Gay marriage


               I have received numerous emails from constituents urging me to vote against Gay marriage proposals. Now we have seen the government’s response to its consultation I invite constituents to send me their view here or to the Commons on this topic. I wish to consult widely before deciding how to vote. I have not been seeking any changes to marriage law, but now wish to understand the mood in the constituency about the government’s proposals.

              Will anyone sending in their view please confirm they are a constituent, as this post and  this part of the site is offered for constituents, not for national debate.


  1. Jane McQueen
    December 11, 2012

    After the government announcement today on the issue, it is clear to me that any challenge on the grounds of discrimination would not succeed even in the European Courts. I believe that what is being proposed satisfies all sides of the discussion. In that it allows equality in law for gay couples to marry, and also respects the religious freedom of those institutions who both support marriage equality to participate while allowing those who do not wish to the ability to opt out.

    I would ask you as both a conservative and a gay woman to vote for this change as not only is it the right thing to do but it’s also the decent thing to do. As just ask yourself, if this was marriage equality for Jewish people or Muslims or French or German people would we be having this discussion in the first place?

  2. karen hall
    December 11, 2012

    I would like to see the marriage laws change so that people who love and want to commit to each other can do so regardless of their gender.

  3. John K Smith
    December 11, 2012

    Vote against. Its barmy – you know it is Sir!

    Look at some of Maria Miller’s language, despite the so-called “triple lock”, or “quadruple lock”… She could only answer “negligible” when pressed by one of your colleagues, if it was open to legal challenges. I believe she offered NO percentage figure when asked to quantify what negligible meant!

    Also, vague RE: teachers in Faith schools and their ability to promote “regular” marriage.

  4. Gwen Tanner`
    December 11, 2012

    No mandate, not in the manifesto; how many times have we heard this! No to gay marriage I say, they have civil partnerships in place and most gay people are not at all bothered by this consultation.
    Why it is when Labour get a “bee in their bonnet” about an ‘equality’ issue, they never let it go. What about the equality of the majority of people in this country who DO NOT want gay marriage passed in parliament and into a bill next March 2013.
    Vote against please, it is the right thing to do.

    Reply: Thank you for your comment. Are you a constituent?

    1. Joanna Belcher
      December 12, 2012

      if you are going to use the argument that there is no mandate I presume you have asked John Redwood to stand against the changes to the NHS – not only was there no mandate, they promised NOT to make top down changes! That argument doesn’t wash, especially as there will be a free vote.
      How many gay people have you asked- that’s not the impression I get from any person, gay or not!

      Reply As I have reported before on this site, the Conservative Manifesto set out a substantial agenda for change in the NHS.

  5. simon_c
    December 11, 2012

    I’m not sure what the proposals are, probably very hard to understand legalese, but to me the principle should be simple.

    * The legal institution of Marriage should be fully open to any couple, gay or straight. It should be blind to the genders or sexuality of the participants.
    * No law should prevent any religious organisation from officiating a marriage ceremony.
    * No law should prevent a marriage ceremony from taking place on religious premiss.
    * No law should compel any religious institution to perform a legal marriage of any two people. i.e. a religious institution should be at liberty to discriminate on performing a marriage on whatever grounds it deems fit. Sexuality, age, divorce status, immigration status, residence in a parish, even race if it really wants to open that can of worms.
    * No “officer” (for what of a better word) of any religious or civic organization would have any grounds for pressing a “wrongful dismissal” case against their employer if they refused to perform a marriage ceremony providing it was within the published guidelines for that organisation.
    * Obviously registrars via local councils would be compelled to officiate any correctly presented marriage. Give them (say) 6 months to ask for a transfer to another position within the council if their personal “moral code” prevents them from officiating some particular type of marriage.

  6. Charles
    December 11, 2012

    I’m a young trans man. Every single one of us knows how ridiculously long it takes to get a gender recognition certificate – even just getting a first appointment with a gender identity clinic can take two years, sometimes longer. It’s perfectly possible that I will meet someone I wish to marry before I can persuade the powers that be that I am worthy of my gender being recognised by law. This means that the day will come when I have to choose between the person I fall in love with, and the person I should always have been, as the current discrepancy means that marriages and civil partnerships have to be dissolved in order for a person to have their gender legally recognised. This puts so much strain on already vulnerable relationships, and makes a time of colossal adversity so much worse. When I am old enough, I don’t want to ever have to make such a horrendous decision. Right now, I don’t want any more families to be torn apart because of the few people who can’t stand the LGBT community to be equal to the rest of society. We already face crippling bigotry from employers, strangers, medical professionals and religious institutions because we are brave enough to become what we should have been born as. Please, think about the effect this will have on individuals – whilst it may mean discomfort for the right-wing few, it could radically transform the lives of millions for the better.

    Reply Thank you for your contribution. Are you a constituent of mine?

  7. James Stewart
    December 11, 2012

    John – I am not a constituent (or gay). I am a Conservative and wish the party well. I would urge you and your colleagues to support gay marriage, so long as religious institutions are not compelled to carry out such ceremonies on their premises if they do not wish to do so. If this change doesn’t happen now, it will soon and I think it will benefit the party to have been ahead of the change rather than eventually accepting it. I cannot see how allowing gay people to marry undermines any heterosexual marriage.
    Best wishes
    James Stewart

  8. OldAlbion
    December 11, 2012

    John, I am an atheist. I don’t give a hoot what the church thinks about anything.
    But marriage is a union of one man and one woman. Whether carried out in a church or registry office or even a grand country manor.
    Civil partnership is the union of one man and one woman. Or two men, Or two women. Or even two people of indeterminate gender.
    That’s how it should remain.
    Nobody has asked for gay marriage to be introduced. It is not important in the face of the chaos in which the (dis)United Kingdom finds itself.
    Todays announcement that churches in England and Wales will be banned from ‘Gay marriages’ is recognition that trying to dictate who can and who can’t hold these ceremonies will come under legal attack from (probably) gay agitators.
    Tell Dave to shut up about this whole ridiculous issue and get back to sorting out the finances.

    1. OldAlbion
      December 12, 2012

      Well that came quicker than even i expected. Tatchell’s kicked off about ‘human rights’ today.

    2. Hannah
      December 13, 2012

      I just have to point out that you are wrong on one count here, sorry:

      ‘Civil partnership is the union of one man and one woman. Or two men, Or two women. Or even two people of indeterminate gender.’

      Incorrect. A man and a woman cannot have a civil partnership. They must marry. The whole current situation makes no sense.

  9. Sir Richard Richard
    December 11, 2012

    To all those commenting in favour of homosexual marriage; why do you all imply that marriage should be limited to either two people or indeed “couples” (implying a romantic involvement). Knowing the difficulty with which you’ve brought homosexual marriage to this point, I would’ve thought you’d be more open to marriages involving multiple people, people and legal entities such as companies, and two people who have no romantic interest in one another. Only then shall we have real marriage equality.

    1. Joanna Belcher
      December 12, 2012

      I have not come across people asking for this – have you?
      As the law stands it excludes homosexual people from marrying. It is this that is seen as unjust as heterosexual people can marry.
      As I understand it there is not a ceremony where groups of people, either heterosexual or homosexual can enter into “marriages” – as this is the same, regardless of sexuality, I would say this is fair and just, wouldn’t you?
      I presume you are trying to make a point – but I am not sure the logic is quite there

      1. Sir Richard Richard
        December 13, 2012

        I am sure the logic is there, you just don’t seem to grasp it. The point is, once you detach yourself from the well-engrained Christian definition of marriage as one woman and one man, there is no logical barrier to accepting other forms.

        Your argument, it follows, is completely vacuous. Allow me to demonstrate by changing just a few key words: “As the law stands it excludes polygamists from marrying. It is this that is seen as unjust as monogamists can marry”.

        See how that statement carries the same force as your original version? You seem to be drawing an arbitrary distinction between homosexuals and polygamists. One group prefers relationships between people of the same-sex, another prefers relationships between many people.

        Plenty of people ask for the legalisation of polygamy in this country, and I myself, here and now, am calling for marriage between people and companies; it would simplify my tax returns greatly.

        1. Luke
          December 14, 2012

          The distinction between homosexuals and polygamists is not arbitrary. polygamy leads to great harm and often involves a whole host of problems (legal and developmental (in the case of children)). This gives reasons for the state not to allow polygamous marriages.
          But suppose for arguments sake polygamy is not harmful. Then yes, perhaps it ought to be legalised. Or perhaps we can reply as follows. The question of whether two people can enter into a private contract is, prima facie, different from the question of whether 3 people can enter into a contact, or whether a group can. So the reasons for allowing a certain contract, marriage in this case, for 2 people, cannot be simply lumped together with the reasons or whether 3 people can get married. To do this ignores the different facts of the case.
          Another objection can be made to what you said. You seem to imply that some changes in marriage would leave open the possibility of polygamous marriages. But what changes? What about when inter-racial marriage was legalised? Is this a change which, according to your view, would leave open the possibility of polygamous marriages? I suppose that you might say that this was not a fundamental change in marriage, which by definition remains the union between a man and a women. But how can you argue that claim? There are, after all, many countries where marriage is not so defined. Alternatively you could say that inter-racial marriage could not lead to polygamous marriage since inter-racial marriage involves a minimal change. You could argue that it involves a minimal change since the difference between two people of the same race is not pertinent, or in some way arbitrary. But on what count is it the case that this difference is not pertinent or arbitrary but the case of two people having the same gender an important difference?

  10. JoolsB
    December 12, 2012


    Why is Cameron hellbent on losing the next election? Brian Binley is right in that Cameron is alienating every one of his supporters, the ones that are left that is. This was not in any manifesto and surely there are far more important issues in the country that need to be addressed. Cameron is pushing through the wrong things which no-one is asking for, except Cleggie maybe, whilst he is ignoring all the things which he promised and which are popular. He is tearing the party apart – vote against.

    1. Joanna Belcher
      December 12, 2012

      It might not be important to you – but this is exactly the sort of thing that is extremely important to the people that it affects

  11. Kate J
    December 12, 2012

    I think you should neither vote for or against but abstain from voting. The UK already has progressive equality rights and any two people may be legally joined in partnership. If a church wishes to bless this union the elders in the church should be able to choose if they recognise and bestow their blessing. If a gay couple have a strong faith and the support of their church (where I would assume they have regular attendance) then why wouldn’t their local priest, rabbi or imam bless them. If they aren’t regular church goers then why should they be bothered by receiving the churches blessing.

    I feel this act is unnecessary.

    I am a constituent, and a conservative, and married and Christian. My church is very welcoming to all and I am sure that if any practising gay couples wanted their civil partnership blessed they would be welcomed

  12. TheSDs
    December 12, 2012

    I think most of us will agree that during the time of Apartheid in south Africa and racial segregation in the USA, ‘Separate, But Equal’ was rarely equal. This is how I feel about Civil Partnerships vs Equal Marriage. Changing the minor details to include same sex couples holds no threat to existing marriages or religious organisations. In fact, there are many religious organisations that welcome the move and want to be more inclusive of same sex couples and their families. They should be allowed to have religious freedom to carry out Same Sex Marriages, if they choose.
    My wife and I are both Wokingham constituents and Parish/Borough Councillors. We go to great lengths to be active and involved in the local community, supporting our schools, festivals, open spaces etc. I’d certainly say that the people of Wokingham have been very accepting of us. We have been in a same sex relationship of more than 10 years and because we were legally marriage abroad, our status is ‘downgraded’ to a civil Partnership here in the UK. A lot of this is about the power of the words people use, i.e ‘husband’, ‘Wife’, ‘Finacee’ etc… I don’t know about anyone else, but ‘Civil Partner’ doesn’t convey the same long time depth of meaning to anyone and is seems more of a political statement.
    I too would like to see our government move on and fix the greater economic picture. But, if they can spend a little time making our great country a more free and equal place for people to live, especially with no or little economic detriment as this bill offers, then I am very much all for it.
    Please vote to support Same Sex Marriage…(and please remember that not everyone affected by this would identify as ‘Gay’)

  13. Prue Bray
    December 12, 2012

    John, I am most definitely one of your constituents, as you know.

    As a straight, married, woman, I would wish to extend marriage to any couple, straight or gay. I would wish any institution to be able to marry same sex couples if they wished, and regret very much that the CofE and CofW are banned under the proposed legislation.
    No religious organisation will be forced to marry same sex couples. Those who claim some sort of ECHR appeal would succeed should reflect on the fact that churches have not been forced against their will to marry people who have been previously divorced.

    As for the idea that equal marriage means condoning polygamy or bestiality, it is just ridiculous and exposes the weakness of the arguments of its opponents.

    I think that if two people wish to commit their lives to each other, the state should not stand in their way. I hope you will manage to come off the fence and support that view yourself.

    Prue Bray
    Leader of the Lib Dem group on Wokingham Borough Council

    Dear Prue,

    Thank you for your email. I myself am not seeking changes to marriage law, but am listening to opinion in the constituency. So far there are many more people writing to me against than in favour of these changes. The problem with matters like this that split communities is the MP can only represent one side of the argument when it comes to casting a vote.

    1. Joanna Belcher
      December 12, 2012

      John, There are not more people on here asking you to vote against.
      Two points: people’s rights should not be based on majority opinion – that way minority groups would never see justice. A politician should be able to look at the merits of an argument, not count responses. If all you are going to do is count numbers you reduce yourself to an administrator!. Secondly you have received letters via an organised campaign by church members who will not be directly affected by this bill. It beggars belief that you cannot appreciate this.

      Reply: Most people are sending me emails rather than writing to this site. I will use this to help judge constituency opinion.

  14. Joanna
    December 12, 2012

    I live in the Wokingham constituency.

    I think you should vote for equal marriage. I am married to someone who is transsexual. As the law currently stands my spouse cannot be legally recognised as female simply because it is arbitrarily not allowed in law for us to be married. Even thought she is female, I am female and we are married. The law is a nonsense!

    What the state says we should do is have our marriage annulled, obtain the gender recognition certificate and then get a civil partnership. I find this thoroughly offensive. We have worked very hard to maintain our relationship – it wasn’t easy at times, but I am proud that we have as I wouldn’t want to be with anyone else. I find it amazing and offensive that people who support marriage also think it right that we end ours. Try explaining to our teenagers why you think their parents should have their marriage annulled. I know that many children are married outside wedlock, but this was not the route we chose to go down, but the state would like to force this on us.

    If you are not going to vote in favour of equal marriage please would you let me know what you suggest to make sure that the rights of my partner are met, while allowing us to maintain our marriage.

    In case people reading this don’t understand I would like to point out that being transsexual is not a lifetstyle choice it is a medical condition.

    For people who don’t agree that gay people should get married, my advice is not to enter into a gay marriage, but what right do you have to stop others from doing what they would like to do.

    I also think that religious organisations should never be made to perform a marriage on gay people if they don’t want to (like it is for divorcees) but it seems discriminatory to me to say that a Church of England priest cannot do this in law should they wish to.

    Vote for please

    1. Kate H
      December 12, 2012

      Joanna, regardless of what people think of others entering into homosexual marriages, I hope everyone can see from your story how nonsensical and unfair the current legislation is.
      No one should be forced to annul their loving marriage. You know you have my full support.

  15. Louise
    December 12, 2012

    Firstly I am a constituent. I would like you to vote to support the changes. Nothing more to say than that.

  16. Jim Stanley
    December 12, 2012

    Your constituents are lucky John, I wish my PM, sorry MP here in the Witney area would do the same. KEEP up the good work, I will leave you to your primary concerns.

    1. Jim Stanley
      December 12, 2012

      Sorry about the caps keep

  17. Tony Houghton
    December 12, 2012

    You know we are both your constituents. I had a call this morning by another constituent, who was so concerned about David Cameron’s policy of gay marriage that she was thinking of leaving the Conservative Party!

    Both Barbara and I believe that marriage can only be between a man and a woman and cannot understand why Cameron is bothering with the policy. We both wholeheartedly agree with Old Albion’s comment above.

  18. Tony Houghton
    December 12, 2012

    Further, We have a member of the family, who is gay and who is equally adamant that there should not be gay marriage.

    1. Rob
      January 24, 2013

      So because one gay person does not want to get married, you believe this is a legitimate reason to prevent all same-sex couples from marrying? I have met many straight people who do not believe in marriage, but of course you would not agree that this is reason to prevent YOUR marriage, would you?

  19. Jo Rogers
    December 12, 2012

    I am posting in support of the proposed change in legislation to allow gay couples to marry, giving them equality with heterosexual couples. I believe this is a matter of justice and equality, not morality, religion or politics. I am a constituent, and would very much appreciate it if you could vote in favour of this. Thank you.

  20. Amy
    December 12, 2012

    This country has had to make so many changes to not be deemed as discriminating against other religions or cultures or nationalities, so why should this be any different. We are discriminating against gay couples by not allowing them to marry! Being gay is not a choice and cannot be changed so they should not be punished for it. Marriage is about love no matter who that love is shared between. So yes please vote FOR the change!! Yes I am a constituent.

  21. TheSDs
    December 12, 2012

    I think most of us will agree that during the time of Apartheid in South Africa and racial segregation in the USA, ‘Separate, But Equal’ was rarely equal. This is how I feel about Civil Partnerships vs Equal Marriage. Changing the minor details to include same sex couples holds no threat to existing marriages or religious organisations. In fact, there are many religious organisations that welcome the move and want to be more inclusive of same sex couples and their families. They should be allowed to have religious freedom to carry out Same Sex Marriages, if they choose.
    My wife and I are both Wokingham constituents.
    I too would like to see our government move on and fix the greater economic picture. But, if they can spend a little time making our great country a more free and equal place for people to live, especially with no or little economic detriment as this bill offers, then I am very much all for it. I also feel that creating rifts against the Conservative Party leadership is not helpful in any way.
    Please vote to support Same Sex Marriage…this is not a ‘lifestyle choice’ for anyone involved.

  22. Bruce of Burghfield
    December 12, 2012

    Blimey John, that brought the (pro)gays out in force! And they have become a force to be reckoned with, beware, they do not take “No” for an answer. This latest twist in the gay saga has Lib Dem finger prints all over it, with Cameron doing anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid the label of “nasty”. Do you know what – I’m with the Roman Catholics on this one, no nosense, men marry women, others make their own arrangements! At this moment John it looks like I am one of the very few “(traditionals)” left in your constituency! Good luck!!

    1. Joanna Belcher
      December 13, 2012

      Bruce, marriage is NOT just a religious institution in this country – it affects all sorts of things that have nothing to do with religion, such as benefits, pensions, taxes, insurance… as such we need to have equality.
      To say others make their own arrangements would be fine if it was not a legal status, but it is, and as such the inequalities need to be addressed.

  23. Lynda
    December 12, 2012

    I am a straight, married, woman in the Wokingham constituency. I would like to see my homosexual friends have the option to make the same life commitment to each other that my partner and I have, regardless of their gender and sexual orientation.

    Please vote for change.

  24. Niki
    December 12, 2012

    I am a constituent, I strongly support equal marriage, the idea of marriage for procreation only is hugely out of date and would then exclude all ladies over 50(is). Nowadays marriage is an expression of love and commitment, which I believe should be supported as a foundation of any fair and equal society. I am a constituent

  25. Niki
    December 12, 2012

    I am a constituent, I strongly support equal marriage, the idea of marriage for procreation only is hugely out of date and would then exclude all ladies over 50(is). Nowadays marriage is an expression of love and commitment, which I believe should be supported as a foundation of any fair and equal society.

  26. Antoinette Boyle
    December 12, 2012

    I am a Wokingham constituent and am totally in favour of gay marriage. Why should we not all have the same rights.

  27. Kate Harrison
    December 12, 2012

    Sir, I would urge you to vote in favour of these changes to the marriage legislation. I confirm I am a constituent.

    I have emailed you on more than one occasion to this effect.

  28. Wendy Scotchmer
    December 12, 2012

    I confirm my support for legally recognised gay marriages

  29. Anna Neffendorf
    December 12, 2012

    I am one of your constituents and I feel strongly that you should vote for the proposed changes. Thank you for consulting on this issue.

  30. Catherine Stott
    December 12, 2012

    I vote yes to gay marriage

  31. Sarah Lawman
    December 12, 2012

    I am a constituent and feel very strongly that civil partnerships should have the same legal status as marriage.

  32. C A H
    December 12, 2012

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    I am a constituent living in Beanoak Road.
    I would like you to vote in favour of gay marriage.

  33. Sarah Hawkes
    December 12, 2012

    Please vote for the changes to allow gay couples the right to marry if they choose. I am a constituent.

  34. Helen
    December 12, 2012

    I’m a constituent, and have written to you in the past urging you to support equal marriage (as the government’s proposals are titled).

    Because I was so disappointed with your response then, I helped set up a Facebook group – Wokingham for Equal Marriage. In a matter of only a few days we attracted over 100 members. But I don’t think we should actually play the numbers game – but rather listen to the arguments for and against.

    If I may try to summarise the arguments against, they seem to be:
    a) that no-one is asking for it – except that in the government’s consultation 87% indicated they would change their existing civil partnership to a marriage, so this argument is obviously false.
    b) a marriage is between one man and one woman – except that the Bible (which is what’s usually used to support it) seems to indicate that a marriage can also be between one man and many (up to 360) women, but my understanding of the Christian message is that it’s about love – and the dissolution rates for civil partnerships are actually lower than those for marriages.
    c) that civil partnerships are sufficient – except that they are obviously different, otherwise they wouldn’t have a different name, and the perception appears to be they are inferior.

    The arguments for:
    a) many gay people want to make a loving lifelong commitment to their partner and don’t want to enter a relationship they perceive as second class or inferior to marriage.
    b) trans people are forced to divorce in order to gain gender recognition. This is costly, traumatic and again seems to relegate an existing, legal marriage.
    c) it enables anybody irrespective of gender to enter a marriage that is equal in status to any other marriage.

    So – I can dismiss the arguments against – but not the arguments for.

    John – make your decision on the merits of the arguments, not on majority opinion. There will be religious people who are inherently more organised than gay or trans people, so it is inevitable that you will hear more voices raised in opposition – except those voices will never actually be affected by the change in the law. Those who are arguing for the change are very likely to be affected. If you vote against, and I really, really hope you don’t, maybe you could set out what changes you would then propose to allow my marriage to continue and still allow me to gain gender recognition.

    Three quotes from an article I wrote for a news site (Gay Star News) today (Link):

    “a number of MPs felt quite at liberty to continue to erase my rights, my marriage, my identity.”

    “Because what those MPs are saying is that it is quite acceptable to force my wife and I to divorce, to destabilize our family, to cost us money and inflict emotional turmoil, not to mention the logistical headaches of trying to arrange divorce, gender recognition and civil partnership in as close proximity as possible, while hoping that nothing adverse happens between the beginning and end of that process. All of this in the name of ‘protecting marriage and the family’. The hypocrisy is blindingly obvious.”

    “While I’m pleased that the government is going ahead with its proposals, and disappointed that they don’t go far enough (because what about those trans people who are in civil partnerships, for example), I’m absolutely furious with those who seem to deny that I and hundreds like me exist, and therefore don’t deserve equal rights.”

  35. Judith
    December 13, 2012

    John, I live in Wokingham and I would like you to vote in favour of equal marriage. I have noticed on other comments that if you have been asked to vote in favour of change that you then ask if the person is a constituent. You are not asking the same of those who ask you to vote against. Why is that?

    Reply I did and I do.

    1. Judith
      December 13, 2012

      I have re-read the above comments and the only people you have asked to confirm that they are constituents are people who are in favour of the change.

      Reply: No, I am asking all to confirm they are constituents.

      1. Maxine
        May 20, 2013

        I think the clear evidence is against you here John

  36. Alex Forrest
    December 13, 2012

    I am a constituent and a straight man. I fully support equal marriage, and would urge you to vote in favour. Same-sex couples deserve equal standing to opposite-sex couples in modern Britain.

    Even if responses from constituents are in the majority against equal marriage, I would urge you to show leadership and vote in favour, as this is how we can progress as a civilised and inclusive society. I am sure that at some points in our history, ethnic minorities and women were not considered equal by the majority, and it is only by our progression and the strength of brave people which have changed our views to how they are today.

  37. Joanne Astley
    December 13, 2012

    I would like you to vote for gay marriage in church. This doesn’t effect my directly, but I believe everyone should be entitled to get married. And if a church is willing to carry out these weddings then I don’t see what business it is to anyone else!

  38. Owen Astley
    December 13, 2012

    I’d just like to say that I am for gay marriage. The arguments for are that it will make a significant difference to the lives of gay people who wish to get married, and no (or little at best) difference to the lives of others.

    I am a constituent.

  39. Hannah
    December 13, 2012

    First of all, I am a constituent. Secondly, I don’t believe that you truly ‘listen’ to your constituents if you already have a view on an issue and as such many of them don’t bother to speak up. As Helen mentions above, there is a Facebook group supporting gay marriage in our constituency – are you aware of this? Can you publish the communications you have received with a for and against tally so we can see that most constituents are against, as you say?
    The comments here overwhelmingly support voting in favour of the proposed changes. Are you actually planning on going with the majority of your constituents? Or have you already made your mind up? I’m guessing the latter.

    With regards to the vote, here’s how I see it: Civil partnerships are legally equal to marriage and the main difference is religion in reality. BUT, the weird part is, same sex couples are not allowed to be married and opposite sex couples are not allowed to have a civil partnership. This makes zero sense to me. If an opposite sex couple have no interest in religion but HAVE to get married, why can a same sex couple who have religious beliefs not be allowed to marry? Confusing. Seems like the distinctions are all wrong. I don’t think gender should really come into it, religion should be the deciding factor. Anyone should be allowed to marry regardless of gender (it’s the 21st century people!), but only those holding true religious beliefs should be allowed to marry in church. And in my opinion, I don’t have a problem with that being at the church’s discretion to a degree. If you have strong beliefs, you are likely to have a relationship with a church in which you could marry (in theory).

    I’ll be interested to see how you vote, though I would put money on the answer. You’ll have to excuse my cynicism, apologies.

    Reply: Yes, I will tell constituents the results of the consultation. I have said that I will study the government’s proposals when published, and will be influenced by constituents’ views an by the proposals and arguments for and against. I do npot have a strong view of my own on this topic – if I did I would simply tell you what it is as on other matters where I do have a strong view. I have not been seeking changes to marriage law, but will consider the proposals when they are published.

    1. Hannah
      January 9, 2013

      Thank you. That’s comforting to know.

    2. Joanna
      February 2, 2013

      As the vote draws near, I wonder if now would be the time to publish the results of your consultation, as indicated above.
      As 78% of people here are asking you to vote in favour of the equal marriage bill, I presume you would need to have a very compelling reason to vote otherwise -I wonder if you have one?
      It is heartening to see that you intend to be influenced by this consultation.

      Reply: I will do so. Many more people have replied by email than have replied direct to the website.

  40. angela
    December 13, 2012

    I am a constituent. I would like you to vote in favour of equal marriage. I have no sense that by voting against you will actually be representing the views of most of the people in this area, maybe those who have contacted you by email are just more vocal.

  41. Patricia Hood
    December 13, 2012

    I really feel that God intended marriage to be between a Man and a Woman, therefore NO Church should marry them. What I do not understand is Why anyone living in a Gay relationship would want the church’s blessing whilst it is contrary to God’s law? If they already have a civil partnership they are already legally married.
    It is more difficult for people who are Christian and Gay, but they have to deal with that with their own consciences.

    1. Helen
      December 15, 2012

      I wonder if you’re the Pat Hood I know.

      I think you’re seeking to deny people what they may believe is right based on what you believe is wrong. And that’s what I see the argument essentially boiling down to – a denial of rights to some people based upon what others believe. It’s fundamentally a position of arrogance and privilege.

      An individual’s beliefs may underpin their morals, but your position seems to be “I believe this, therefore YOU should not do that”. No-one is forcing you to be married to someone of the same sex. No-one is even forcing you (or your church) to officiate or witness such a marriage. So your rights are not being impinged – but you seem to wish to restrict the rights of others, based purely on your beliefs. Others may (and do) read the Bible and come to different conclusions. Should they not be free to follow their religious convictions and do what is right before their God?

      For trans people, the change in the law is not so much about recognising new relationships, but rather allowing existing relationships to continue uninterrupted. I don’t know of any other group in society which is routinely faced with a demand from the government to have their marriage annulled if they want to exercise a particular right.

  42. Helen Thorndyke
    December 13, 2012

    I am a constituent of Wokingham. I firmly believe that same sex marriages be allowed. It is not an issue that anyone I know is affected by, but I do not believe a group of Politicians should have any say on whether it is appropriate for two people in love to get married, irrespective of their gender. In a society that has fortunately moved on and left so many prejudices behind, we need to make the law move on too. I ask you to vote in favour.

  43. Maggie
    December 13, 2012

    I am a constituent and I strongly feel that gay people should not be denied the blessing of marriage if that is what they feel is right for them and what they choose to do. Everyone should have the same rights and opportunities, regardless of race, age, religion or sexual orientation.

    Please vote in favour of gay marriage.

  44. hatties
    December 13, 2012

    I fully support equal marriage, and I hope your vote supports the couples in this town that want to be married.

  45. Mrs T
    December 13, 2012

    I live in Wokingham. I don’t believe the law needs to change.

  46. Kirsty
    December 13, 2012

    Hello John

    I’m really please you are consulting with your constitioncy, which I belong to. I would wish you to vote in favour of equal marriage. Two people who love each other should be allowed to marry.

    Many thanks

  47. Katie James
    December 13, 2012

    I am a Wokingham Town resident and I agree with equal rights for all. This include equal rights for the LGT community. Vote in favour of Gay Marriage.

  48. Clare Dando
    December 13, 2012

    I am a constituent and strongly in favour of gay marriage – why wouldn’t I be? There is absolutely not one single logical argument against gay marriage in this day and age. All consenting adults should have equal rights to confirm their love to each other, and for that commitment to be recognised in the eyes of the law.

    An anti-gay marriage stance would be based on nothing but prejudice and out-dated concepts of what marriage is about.

    I urge you to do the right thing.

  49. Maria
    December 13, 2012

    I am a constituent. I can’t believe in this day and age we are even having this discussion. Of course gay couples should have the same rights to marry as straight couples. Also, although I have to question why anybody would want to be married by such an out of touch institution as the Church of England anyway, would it really be acceptable for it to be banned from marrying couples from other ‘minority’ sections of society?

    Incidentally, I wonder if the reason you seem to have received so many emails from people against the proposed changes but very few for, is because the majority of people would only bother to write to their MP about a proposed legislation change they were against.

  50. Alex
    December 14, 2012

    I am a constituent and feel that gay marriage should have equal rights in relation to ‘straight’ marriages? If two people regardless of race/gender/sexuality want to get married, who are we as individuals and collective individuals to enforce our personal beliefs on others in regard to this subject?! To quote a poster I saw in New York last year: “If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get gay married”. Simple.

  51. Big John
    December 14, 2012

    I live in Wokingham, I am a single straight male.

    The right thing to do, is vote for the changes.

    If you think there is an even split, between for and against, you should abstain.

    I still can’t understand why this issue has anything to do with the govenment.

  52. Jonny Cunningham
    December 14, 2012

    I am a constituent in Wokingham and I do think that same sex marriage should become legal, and, to myself, it is almost mere somantics in relation to changing the wording.

    I am currently studying to become a local preacher in the Methodist church, and I am gay myself. I do understand the theological reasons for some to think that marriage is only between a man and a woman, however, I do not beleieve that to be the case. Same sex couples should be able to have the right to marry within a church, if that church so chooses to perform such ceremonies.

    For a secular decision, of course the law should allow for same sex marriage. The secular point of view is purely somantic, a changing in the phrase ‘civil partnered’ to ‘married’. The main reason for marriage being for heterosexual couples only does come from a back dated Christian heritage.

    Also, there is a devestating consequence for some couples as a result of the married/civil partnered difference. If a man and woman marry and one of the partners undergoes gender reassignment, in order for the state to acknowledge their new sex the couple must have a divorce and then have a civil partnership. If anything, the law does need to change for these circumstances, even if marriage does not become permitted for same sex couples.

    1. Joanna
      December 15, 2012

      Jonny thank you for these comments – people who are trans are often forgotten in this argument (even thought that’s one of the main reasons for it being called equal marriage not gay marriage!), and as yet not one person has come up with an alternative for a married couple where one person has changed gender.

      1. TheSDs
        December 16, 2012

        Joanna, you are forgetting that the ‘Equal Marriage’ statement was also designed to cover Lesbians and Bisexual people too, who wouldn’t use the word ‘Gay’ to describe themselves either. I understand the term ‘Gay Marriage’ is sadly what is being commonly used by the popular press at the moment, with a view to incite a response…..I guess it makes more interesting reading….

        The other point in this is that Transpeople and Lesbians are barely mentioned in any religeous text that I have seen.

  53. Mr Kieren Berry
    December 15, 2012

    I urgen you not to vote against it.

    Where the is no vision, the people perish. – proverbs 29:18

    Just over 2000 years ago my Lord Jesus Christ was questioned by the Pharisees. They all wanted him dead. Christ was questioned over marriage and divorce. To explain this I must refer you to a quote from the bible and Moses’ words in genesis, the first book in the bible. ‘Have you not read that he who made them at the beginning made them man and women, and said, for this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife.’ – Mathew 19:4,5; genesis 2:24.

    We can see from this then that the nature of marriage is man and women, and that the confirmation of marriage is a union between one man and one women. Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. Marriage an therefor family therefor preceded all other human instituions like governments, courts, services, military’s etc. This to us must be a simple teaching then that the fundamentals of society like buildings need strong foundations. It is dangerous to tamper with foundations and especially to tamper with foundations that have for centuries held up the large societal structures in order. In our broken country it would be an act of barbaric criminal activity to undermine an institution which not only proved its self by the test of time but also is the direct mandate of god.

    So With this fundamental institution in place, the biggest bolt that’s holds society in place understood and crystal clear then why is the Conservative Party now ‘changing’. The party that appealed to me because it was the party that favoured authority and tradition whilst conservation of the status quo. No one can distinguish between what to conserve and what not to conserve but marriage Is a tradition that not only provides authority on the family but also upholds the status quo by encouraging strong cohesive communities.

    Man and women were created who were to have children and raise them. The mother would install values of compassion, empathy and love whilst the father rational thought, strength, ideolgies and determination. They both become one flesh. This shows gods intended mix and there is no room for extra ingredients. (I have left out anti gay relationship statements-ed)
    It is cowardice and traitorous of the Conservation party to allow something that is already enshrined in statue law as civil partnerships. The only call for equality here is the branding of marriage. The acceptance of differences does not challenge equality when it is just branding.

    Allowing Sam sex marriage will de value real marriages, it jeopardises free speech and freedom of religion as those that preach against same sex marriages are prosecuted over and over again. It would result in the then legalisation of gay parents adopting and conceiving children in immoral ways such as IVF and surrogates AND marriage is not a belief that evoles. Marriage has always been known.

    A small introduction to the defence of marriage on moral and principle grounds….

    1. Hannah
      January 9, 2013

      I cannot believe that you actually wrote ‘Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve’ in amongst your biblical quotes. It looked like you were making an intelligent case until then.

      I could say a lot but I’ll hold back except to respond to the last section:

      “Allowing Sam sex marriage will de value real marriages, it jeopardises free speech and freedom of religion as those that preach against same sex marriages are prosecuted over and over again. It would result in the then legalisation of gay parents adopting and conceiving children in immoral ways such as IVF and surrogates AND marriage is not a belief that evoles. Marriage has always been known.”

      I think Sam might object to you saying his or her marriage would devalue real marriages…

      You are so wrong on all counts here. ‘Real’ marriages, as you term them, between a man and a woman can still end in divorce or be hugely destructive in other ways – does that not devalue the institution? If two people love each other and form a lifelong partnership they are not devaluing anything.

      It is hugely hypocritcal to say same sex marriage would jeopardise free speech – it liberates free speech and religion as well as free will.

      Finally, I would be very careful where you say that IVF and surrogacy are immoral. There are many couples who cannot have a family in any other way – aside from perhaps adoption.

      I wonder if it would please you – and God – if the world were full of many unhappy people because they have not been allowed to be with those that they love or have children to love? It’s very sad to think you would seek to destroy love in such a way.

      Are you married? If you were, I think you would know that marriage does in fact evolve over and over again throughout the years.

  54. Anthony
    December 16, 2012

    I’m a constituent. I’m for it. Can’t think why any right thinking person wouldn’t be.

  55. Steve Scarrott
    December 16, 2012

    I ask you to support equal marriage for all citizens. I am a constituent

  56. David South
    December 17, 2012

    As Bible believing Christians my wife and I sincerely believe that as God has established marriage to be the union of one man with one woman as a basis for the family and the best model for having and bringing up our children, it is not for any of us to modify, change or extend this in any way.
    As a nation and as individuals we do well to consider His rules as being best for everyone and He has promised that he will bless our obedience but He will judge our disobedience. This is a fact and is not intended as a threat.
    One may dismiss God and His way but that does not change the fact that He is the Eternal Creator and the One to whom we must all answer one day. ‘Righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people’. Our nation is in deep trouble on so many fronts – may we each seriously consider if we are reaping the reward for our rejection of God and His ways in seeking to change our laws in this way. Only a heartfelt repentance and return to the Lord will bring His gracious blessing to us in a personal and national experience.
    We therefore ask you to stand against this and share these thoughts with your fellow MP’s, The Prime Minister and the Cabinet and members of The House of Lords.

    1. Fiona O
      January 28, 2013

      If this is the basis for marriage should those who wish to get married but do not wish to have children be denied the right?
      Is there any reason a marriage with two people of the same gender cannot be the basis for a stable family and bring up children? We have three well rounded and well brought up children that fair much better than some of those who are brought up in hetersexual relationships.
      The bible also taught us to take an eye for an eye and to stone adulterous women but do we still adhere to these words or do we evolve as a society

  57. Andy
    December 18, 2012

    Hi John. I am a constituent from Lower Earley.

    I think you should support gay marriage.

  58. Ben Hepworth
    December 27, 2012

    Dear John

    I would urge to vote in favour of this change.

    I am a Quaker and since 2009 we as a religious organisation have recognised same sex couples in the same way as heterosexual couples and would like to perform marriages for same sex couples.

    We don’t believe that other religious organisation should perform marriages, same sex or any other, against their religious belief but we equally believe that we too should be allowed to do as our religious belief tells us to do.

    Similarly civil marriages should not be governed by religious views and I entirely agree with the government in opening up civil marriages to same sex couples.

  59. vince llewelyn
    December 28, 2012

    In 2009 the number of civil marriages was double that of all religious marriages. The total numers of civil marriages was 155,950. The number of CofE marriages was 56,236 and the number of Roman Catholic marriages stood at a measly 8,426, the remaining marriages were at other religious instituions

    I find it outrageous that the religious organisations, particulary the Catholic church, is imposing their view of marriage on the rest of us when the number of people wishing to do religious marriages is falling dramatically each year. We are not all religious and most of us have rejected religious marriages.

    How dare religious organisations tell the government what do to with civil marriages when civil marriages far outweighs the public choice of marriage.

  60. Nicolas Doye
    December 31, 2012

    I am a constituent living in Lower Earley.

    Gay couples have the legal protection they need through CPs. Indeed CPs themselves have only been around for a few years themselves, so it seems something of a rush to redefine the word marriage to include gay couples.

    The Archbishop Cranmer blog (written by Adrian Hilton – Conservative, Church of England) already discussed some nine months ago the legal problems HM Government will face when having to define consummation for non-heterosexual couples. Similarly, The Telegraph has written on how adultery will be defined in such cases.

    Other people more clever than I have also pointed out that the government should not be in the business of redefining words: “you can’t have gay marriage any more than you can have a four sided triangle”.

    Gay rights groups have fought long and hard against vile, abusive and violent behaviour from intolerant people. This is surely to be applauded. However, while “equality” sounds like an admirable aim, it has started to run roughshod across the very fabric of society and against the religious beliefs of a large number of people (Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, many Protestant denominations (who have no “bishop” to speak for them collectively), many (but not all) C.of.E., Orthodox Jews and pretty much all Muslims are against).

    It may seem like a nice thing to do, give this gift of marriage to the gay community, but we know that thanks to the ECHR, any “lock” or “guarantee” the government gives, can and will be overturned. (Recent rulings show that “equality” beats Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights).

    You can also guarantee that Stonewall will contest this. They won’t choose Finsbury Park Mosque; they will pick on their favourite bogey-man, the Catholic Church. Perhaps one in this constituency. They will win.

    Thus this “nice gift” will result in unwilling religious organisations losing their ability to conduct weddings. Just as equality legislation closed the religious-run adoption agencies and forced B+B owners to close.

    It will not just be “those evil old churches” who will lose out. What if a florist, photographer or confectioner refuse to offer services to gay “weddings”? It’ll be court and then close down for these traditional small businesses. This is what “equality” does for you. The equality tail wags the common-sense (and dare I say, conservative) dog.

  61. alan jutson
    January 1, 2013


    Yes I am a constituant, and no I do not agree with gay “marriage”.

    Civil partnerships certainly, no problem, and in law those Civil partnerships should hold the same tax and legal status as does marriage, so that they are not at any disadvantage financially or legally.

    Marriage is for a man and a woman, and has been for a thousand years.
    Good enough then, good enough now.

    1. Will
      March 28, 2014

      Slavery was good enough then, too. Are you suggesting that we should remain frozen in the Dark Ages?

  62. Jenny G
    January 26, 2013

    Please vote for common sense and let people marry if they so wish. Who made gender so important? We live in a civilised country that prides itself on democracy. Let’s live and let live, Mr Redwood.

    1. Jenny G
      January 26, 2013

      p.s. I am from Winnersh

  63. Eleanor T
    January 27, 2013

    It is very simple, everyone should be able to marry who they want, regardless of their sexuality. I am very angry that you would even consider voting against it.
    A Wokingham constituent.

  64. Fiona O
    January 28, 2013

    Please vote yes for gay marriage. I am a local constiuent currently in a civil parternership but would much rather say I am married and be equal. A wife sounds very different to a partner and our love is no less equal to any other commited couple.
    Please bear in mind when counting your No and Yes requests from constituents that many repressed minorotites would not have the equal rights they do today if all we did when considering their plight was listen to the majority.

  65. Kerry Goodrich
    January 29, 2013

    I am a constituent. I would like you to vote in favour of equal marriage.

  66. Alice Driver
    January 29, 2013

    I am a constituant. Thanks for conducting this consultation.

    I am very much in favour of equal marriage. I don’t think there should be any distinction in law between between people on the grounds of sexuality, and that includes the right to marry.

    I’ve heard arguments that this change would ‘devalue’ heterosexual marriage – I believe quite the opposite. Marriage is a valuable, stabalising institution. Society can only benefit from its expansion to include LGBT people.

  67. Jennifer Mills
    January 29, 2013

    I live in the periphery of, and attended school within your constituency, and I firmly believe you should be voting in favour of marriage reform.
    The monopoly that the church and canon law have over the marriage system is outdated and perfunctory. Whilst I respect the wishes of heterosexual people of faith to get married in the manner they desire, it is an undeniable fact that LGBT+ people of faith exist, and all LGBT+ should have exactly the same rights, both within the church and outside it. There is no reason that allowing ALL people to express their love and commitment in the same manner would de-value the institution of marriage. Instead, I wholeheartedly believe it would strengthen it, and the society in which we live.
    I hope that you stand up for equality, and openly voice that we will not stand for discrimination.

  68. Karen Mather
    January 29, 2013

    My partner and I are constituents living in Lower Earley and in addition to my e-mail I wish to also say here please support this bill and vote in favour.

  69. anonomus
    February 2, 2013

    hi we were just wondering what your view n the matter John????

  70. matt dixey
    February 2, 2013

    I’m a constituent living in Earley. I do not agree with the proposal to redefine marriage. 1 Man, 1 woman – always has been, always should be

  71. Julia Wellings
    February 4, 2013

    I am writing to ask you to vote on Tuesday 5th February AGAINST the redefining of marriage at the 2nd Reading in the House of Commons. If you feel you cannot do that please ABSTAIN.

    There is no need for this change, in view of the legal rights same sex couples already have.

    There is no mandate for this change as it was in no manifesto at the last election. Three days before the 2010 election David Cameron stated in a TV interview he had no plans to introduce same-sex marriage. I find that very telling.

    The Government is ignoring the impact this will have on the livelihood of those who believe in traditional marriage. (The European Court recently said it was all right to sack a Christian registrar who didn’t agree with civil partnerships.) All teachers are required to teach about marriage – but this will not be traditional marriage any longer, rather a redefined and offensive view of marriage; disciplinary measures are bound to follow. According to the front page of the Telegraph on 25th Jan, this has finally been admitted from within the D of E.

    The proposals totally ignore the needs of children, which was a major factor in causing over half a million to protest recently in Paris at similar proposals put forward by Francois Hollande’s government.

    There is no popular support for this Bill. Why has the huge petition presented at Downing Street of over half a million signatures been ignored? And why has the Government’s sham consultation (with all its pitfalls) been paraded instead as support?

    Yours sincerely

    Julia Wellings

  72. R W
    February 4, 2013

    I do not agree with this proposal and confirm that I will not be voting Tory at the next national election.

  73. Elaine Edmondson
    February 4, 2013

    I’m not gay, but I fail to see in 2013 how it can even be up for discussion on whether there should be equality here.

    Please vote for the bill. This is the only thing I can think of that will totally colour my voting decision for the future, and I know it’s not just me feeling that way.

    The only reason I can see for anyone being against the bill, is because they feel they as heterosexuals should have more rights, and that tells me that we’re getting nowhere fast in the fight for equal rights for all.

    I’m wondering why you plan to vote with the majority though…it makes me feel that your main interest in keeping a seat and votes, rather than standing up for what you believe, and it does concern me that you’ve still not stated your position (which again I feel is to avoid losing votes).

  74. John Aspden
    February 5, 2013

    I am a Wokingham district constituent and ask you at this ‘eleventh hour’ to support the changes and vote for Equal Marriage.

    The faiths have no ownership of marriage, they profess to believe in the love of God yet rarely show this love in return to those not in their idea of the ‘mainstream’.

    I agree with previous posters that this is not about numbers, morals, religion or politics but about justice and equality.

    Please show us leadership – be courageous, be authentic and DARE GREATLY !

  75. richard
    February 5, 2013

    As emailed to you previously I urge you to vote against Gay Marriage.

  76. Fran Hudson
    May 20, 2013

    I am in favour of equal rights. Please vote in favour of equal rights for marriage for same sex couples.

    Why are we discriminating in this day and age? I do not understand it.

  77. Fran Hudson
    May 20, 2013

    I am a Wokingam Resident.

    I am in favour of equal rights. Please vote in favour of equal rights for marriage for same sex couples.

    Why are we discriminating in this day and age? I do not understand it.

  78. Denise Ware
    May 20, 2013

    We allow heterosexual couples to marry in church despite the fact they may not have ever been in one. Gay couple frequently have longer relationships than heterosexuals. We live in the year 2013 we have to move with the times. You can’t discriminate against these people. I’m sure in the past gay people were forced into hiding their true sexuality, now at least afford them the respect the deserve to be brave enough to conduct their relationships openly. Love is a wonderful thing and some people just cannot form a heterosexual partnership because they just do not have within them to be like that.

    Change the rules, les be a progressive and modern society and welcome a change for,the best.

  79. Kirstie MacGregor
    May 20, 2013

    I am a Wokingham resident. I fully support any persons wish to marry, regardless of their sexuality. I hope that my opinion will be taken into account when then next vote comes in, and you will vote according to all opinions.

  80. Maxine
    May 20, 2013

    I support this bill and request you vote FOR this proposal. I do not see why you would not, it is 2013 now, times have changed greatly why can the law not support this? Religion can, the people can, I vote that you listen to these people and vote FOR.

  81. Alix
    May 20, 2013

    Please vote FOR equal rights. I don’t know why you wouldn’t! I am a wokingham resident.

  82. Bethany
    May 20, 2013

    Marriage is between a man and a woman. It always has been. Gay couples can have civil partnership, which should hold the same legal rights as marriage.

    1- If ‘marriage’ is defined as between any two people regardless of gender, inevitably sooner or later there will be issues for the church. Some homosexual couple somewhere will decide they want to get married in a pretty church and bring up a whole host of legal issues when the church refuses to condone something which goes against their beliefs and teachings. This will result in either churches no longer being able to be licensed as wedding venues, or them surrendering them to avoid being forced to carry out gay marriages, depriving members of the church of being able to get married in their place of worship. This will then filter onto mosques, synagogues, temples and anywhere else that believes only in heteosexual marriage.

    2- There is no call from the gay community for them to be able to marry. Ensuring civil partnerships carry equal legal rights as marriage would be more appropriate.

    3- What about all those people who are already married. To redefine marriage will impact the status of their marriage. Changing the definition of commitments people have already made is completely ridiculous and wouldn’t be allowed in any business contract- why should it be allowed to impact people’s personal lives??

    I can confirm I have been a Wokingham resident for 20 years.

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