Paterson breaks ranks on gay marriage
Owen Paterson has become the first cabinet minister to come out in opposition to gay marriage.
In a letter to a
constituent petitioning him to support the legislation, the Northern Ireland Secretary writes: "Having considered this matter carefully, I am afraid I have come to the decision not to support gay marriage...
"The Prime Minister has made clear that he supports equal civil marriage and the Government is rightly consulting widely on this issue before making any changes to the current position."
He is the first cabinet minister to come out against the principle of the legislation. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has described it as "a distraction", but his comments reflected concerns about the timing, rather than the content, of the bill.
Mr Paterson's constituent, Andrew Smith, told PoliticsHome.
“It is bizarre that a Cabinet Minister can both praise his government's progress on LGBT equality in the same letter that he tells me he won’t support my right to marriage equality. Logic eludes this man.
“He is clearly unsympathetic to the needs that LGBT youth in rural communities have for leaders who stand up for equality. I hope the constituents of North Shropshire prove to him how out of touch he is.”