Conservative MP and former Solicitor General Sir Edward Garnier has told a constituent that couples in civil partnerships should feel free to call their unions marriages but that he does not support a change in the law.
According to a report in Pink News, Constituent Andrew Hawkins-Kennedy had asked the MP, who has represented Harborough in Leicestershire for 20 years, whether he was prepared to support gay marriage, saying he would not vote for him again if he did not.
The MP replied:
“I am afraid that threats of not voting for me or assertions of dishonour because I seem not to share your opinions on same-sex marriage are neither persuasive nor attractive…I just happen to believe that a civil partnership between two people of the same sex, although a perfectly acceptable state of affairs and one which brings with it the public attributes of marriage (taxation, succession to tenancies, inheritance etc) is not a marriage properly so-called because that necessarily involves two people of the opposite sex.”
“This does not mean that I am anti-gay or think you and your partner are lesser (or for that matter, better) people than your neighbours or any other couple or that your public proclamation of love for each other is less sincere than those my wife and I made when we were married…..I celebrate those changes and have no political, social, religious or moral concerns about there being civil partnerships under English law. I am afraid though that I cannot be persuaded that civil partnerships, for all their merits, are marriages but if you think they are don’t worry about me.”