South Devon Tory MPs split over bid to legalise gay marriage
CONSERVATIVE MPs in South Devon were split over plans to legalise gay marriage which exposed deep divisions within David Cameron's party.
Totnes Tory MP Dr Sarah Wollaston joined with Lib Dem for Torbay Adrian Sanders in helping the historic proposals clear their first Commons hurdle by a big margin of 400 votes to 175 — a majority of 225.
But early estimates showed 134 Tories voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill's second reading.
They included Anne Marie Morris for Newton Abbot and Mel Stride for Central Devon.
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The vote followed more than six hours of impassioned debate on the proposed legislation.
Dr Wollaston called for a vote 'for love and equality', and revealed how she received 'hateful' correspondence, some of which suggested treatment for homosexuality.
She told MPs: "I can tell the people who write those things that homosexuality needs no treatment. Our sexuality is fundamental to who we are.
"We will all know people who have been forced to live a lie, bringing immeasurable unhappiness to themselves and those around them. Such marriages were not marriages — they were a sham enforced by society and the state."
She added: "My understanding of marriage as somebody with no faith is no less valid than that of members who speak passionately from their religious perspective.
"I would say that when this measure has passed, as I hope that it does, we will look back in five years' time and wonder what the fuss was about. This measure is long overdue."