Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:51 pm on 5th February 2013.

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Photo of David Burrowes David Burrowes Conservative, Enfield, Southgate 4:51 pm, 5th February 2013

I will be generous and give the Government credit for the title of the Bill. It is about marriage and not about homosexuality. I have great respect for my right hon. Friend Nick Herbert, but I am concerned that this Bill has advocates—indeed, I have heard them in the House today—who of all people are liberal Conservatives who want to use it as a vehicle to redefine people’s views of homosexuality, rather than to redefine marriage, which is what this Bill is about.

I have stood alongside my right hon. Friend in support of specific legislation to tackle homophobic hatred. Indeed, I have been alongside Chris Bryant in my school, speaking out against homophobic bullying. This time, however, I will be in a different Lobby from them as I will be seeking to defend the social institution of marriage. We should not conflate two things. An underlying message coming across from some hon. Members, in eloquent terms, is that if someone is against this Bill, they are acceding to bigotry and homophobia. That is unacceptable. We stand positively for the institution of marriage—let no one mistake that.