YOUR MP WRITES: David Davies, MP for Monmouth
THE gay marriage bill divided the Conservative Party almost down the middle in the vote on Tuesday, and I was one of those who voted against David Cameron.
I am not in any way against equal rights, I don’t believe in discrimination, but while we heard a lot about gay rights we didn’t hear much about the rights of parents and churchgoers.
In my view churches should have the right to practise their faith as they see fit.
Yet there are many people who want to force churches to hold gay weddings against their will.
It is inevitable that someone will try to do this using the European Court of Human Rights.
For all the talk of safeguards the government can have no influence over rulings from the court in Strasbourg.
An important question for me was this: If the European Court decides that churches SHOULD be forced to conduct gay wedding ceremonies would the government be prepared to defy the ruling?
I put this point directly to the minister in the debate and she was not able to give the assurances I wanted.
The second point is the rights of parents.
The law will now mean changes to the way that sex education is taught in schools.
What will those changes be?
I have no idea and neither does the government to judge from the answer to one of the questions I tabled on the issue.
As a parent of young children myself I believe I have rights and one of them is to have some say over how my children are taught.
That right is eroded by this bill.
I strongly believe that we should all respect the rights of gays, and oppose discrimination, but it would be nice to see some of the more militant gay rights groups showing a similar understanding of rights of parents and church groups.
Prior to all of this being announced not one person had ever contacted me to ask for a gay marriage bill, everyone seemed to think that civil partnerships were fine.
We have created a division where none existed.
I have only spoken to David Cameron on a few occasions but if I see him again before the election I will encourage him now to concentrate on implementing more of the issues which were actually in the Conservative manifesto, such as a married couple’s tax allowance