UKIP candidate says party might consider repeal of same sex marriages; Tory candidate says she “probably wouldn’t” have put it on the statute book in the first place

Ely Election 2015 Logo

Ely Election 2015 Logo - Credit: Archant

A year after same sex marriages became legal in the UK, a question and answer among candidates vying for the SE Cambs Parliamentary seat found UKIP declaring they might consider repealing it.

Candidates standing for the South East Cambridgeshire seat in the forthcoming General Election. Left

Candidates standing for the South East Cambridgeshire seat in the forthcoming General Election. Left: Lucy Frazer (Conservative) Clive Semmens( GreenParty) Huw Jones(Labour) Jonathan Chatfield (Liberal Democrat) Debbie Rennie (UKIP) Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Tory candidate Lucy Frazer also added to the debate by declaring “I wouldn’t probably have put it on the statute books in the first place”.

The question was one of many put by residents of Swaffham Bulbeck to the candidates at the first hustings meeting for the General Election.

A year after Prime Minister Dave Cameron declared people were now equal “whether gay or straight” there was some division among Parliamentary candidates.

Mrs Frazer said: “I believe in equality in all parts of life, equality of opportunity too.”

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But she said a “number of religious organisations was disappointed” by the law and “I wouldn’t have probably put on the statute book in the first place but having introduced it I would not repeal it.”

UKIP candidate Deborah Rennie said she was concerned when the Bill because law; her party “believes in democracy and believes in people having a choice. Our concern is that churches, whilst having a choice to engage with services of this nature if they turned round and said ‘I’m sorry but not here’ they would find themselves subject to court action under the banner of human rights”.

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She was happy for civil partnerships to go ahead “absolutely, no issues with those at all but we have grave concerns about freedoms” which she said if tested in courts could face real problems. “We take great issue with that,” she said.

Pushed whether she personally believed the act should be repealed she admitted her “honest answer is I don’t know. I would not be surprised if UKIP considered it but I want to be honest with you and say I am not entirely sure. It did give us great cause for concern when the act was passed”.

Labour’s Huw Jones said he was “quite content” for it to remain on the statute book and described the 13 years under Labour to 2010 as a period when the Government “did a number of amazing things on equalities”. He said repeal of section 28 which had outlawed discussion of homosexuality in schools had helped to deal with homophobia.

And he said Labour had passed laws against discrimination on race, sexuality, gender or religion “that had made Britain a country more comfortable with itself than it had been at the end of the Thatcher/Major era”.

Lib Dem Jonathan Chatfield said he would not want the law repealed but accepted there was a diversity of opinion “and when you grapple with the bible it is clear about marriage being between a man and a woman”.

But he added: “I’m a liberal democrat, I believe in freedom of choice and freedom for individuals to decide how they wish to lead their lives. I don’t think this issue will come up in the next Parliament.”

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