Julian Sturdy MP has defended his decision to vote against yesterday’s same sex marriage bill against criticism from YUSU officers.
The Conservative MP for York Outer which includes the University and most areas of student housing, was one of 175 MPs to vote against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. Hugh Bailey MP, who represents York Central voted in favour of the bill.
Prime Minister David Cameron has described it an “an important step forward” that “strengthens society,” although 136 members of his own party opposed the bill.
Sturdy told Nouse: “Over the past few months, I have genuinely and deeply considered the sensitive issue of same sex marriage. Whilst strongly supporting individual freedom and equality, I sadly fear that these proposals could undermine religious freedom.”
He added: “Indeed, given that there existed so little discussion about this matter on the doorstep ahead of the last General Election, I came to the difficult conclusion that I could not support the legislation.”
However senior members of YUSU have criticised his decision. Bob Hughes, acting LGBTQ Officer and YUSU Welfare Officer said, “Although there isn’t YUSU policy on this, I am personally in favour of equal marriage. A couple of members from our LGBTQ network have lobbied him, and I was involved in the equal marriage protest in York organised by various members of the network last year.”
Hughes added: “I am personally disappointed by Julian Sturdy’s decision to vote against equal marriage, and we will be contacting him to ask him why and to encourage healthy discussion on why this is a pressing issue for many LGBTQ people in York and nationally.”
YUSU President Kallum Taylor said: “Whilst YUSU don’t have any policy relating to marriage equality, from a personal perspective, it is disappointing that our MP didn’t support the bill. We’ll be writing to him to ask his reasons, and invite him along to one of our Liberation and Welfare Assemblies to take the debate further.”