Gordon Birtwistle who said ‘gay marriage is just not on’, hopeful for Lib Dem deputy leadership
A hopeful in the running for Lib Dem deputy leadership Gordon Birtwistle previously expressed his strong opposition to same-sex marriage.
Gordon Birtwistle, the Lib Dem MP for Burnley, promised to not vote for same-sex marriage, and his opposition to the bill was described as “strong”.
Back in December 2012, to the surprise of his Westminster office, Mr Birthwistle said: “I will vote against gay marriage. Civil partnerships are fine. Gay marriage is just not on.”
Mr Birtwistle, living up to his promise, was one of four Lib Dem MPs who voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill when it went to third vote on 21 May 2013.
He joined Sir Alan Beith, John Pugh, and Sarah Teather, who also voted against the bill at its third reading, before being approved and being given Royal Assent by the Queen shortly after.
If selected, he would replace Simon Hughes who has been appointed as the Minister for Justice.
On putting himself forward, the 70-year-old said: “There is a vacancy and I have put my name forward.
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“It’s up to the rest of the MPs to decide who they think is the best candidate.
“A lot depends on who the other candidates are, and whether they attract the support of backbenchers.
“If I win, I win. If I lose, I’ll get over it.”
Mr Hughes was strongly criticised by members of his party in his south London seat of Bermondsey and Old Southwark for abstaining in May’s House of Commons third reading vote of the same-sex marriage act for England and Wales.
Mr Hughes said he thought marriage was “gender complimentary”, and that it should be between straight couples only.
“I believe that marriage is ordained by God. I believe it is traditionally ordained by God as between one man and one woman”, he said.