British MPs Vote In Favor Of Gay Marriage

British MPs Vote In Favor Of Gay MarriageMPs have approved same-sex marriage in England and Wales in a key Commons vote, despite the opposition of almost half the Conservative MPs. The Commons voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, by 400 to 175, a majority of 225, at the end of a full day’s debate on the bill.

‘Equality and justice’

Prime Minister David Cameron has described the move as “an important step forward” that strengthens society. Voting lists show that 136 Conservatives opposed the bill. This figure includes two cabinet ministers – Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and Welsh Secretary David Jones – eight junior ministers, and eight whips. Of the remaining Conservative MPs, 127 were in favour, 35 did not vote, and five registered an abstention by voting both in favour and against.

Junior justice minister Helen Grant said: “As Tories we do differ at times. We have squabbles – we’re like any other family.” But she described the legislation as “a major step forward for equality and justice”.


‘Landmark for equality’

Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said: “I genuinely believe that we will look back on today as a landmark for equality in Britain… Tonight’s vote shows Parliament is very strongly in favour of equal marriage… No matter who you are and who you love, we are all equal. Marriage is about love and commitment, and it should no longer be denied to people just because they are gay.”

MPs were given a free vote on the bill, meaning they were not ordered to vote a particular way by party whips. Their decision to back the bill at second reading signifies that they approve of it in principle. The legislation will now receive more detailed parliamentary scrutiny.

How about you — are you for or against gay marriage? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions regarding this issue!

Source: BBC News

Image: London Evening Standard

Church Of England Rejects Women Bishops

Church Of England Rejects Women BishopsThe general synod of the Church of England has voted narrowly against the appointment of women as bishops. The measure was passed by the synod’s houses of bishops and clergy but was rejected by the House of Laity.

‘Controversy’

Supporters vowed to continue their campaign but it could be five years before a similar vote can be held. Controversy had centred on the provisions for parishes opposed to women bishops to request supervision by a stand-in male bishop. The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Rowan Williams, spoke of his “deep personal sadness” after the vote. Both the archbishop and his successor, the Rt Rev Justin Welby, the current Bishop of Durham, were in favour of a “yes” vote.

Twenty years after the introduction of women priests, the issue has continued to divide traditionalists – among those on the Church’s evangelical and Anglo-Catholic wings – from reformers. Had the motion been backed by the synod, the proposed legislation would have made its way through Parliament before receiving royal assent.


‘Six more yes votes’

It needed two-thirds majorities in each of the synod’s three houses. The votes were 44 for and three against with two abstentions in the House of Bishops, 148 for and 45 against in the House of Clergy, and 132 for and 74 against in the House of Laity. The vote in the House of Laity, at 64%, was just short of the required majority – six more “yes” votes were needed.

The House of laity is the largest element of the General Synod and is made up of lay members of the church elected by its 44 dioceses. The decision came at the end of a day of debate by supporters and opponents – and a 12-year legislative process.

Are you in favor of having women bishops in the Catholic Church? Why or why not?

Source: BBC News

Image: The Telegraph