MP ‘out of touch’ claim in opposing gay marriage

By Ian Dipple Friday 24 May 2013 Updated: 24/05 10:58

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Buy photos » Coun Rebecca Blake, Tracey Baker, Natalie Brookes and Coun Joe Baker were among those to urge Redditch MP Karen Lumley to back the bill to introduce gay marriage. Picture by Marcus Mingins 2113010MMR.

REDDITCH’S MP has been branded out of touch with residents after opposing plans to introduce gay marriage.

Karen Lumley was among the 161 MPs who voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill which was passed through the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Her decision prompted anger from openly gay Labour councillor Joe Baker who said she had put Redditch on the map for all the wrong reasons.

“I feel she has let down not only the gay community but she has let down the people of Redditch by putting the town on the map in a negative way. Her name is on the list of MPs who voted no for everyone to see and it makes Redditch look like a homophobic town and out of touch with the rest of the country,” he said.

Coun Baker, who represents the town on both the borough and county councils, said he had handed in 120 letters of support for the bill signed by residents to Mrs Lumley to try and persuade her to support the bill.

“I knocked about 40 doors and only two people said they did not agree with it. This is an historic moment for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. We now have the same rights as everybody else, even if people don’t want to get married, at least they now have the choice.”

Mrs Lumley said the build up to the vote had been horrendous and she had received unpleasant comments from both sides of the argument. She told the Standard she had considered abstaining but in the end decided the reasons she originally opposed the bill remained.

“It was a conscience decision and my conscience has played very hard on me,” she said.

“This wasn’t an anti-gay vote, but it was something we needed to talk about and bring people with us. The people of Redditch elected me on a manifesto that did not include this and it should have been put in the manifesto for 2015 and then we could of had a proper grown up debate about this and that hasn’t happened.

“We now have gay marriage on the statue book but at what cost, not only to the Conservative Party but to the country because all this has done is divided people.”

The bill will now be debated in the House of Lords and Mrs Lumley has called on her colleagues not to block its passage to becoming law.

“My view remains there are more important issues we should be talking about. It’s time to move on.”

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