At the last general election, he was the only party leader to explicitly rule out marriage equality. Now although he says he supports the legislation, Gordon Brown did not attend tonight’s vote.
22 Labour MPs (listed below) voted against the Marriage (Same-sex couples) Bill and 16 MPs including Gordon Brown did not vote at all. 220 Labour MPs did vote in favour of the bill. Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy like Mr Brown, abstained from the vote.
In 2010, Mr Brown told PinkNews.co.uk that he would not support same-sex marriage, writing in a readers’ question and answer feature: “At the moment there’s a distinction drawn between civil and religious unions, and when civil partnerships were being introduced they took the same form as a civil union which a heterosexual couple would have.
“We later made it illegal to discriminate on partnership status – so it is illegal to treat someone in a civil partnership different to a married person. That makes no practical difference in terms of rights and responsibilities, but does recognise that religious groups have the right to a certain degree of self-organisation on questions that are theologically important to them, including on the question of religiously-sanctioned marriage.
“So the provision of ‘marriage’ as opposed to the provision of same-sex or heterosexual civil unions, is intimately bound up with questions of religious freedom.”
Writing on his website recently, Mr Brown confirmed that he supports the bill: “I understand the strong feelings in the current debate but I take the view that it is now timely to agree to end another source of discrimination by legalising the right to marriage and I will support the legislation in the UK Parliament and when it comes to the Scottish Parliament.”
Mr Brown missed all votes except the Sexual Orientations Regulations on gay issues while Chancellor, including not attending the vote for Civil Partnerships. While Prime Minister, he did against an amendment that would have made it harder for lesbian couples to receive fertility treatment.
He has attended just 14% of votes held since he lost power while remaining the MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.
Mr Brown’s former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Timms, attended the debate but abstained from the vote after arguing against the draft legislation. Former Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward also abstained.
The 22 Labour MPs who voted against the bill included former minister Stephen Pound and current shadow justice minister Robert Flello.
Ed Miliband said: “”This is a proud day and an important step forward in the fight for equality in Britain.
“The overwhelming majority of Labour MPs supported this change to make sure marriage reflects the value we place on long-term, loving relationships whoever you love.
“Equal marriage builds on Labour’s successes in Government which include the repeal of Section 28, equalising the age of consent, the introduction of civil partnerships and changes to the rules governing adoption.”
The Labour MPs who voted against equality were:-
Joe Benton (Bootle), Ronnie Campbell (Blyth Valley), Tom Clarke (Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill), Rosie Cooper (Lancashire West), David Crausby (Bolton North East), Tony Cunningham (Workington), Jim Dobbin (Heywood & Middleton), Brian Donohoe (Ayrshire Central), Robert Flello (Stoke-on-Trent South), Mary Glindon (Tyneside North), Paul Goggins (Wythenshawe & Sale East), Dai Havard (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney), Michael McCann (East Kilbride, Strathaven & Lesmahagow), Jim McGovern (Dundee West), Iain McKenzie (Inverclyde), George Mudie (Leeds East), Paul Murphy (Torfaen), Stephen Pound (Ealing North), Frank Roy (Motherwell & Wishaw), Jim Sheridan (Paisley & Renfrewshire North), Derek Twigg (Halton), Mike Wood (Batley & Spen).
The Labour MPs who abstained were:-
Dame Anne Begg (Aberdeen South), Gordon Brown (Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath), Alex Cunningham (Stockton North), Bill Esterson (Sefton Central), Pat Glass (Durham North West), Roger Godsiff (Birmingham Hall Green), David Heyes (Ashton Under Lyne), Jim Hood (Lanark & Hamilton East), Khalid Mahmood (Birmingham Perry Barr), Michael Meacher (Oldham West & Royton), Ian Mearns (Gateshead), Yasmin Qureshi (Bolton South East), Virendra Sharma (Ealing Southall), Gavin Shuker (Luton South), Stephen Timms (East Ham), Shaun Woodward (St Helens South & Whiston).
The Labour MPs who voted in favour of equality were:-
Diane Abbott (Hackney North & Stoke Newington), Debbie Abrahams (Oldham East & Saddleworth), Bob Ainsworth (Coventry North East), Douglas Alexander (Paisley & Renfrewshire South), Heidi Alexander (Lewisham East), Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green & Bow), Graham Allen (Nottingham North), Dave Anderson (Blaydon), Mr Jon Ashworth (Leicester South), Ian Austin (Dudley North), Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West), Willie Bain (Glasgow North East), Ed Balls (Morley & Outwood), Gordon Banks (Ochil & Perthshire South), Kevin Barron (Rother Valley), Hugh Bayley (York Central), Dame Margaret Beckett (Derby South), Hilary Benn (Leeds Central), Luciana Berger (Liverpool Wavertree), Clive Betts (Sheffield South East), Roberta Blackman-Woods (Durham, City of), Hazel Blears (Salford & Eccles), Tom Blenkinsop (Middlesbrough South & Cleveland East), Paul Blomfield (Sheffield Central), David Blunkett (Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough), Ben Bradshaw (Exeter), Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West), Lyn Brown (West Ham), Nicholas Brown (Newcastle upon Tyne East), Russell Brown (Dumfries & Galloway), Chris Bryant (Rhondda), Karen Buck (Westminster North), Richard Burden (Birmingham Northfield), Andy Burnham (Leigh), Liam Byrne (Birmingham Hodge Hill), Alan Campbell (Tynemouth), Martin Caton (Gower), Sarah Champion (Rotherham), Jenny Chapman (Darlington), Katy Clark (Ayrshire North & Arran), Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley), Vernon Coaker (Gedling), Ann Coffey (Stockport), Michael Connarty (Linlithgow & Falkirk East), Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract & Castleford), Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North), Mary Creagh (Wakefield), Stella Creasy (Walthamstow), Jon Cruddas (Dagenham & Rainham), John Cryer (Leyton & Wanstead), Jim Cunningham (Coventry South), Margaret Curran (Glasgow East), Nic Dakin (Scunthorpe), Simon Danczuk (Rochdale), Alistair Darling (Edinburgh South West), Wayne David (Caerphilly), Ian Davidson (Glasgow South West), Geraint Davies (Swansea West), Gloria De Piero (Ashfield), John Denham (Southampton Itchen), Frank Dobson (Holborn & St Pancras), Thomas Docherty (Dunfermline & Fife West), Frank Doran (Aberdeen North), Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South & Penarth), Jim Dowd (Lewisham West & Penge), Gemma Doyle (Dunbartonshire West), Jack Dromey (Birmingham Erdington), Michael Dugher (Barnsley East), Angela Eagle (Wallasey), Maria Eagle (Garston & Halewood), Clive Efford (Eltham), Julie Elliott (Sunderland Central), Louise Ellman (Liverpool Riverside), Natascha Engel (Derbyshire North East), Chris Evans (Islwyn), Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme), Frank Field (Birkenhead), Jim Fitzpatrick (Poplar & Limehouse), Caroline Flint (Don Valley), Paul Flynn (Newport West), Yvonne Fovargue (Makerfield), Hywel Francis (Aberavon), Mike Gapes (Ilford South), Barry Gardiner (Brent North), Sheila Gilmore (Edinburgh East), Helen Goodman (Bishop Auckland), Tom Greatrex (Rutherglen & Hamilton West), Kate Green (Stretford & Urmston), Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South), Nia Griffith (Llanelli), Andrew Gwynne (Denton & Reddish), Peter Hain (Neath), David Hamilton (Midlothian), Fabian Hamilton (Leeds North East), David Hanson (Delyn), Harriet Harman (Camberwell & Peckham), Tom Harris (Glasgow South), John Healey (Wentworth & Dearne), Mark Hendrick (Preston), Stephen Hepburn (Jarrow), Meg Hillier (Hackney South & Shoreditch), Julie Hilling (Bolton West), Margaret Hodge (Barking), Sharon Hodgson (Washington & Sunderland West), Kate Hoey (Vauxhall), Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North), George Howarth (Knowsley), Tristram Hunt (Stoke-on-Trent Central), Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore), Glenda Jackson (Hampstead & Kilburn), Sian James (Swansea East), Cathy Jamieson (Kilmarnock & Loudoun), Major Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central), Alan Johnson (Hull West & Hessle), Diana Johnson (Hull North), Graham Jones (Hyndburn), Helen Jones (Warrington North), Kevan Jones (Durham North), Susan Elan Jones (Clwyd South), Dame Tessa Jowell (Dulwich & West Norwood), Sir Gerald Kaufman (Manchester Gorton), Barbara Keeley (Worsley & Eccles South), Elizabeth Kendall (Leicester West), Sadiq Khan (Tooting), David Lammy (Tottenham), Ian Lavery (Wansbeck), Mark Lazarowicz (Edinburgh North & Leith), Christopher Leslie (Nottingham East), Ivan Lewis (Bury South), Andy Love (Edmonton), Ian Lucas (Wrexham), Steve McCabe (Birmingham Selly Oak), Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East), Gregg McClymont (Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East), Siobhain McDonagh (Mitcham & Morden), Andy McDonald (Middlesbrough), John McDonnell (Hayes & Harlington), Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton South East), Alison McGovern (Wirral South), Anne McGuire (Stirling), Ann McKechin (Glasgow North), Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North), Fiona Mactaggart (Slough), Shabana Mahmood (Birmingham Ladywood), Seema Malhotra (Feltham & Heston), John Mann (Bassetlaw), Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South), Alan Meale (Mansfield), David Miliband (South Shields), Ed Miliband (Doncaster North), Andrew Miller (Ellesmere Port & Neston), Austin Mitchell (Great Grimsby), Madeleine Moon (Bridgend), Jessica Morden (Newport East), Graeme Morrice (Livingston), Grahame Morris (Easington), Meg Munn (Sheffield Heeley), Jim Murphy (Renfrewshire East), Ian Murray (Edinburgh South), Lisa Nandy (Wigan), Pamela Nash (Airdrie & Shotts), Fiona O’Donnell (East Lothian), Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central), Sandra Osborne (Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock), Albert Owen (Ynys Mon), Teresa Pearce (Erith & Thamesmead), Toby Perkins (Chesterfield), Bridget Phillipson (Houghton & Sunderland South), Lucy Powell (Manchester Central), Nick Raynsford (Greenwich & Woolwich), Jamie Reed (Copeland), Steve Reed (Croydon North), Rachel Reeves (Leeds West), Emma Reynolds (Wolverhampton North East), Jonathan Reynolds (Stalybridge & Hyde), Linda Riordan (Halifax), John Robertson (Glasgow North West), Geoffrey Robinson (Coventry North West), Steve Rotheram (Liverpool Walton), Lindsay Roy (Glenrothes), Chris Ruane (Vale of Clwyd), Joan Ruddock (Lewisham Deptford), Anas Sarwar (Glasgow Central), Andy Sawford (Corby), Alison Seabeck (Plymouth Moor View), Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield), Dennis Skinner (Bolsover), Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith), Andrew Smith (Oxford East), Angela Smith (Penistone & Stocksbridge), Nick Smith (Blaenau Gwent), Owen Smith (Pontypridd), John Spellar (Warley), Jack Straw (Blackburn), Graham Stringer (Blackley & Broughton), Gisela Stuart (Birmingham Edgbaston), Gerry Sutcliffe (Bradford South), Mark Tami (Alyn & Deeside), Gareth Thomas (Harrow West), Emily Thornberry (Islington South & Finsbury), Jon Trickett (Hemsworth), Karl Turner (Hull East), Stephen Twigg (Liverpool West Derby), Chuka Umunna (Streatham), Keith Vaz (Leicester East), Valerie Vaz (Walsall South), Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent North), Tom Watson (West Bromwich East), Dave Watts (St Helens North), Alan Whitehead (Southampton Test), Chris Williamson (Derby North), Phil Wilson (Sedgefield), David Winnick (Walsall North), Rosie Winterton (Doncaster Central), John Woodcock (Barrow & Furness), David Wright (Telford), Iain Wright (Hartlepool).