“The depth of feeling, love and commitment between same-sex couples is no different from that depth of feeling between opposite-sex couples,” said Equalities Minister Maria Miller in introducing the measure. “The Bill enables society to recognize that commitment in the same way, too, through marriage. Parliament should value people equally in the law, and enabling same-sex couples to marry removes the current differentiation and distinction.”
But even as Cameron touted his support for same-sex marriage as being in line with his conservative values, some of his fellow Tories aren’t fans of the effort. “[The campaign for equal marriage] has caused deep and needless divisions within the Conservative Party,” said former Defense Minister Sir Gerald Howarth. “There is no mandate for it.”
MP Edward Leigh, meanwhile acknowledged equality is important, “but not at the expense of every other consideration. Not at the expense of tradition.”
Those Conservative Party members who backed the measure were joined by the bulk of Labour MPs, including David Lammy who dismissed the theory that civil unions were adequate for gays and lesbians:
Separate but equal are the words that justified sending black children to different schools than their white peers. It is the same statement, the same ideas and the same delusion that we borrowed in this country to say that women could vote but only if they were married and only when they were over 30.
Separate is not equal, so let us be rid of it. As long as there is one rule for us and another for them we allow the barriers of acceptance to go unchallenged. As long as our statute book suggests love between two men or two women is unworthy of being recongized through marriage we allow the rot of homophobia to fester.
The next step is for the bill to examined in detail by the House of Commons and the House of Lords.