Owen Paterson to defy Cameron on gay marriage vote

Environment Minister and North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson today pledged to continue his opposition against plans to legalise same-sex marriage.

Owen Paterson

David Cameron says the Bill, introduced again today to the Commons for its third reading, would help build a stronger and fairer society. It also has the backing of Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Labour Leader Ed Miliband.

But there is opposition from some Conservative activists and MPs.

Mr Paterson is defying ministerial convention by opposing the Bill. He is set to vote for a series of amendments that would permit teachers, faith schools and registrars to opt out of marrying gay men and lesbians.

He said today: “I voted against it at the second reading and I will vote against it at the third reading.

“It’s simple – marriage should be between a man and a woman.”

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Comments for: "Owen Paterson to defy Cameron on gay marriage vote"


nice to see a man putting his right wing catholic beleifs first and his constituents second


Indeed Tom - though I'm a little confused by some of the wording in the article - I wasn't aware that teachers or faith schools were likely to be participating in the ceremonies!

On the schools point though, it is the responsibility of schools to teach children about the truth of our world, not to shove judgemental religious beliefs down the throats of impressionable children - they should be given the facts, devoid of additional non-proven supernatural surmisings, and allowed to make up their own minds.

I heard a Christian on a TV programme a few weeks ago objecting to this because they believed that marriage is a 'sacrament' and somehow 'sanctified'. Of course it's their right to believe that, but if that is really the objection, why are they not objecting to marriages such as my own - a heterosexual marriage to my wife, but in a registry office?

Of course, we could have opted for a church wedding, with all the photo opportunities etc., and we could have said all the 'god words' - even though we don't believe in it at all - but that in my view would have been hypocrisy.

Suely the only objection that Mr Patterson can have is that the legalisation of gay marriage prevents him from imposing his religious views on others? However sincerely-held those views are, there's no excuse for such an imposition - the converse doesn't apply after all.

Ken Adams

 However sincerely-held those views are, there's no excuse for such an imposition - the converse doesn't apply after all.

Are you sure of that Peter it looks to me that by voting to allow  people to to opt out Patterson is voting to ensure that there is no converse imposition. I assume he will also be voting for the amendment allowing heterosexual couples to have civil partnerships as well otherwise the law would only allow this for homosexuals and that cannot be right can it.


But Patterson isn't voting to allow people to opt out is he? He simply doesn't want to allow same-sex marriage, religious or secular at all.

The provisions to allow churches to opt out, and to exclude the C of E altogether are sufficient to allay any reasonable concerns by those religious folk who wish to believe there is anything wrong with same-sex marriage - and they are entitled to think that if they wish - but the legislation will bring to an end their longstanding imposition of those beliefs on others who may have no belief in their gods at all. There is no 'converse imposition' at play here at all. What, precisely, do you believe will be imposed upon any individual by this bill going through?

I would have no problem with civil partnerships being extended to heterosexual couples as well as allowing marriage for all couples - but let's be honest, the only reason that the issue of civil partnerships was raised at all was in a failed attempt to scupper the same-sex marriage bill.

Ken Adams

Sorry Peter I did not respond to your last paragraph, I do not think it fair to say they only raised the issue of civil partnerships to scupper the bill. I think the Labour party were also concerned about this hence their late amendment setting a timetable for considering civil partnerships allowing for them to vote for the bill, I don’t think they can be accused of just doing it to scupper the bill.

It will be an anomaly when the definition of marriage is changed, as it was introduced just to give homosexuals some equality of rights, the change in the marriage law mirror those rights, so in fact it is not longer needed. I understand that raises other concerns but those could be overcome by continuing to recognise existing civil partnerships but not conducting any more as homosexuals would have the option of marriage.

Is it not part of parliaments duty to hold the government to account by pointing out the holes in its legalisation and forcing change, in my opinion it happens far to little.

Ken Adams

Peter, Paterson might feel that redefining marriage is wrong in my view he has every right to take that position in exactly the same way as you have every right to your views. Now you actually go further and argue that his views are discriminatory and should therefore be banned and everyone should be forced into conformity with your views, is that not equally discriminatory?

Are you not just a guilty as you say Paterson is in wanting to force your views onto everyone else. Oh sure you may like to take the high ground and say: Look at me I am supporting this for the sake of homosexual rights, but you seem not to care that you are removing the religious rights of others and not even achieving equality. Marriage for homosexuals is not going to be equal to marriage for heterosexuals.

You ask just who would be affected, well the very people who Parterson is trying to protect from being forced to teach or act against their religion, teachers, faith schools and registrars as far as I know only the Cof E is exempt from this legalisation that means any other church or organisation could in theory face legal challenges for refusing to marry homosexuals, bad law.

You say this legalisation will bring to an end  longstanding imposition of those beliefs on others who may have no belief in their gods at all, that argument is self defeating isn’t it?


As I understand the position this is a government bill. Mr Paterson is a government and cabinet minister. Is he going to resign?

Port Hill Boy

He wants to cull badgers and kill bees.

Yet wants to continue as a dinosaur.

The man is an embarassment to Shropshire.


Agree wholeheartedly!


Couldn't agree more. Well said.


Yes, my thoughts were somewhat similar.

While I don't have any particular opinion either way on the issue (as I suspect is the case with much of the general public) I do wonder if gay marriage should be quite as high on the agenda given the country's more pressing economic woes.

Nevertheless, Paterson seems to be adopting a position here which probably hasn't been taken with any sort of consultation with his constituents.

Still, as we're seeing quite a lot recently - since when did the views of the ordinary public count with politicans?

David Brown

Owen "I'm not at all jockeying for position for when Cameron goes" Paterson.


Well done Owen Paterson for saying it as it is and not umming and arring around the subject. “It’s simple – marriage should be between a man and a woman.” I concur.

jesus h corbet

In your opinion.


Why should it? Love is love. The world has enough hate a decontamination in it without adding same sex marriages too it. If they love each other enough to want too offer what is still seen as the ultimate commitment to one another no one should stand in the way!

Shrewsbury Mum

It looks like Owen Paterson is really going for it in his attempts to be Shropshire's most embarrassing MP. I thought Daniel Kawczynski had it in the bag, but maybe not...


Cameron is on a looser and is chasing this bill as the only chance he has to create his "Legacy". It is fundamentally against conservative and christian policy. Church marriage is not a social issue it's a religious right, civil marriage is an alternative for secular heterosexual couples. I have no objection to people of the same sex getting to-gether, the world is not perfect but I ask myself if I was on the other side would I prefer the advantages of a civil partnership rather than not and would I be treating the desire to "marry" a same sex partner as a social bauble, after all it's not in accordance with the Christian ethic.


There's no suggestion in the proposed legislation that churches of any sort will be obliged to marry same-sex couples. Indeed, the Church of England would ramin prohibited from doing so.

You state 'civil marriage is an alternative for heterosexual couples' and you're right - my wife and I were married in a civil ceremony, as neither of us believe in the supernatural, but civil marriage isn't currently an alternative for same-sex couples - the current law prevents that, and that's one of the things the proposed legislation seeks to address.

Ken Adams

Peter you keep repeating this mantra but you have nothing to back it up, in fact the opposite has much more credence.

There have been several cases where people who hold strong Christian beliefs have been taken to court in test cases to test the rights of homosexuals against the rights of religious beliefs in all cases religions have lost out to secularism.

The only church that will be immune is the Church of England and that only because of constitutional matters. So please stop pretending that this change in the marriage law will affect no one other than a few homosexuals who have been deprived of the rights to marry.

Swivel Eyed Loon

Yet again Mr Paterson shows his mettle when faced with the sinister forces of reason and progress! He knows that the right way to represent people is not to listen to their interests and opinions, but instead to ignore all that and follow a completely out of date agenda based on a dwindling minority religion and oppression dressed up as morality, with a healthy dash of self interest and cronyism thrown in of course. I hope he soon gets the recognition he deserves in the form of a case to himself in the dinosaur section of the new museum in Shrewsbury.


Paterson - the 18th century nasty party dinosaur.

Try our beta site!

We’re getting ready to launch our brand new website for shropshirestar.com and we’d like to give you a sneak preview.

We’re still applying the finishing touches, so please bear with us if something’s not quite right.

We'd love to hear your thoughts, good or bad, via the simple feedback button that you'll see to the right side of every page.

Try the beta