs have shown their true colours. I hope all gay residents of this county are kicking themselves if the voted Tory.
Does it matter at the end of the day if a couple that are gay get married? It is no one's business but their own. These two MPs have shown their true colours. I hope all gay residents of this county are kicking themselves if the voted Tory. Tina2
  • Score: 0

7:12pm Wed 13 Feb 13

quentin says...

So, if this bill is in the interests of equality then maybe Cameron should go the whole hog and put his millions into the pot for us all to have an equal share. Because something is "old fashioned" doesn't mean it is wrong and because something is seen as modern and trendy doesn't mean it is right.
So, if this bill is in the interests of equality then maybe Cameron should go the whole hog and put his millions into the pot for us all to have an equal share. Because something is "old fashioned" doesn't mean it is wrong and because something is seen as modern and trendy doesn't mean it is right. quentin
  • Score: 0

8:20pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Andrew Lye says...

I don't have a problem with 2 people marrying each other if they are in love.

Its not compulsory and the divorce statistics show that marriage between a man and woman is not all that some MP's like to think it is, through their rose tinted glasses.

Why any same sex couple would wish to get married in a church is beyond me and the hypocrisy of the churches who marry many who don't even go to church. They speak out against same sex marriage, but are happy to take the money of those who dont attend church.
I don't have a problem with 2 people marrying each other if they are in love. Its not compulsory and the divorce statistics show that marriage between a man and woman is not all that some MP's like to think it is, through their rose tinted glasses. Why any same sex couple would wish to get married in a church is beyond me and the hypocrisy of the churches who marry many who don't even go to church. They speak out against same sex marriage, but are happy to take the money of those who dont attend church. Andrew Lye
  • Score: 0

11:05pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Hyper-injunctions says...

I couldn't be bothered to read their mealy mouthed squealings. Lets guess, they hate gays, right?
I couldn't be bothered to read their mealy mouthed squealings. Lets guess, they hate gays, right? Hyper-injunctions
  • Score: 0

7:54am Thu 14 Feb 13

AdmiralFoley says...

David Cameron actually gave assurances that no church would be forced to conduct gay marriages. And yet Stephen Crabb claims this was the reason he voted against the bill. Someone must be telling fibs....
David Cameron actually gave assurances that no church would be forced to conduct gay marriages. And yet Stephen Crabb claims this was the reason he voted against the bill. Someone must be telling fibs.... AdmiralFoley
  • Score: 0

9:39am Thu 14 Feb 13

Bead says...

At least they've had the courage to say so and vote with their conscience. Good for them.
At least they've had the courage to say so and vote with their conscience. Good for them. Bead
  • Score: 0

11:27am Thu 14 Feb 13

Flashbang says...

"Religious groups and churches" have far too much influence over the wishes of the majority. Time for a reality check for these MP's.
"Religious groups and churches" have far too much influence over the wishes of the majority. Time for a reality check for these MP's. Flashbang
  • Score: 0

11:31am Thu 14 Feb 13

AndrewArmitage says...

Let's be clear: a lot of things that are not in manifestos get onto the Statute Book. So Hart's argument falls.

Crabb is a self-confessed religiophile, so his arguments are going to be suspect (I didn't say wrong - though I believe they are - but we have to take into account any possible bias from another aspect of his life, in this case his avowed superstitions).

Equality is equality. We know why Cameron wants it: it's because it fits nicely with making all relationships nice and easy as targets for commercial purposes and therefore further oils the wheels of capitalism. It also encourages gay people to marry and therefore declare more of their business to officialdom. If I as a gay man had a partner I would not wish to commit that to paper and have the government privy to it. That, however, is a separate argument, and those who wish to marry should be able to marry and call it marriage.

As instanced by Hart and Crabb, there is still the element of "the Nasty Party" in the Tory Party, and we must not forget this (New Labour are not much better). Yes, the party could have done it better, and it were better it had been in the manifesto; the fact is, it wasn't, but it's high time for change, and change is now inevitable.

As for "forcing" preachers to marry same-sex couples, well, they're licensed to conduct marriages, just as registrars are in civil cases. The registrar who lost her job (rightly, I believe) for refusing to splice a gay couple should now consider her case in law, because on the one hand we're saying she should have done her job and on the other hand we're saying another who is licensed to conduct marriages, the priest, should be exempt.

Sorry, but if someone is entrusted with an office and part of that office is to perform marriage, and marriage then becomes something gay people can lay claim to, he/she should have to do it, or resign. The reason I think the registrar should look at her case in law is that I'd like to see it tested in the courts, and show up this Con-Dem government's nonsensical idea that there should be exceptions for religions.

Another reason for the unfairness of the opt-out is that C of E people cannot be married in church while, say, Unitarians or Quakers can. Is that fair?
Let's be clear: a lot of things that are not in manifestos get onto the Statute Book. So Hart's argument falls. Crabb is a self-confessed religiophile, so his arguments are going to be suspect (I didn't say wrong - though I believe they are - but we have to take into account any possible bias from another aspect of his life, in this case his avowed superstitions). Equality is equality. We know why Cameron wants it: it's because it fits nicely with making all relationships nice and easy as targets for commercial purposes and therefore further oils the wheels of capitalism. It also encourages gay people to marry and therefore declare more of their business to officialdom. If I as a gay man had a partner I would not wish to commit that to paper and have the government privy to it. That, however, is a separate argument, and those who wish to marry should be able to marry and call it marriage. As instanced by Hart and Crabb, there is still the element of "the Nasty Party" in the Tory Party, and we must not forget this (New Labour are not much better). Yes, the party could have done it better, and it were better it had been in the manifesto; the fact is, it wasn't, but it's high time for change, and change is now inevitable. As for "forcing" preachers to marry same-sex couples, well, they're licensed to conduct marriages, just as registrars are in civil cases. The registrar who lost her job (rightly, I believe) for refusing to splice a gay couple should now consider her case in law, because on the one hand we're saying she should have done her job and on the other hand we're saying another who is licensed to conduct marriages, the priest, should be exempt. Sorry, but if someone is entrusted with an office and part of that office is to perform marriage, and marriage then becomes something gay people can lay claim to, he/she should have to do it, or resign. The reason I think the registrar should look at her case in law is that I'd like to see it tested in the courts, and show up this Con-Dem government's nonsensical idea that there should be exceptions for religions. Another reason for the unfairness of the opt-out is that C of E people cannot be married in church while, say, Unitarians or Quakers can. Is that fair? AndrewArmitage
  • Score: 0

9:56pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Tttoommy says...

How come they despise two men or two women who love each wanting to marry YET they think parry-jones is a decent human being otherwise they'd have spoken about the Pembs CC fiasco - right?
How come they despise two men or two women who love each wanting to marry YET they think parry-jones is a decent human being otherwise they'd have spoken about the Pembs CC fiasco - right? Tttoommy
  • Score: 0

10:03pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Tttoommy says...

PS the Tories pushing this legislation through is a complete waste of time and money, they are STILL the nasty party and this window dressing like the huge increase in overseas aid will not change our minds - OK you 'orrible common smelly working oiks and plebs ?
. Indeed if you continue to complain about how we behave you will lose your job or go to jail just like those cops on the gate at No. 10
PS the Tories pushing this legislation through is a complete waste of time and money, they are STILL the nasty party and this window dressing like the huge increase in overseas aid will not change our minds - OK you 'orrible common smelly working oiks and plebs ? . Indeed if you continue to complain about how we behave you will lose your job or go to jail just like those cops on the gate at No. 10 Tttoommy
  • Score: 0

10:54pm Thu 14 Feb 13

Hyper-injunctions says...

It's interesting to see some people commenting that these two homophobic dinosaurs should be praised for their honesty over why they voted to maintain a state of inequality between humans.
If I felt they were being honest about their reasons I too would congratulate them, however this is pure political shape-shifting.
They are clever enough to not come out and say openly that they hate gays, but they are stupid enough to think that people will believe their hasty, cobbled together backtracking is true. I would sooner trust someone who told me they hated me to my face than trust someone who attempts to appear like an angel but is in fact a devil.
The WT should do a reader poll.........
It's interesting to see some people commenting that these two homophobic dinosaurs should be praised for their honesty over why they voted to maintain a state of inequality between humans. If I felt they were being honest about their reasons I too would congratulate them, however this is pure political shape-shifting. They are clever enough to not come out and say openly that they hate gays, but they are stupid enough to think that people will believe their hasty, cobbled together backtracking is true. I would sooner trust someone who told me they hated me to my face than trust someone who attempts to appear like an angel but is in fact a devil. The WT should do a reader poll......... Hyper-injunctions
  • Score: 0

12:33pm Fri 15 Feb 13

jan 2531952 says...

I truly believe we should stick to our beliefs weather straight or gay it is not out of the question to find a priest who
believes in same sex marriage and i agree that if they don't then they shouldn't perform the ceremony but they should find a registrar who will that is their job and i do not believe that someone should loose their job just because they have their own beliefs.
I truly believe we should stick to our beliefs weather straight or gay it is not out of the question to find a priest who believes in same sex marriage and i agree that if they don't then they shouldn't perform the ceremony but they should find a registrar who will that is their job and i do not believe that someone should loose their job just because they have their own beliefs. jan 2531952
  • Score: 0

1:04pm Fri 15 Feb 13

AndrewArmitage says...

jan 2531952 wrote:
I truly believe we should stick to our beliefs weather straight or gay it is not out of the question to find a priest who
believes in same sex marriage and i agree that if they don't then they shouldn't perform the ceremony but they should find a registrar who will that is their job and i do not believe that someone should loose their job just because they have their own beliefs.
You write, ". . . it is not out of the question to find a priest who believes in same sex marriage . . ."


Ah, but, as the government wants it, those who believe in same-sex marriage but are stuck within the C of E or the Church in Wales will not be able to conduct a legal marriage of two women or two men. This is unfair to those within the C of E or C in W who wish their unions to be recorded and, indeed, solemnised within their chosen denomination. So the Quaker, say, is at an advantage. Why? So it's unfair on C of E and C in W devotees, who may consider just any old Christian priest not good enough, wanting one from their own denomination instead – and quite rightly, too. I suspect it will be challenged.
[quote][p][bold]jan 2531952[/bold] wrote: I truly believe we should stick to our beliefs weather straight or gay it is not out of the question to find a priest who believes in same sex marriage and i agree that if they don't then they shouldn't perform the ceremony but they should find a registrar who will that is their job and i do not believe that someone should loose their job just because they have their own beliefs.[/p][/quote]You write, ". . . it is not out of the question to find a priest who believes in same sex marriage . . ." Ah, but, as the government wants it, those who believe in same-sex marriage but are stuck within the C of E or the Church in Wales will not be able to conduct a legal marriage of two women or two men. This is unfair to those within the C of E or C in W who wish their unions to be recorded and, indeed, solemnised within their chosen denomination. So the Quaker, say, is at an advantage. Why? So it's unfair on C of E and C in W devotees, who may consider just any old Christian priest not good enough, wanting one from their own denomination instead – and quite rightly, too. I suspect it will be challenged. AndrewArmitage
  • Score: 0

10:01pm Fri 15 Feb 13

quentin says...

Lot of people here heading for an ulcer. Cheer up folks; enjoy life before the asteroid strikes.
Lot of people here heading for an ulcer. Cheer up folks; enjoy life before the asteroid strikes. quentin
  • Score: 0

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