Four out of six Gloucestershire MPs back gay marriage
FOUR of Gloucestershire's six MPs say they will support gay marriage.
A controversial bill is being prepared by the Government which would afford same sex couples equal marriage rights.
The coalition's plans to legalise gay marriage have divided the county's MPs.
Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson and Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown are both likely to vote against.
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Mr Robertson said: "People are wondering why we are spending time on this which virtually no one is calling for.
"I don't think it should be a priority."
But Gloucester MP Richard Graham, Stroud MP Neil Carmichael, Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood and Forest of Dean MP Mark Harper are all likely to say yes to the law change.
Mr Graham has led the way in supporting gay marriage by writing to all his constituents who have asked for his views on the issue.
He said: "The proposals for same sex marriage have not been easy for me. Whether as a Christian, an individual, an MP, or your representative, I've had to ask myself many questions.
"I know people in loving relationships who are of the same sex. They think of themselves as a partnership, a marriage, as much as Anthea, my wife, and I do.
"If the bill can allow anyone to marry, while allowing faith institutions to opt out without fear of discrimination court cases, then I believe concerns raised by constituents can be allayed.
"These proposals make no difference to Anthea and my marriage, nor will they affect our church. So the only reason for me to oppose them would be because I want to deny same sex couples to marry if they wanted to, mostly in registry offices."
Mr Carmichael said: "We have to be modern and up-front about the issue.
"I think we have got to have a tolerant society."
Mr Harper said: "I believe marriage strengthens commitment and helps support society. I want that opportunity to be equally open to same-sex couples as well as opposite-sex couples."