DIFFERING views on the gay marriage debate have been revealled among Bedfordshire dignatories this week.
Last week the Times & Citizen reported on student Will Timmins, who uncovered the history of the Conservative Party’s attitude to homosexuality for new book Tory Pride And Prejudice,
The book, for which Kempston-born Will was the principal researcher,revealled what he described as a ‘dark past’ of prejudice both in the Conservative Party and in society throughout history.
And this week key figures in Bedfordshire society have given their views on the issue.
Alistair Burt, Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire, said: “The book is a really good read and it tackles the issue extremely well showing how far the party has come.
“But it’s not just the party, it’s society and how we think about what is acceptable and what is good and bad.
“I would vote for equal civil marriage.”
But the new Bishop of Bedford the Rt Revd Richard Atkinson claimed that a deviation from the current civil partnerships would add nothing to society.
He said: “I am entirely in favour of equality, which is provided by the civil partnership arrangements and I recognise that there is value and joy to be found in a host of different family arrangements.
He added: “A change in the definition of marriage would add nothing, but removes from view a timelessly ancient way of living which has survived into the modern age and is still the acknowledged ideal for family life and raising children.”
The government’s public consulatation on equal civil marriage ends on June 14 and both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are committed to introducing gay marriage by 2015.
The Conservative line on the issue states: “Marriage should be for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation.
“Society is stronger when people enter into a stable relationship; when they commit to each other; when they make binding vows to love, honour and cherish one another. That is why we have published proposals to remove the ban on same-sex couples entering into a civil marriage.”