UK: Teenage campaigner gathers support for marriage equality on Boxing Day

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A gay teenage marriage equality campaigner collected signatures on Boxing Day, after learning that her local MP was to vote against marriage equality, and found that many of his constituents support equal marriage.

Suzi Paddison, 19, from Spalding Lincolnshire, said she was unhappy to have read that local MP John Hayes, intended to vote against a bill to legalise marriage equality, reported Spalding Today. 

Ms Paddison collected over a hundred signatures from people living in Mr Hayes’ constituency, South Holland and the Deepings, who thought his intentions to vote against equal marriage did not reflect his constituents. She said:

“Considering it was Boxing Day and town was very quiet I am very happy that so many people wanted to show their support.

“I think that if town had been busier I would have been able to get a lot more than I did.

“I wanted to show there are people living in this area who do support gay marriage and give them a chance to let MP John Hayes know.”

Extracts from a letter from Mr Hayes, which inspired Ms Paddison’s campaign, were published in the Lincolnshire Free Press last week.

John Woolard, of Fleet Hargate, wrote to the MP in support of a campaign by the Family Education Trust, which opposes government plans to legalise marriage equality.

In his reply the MP said he believed marriage should only be allowed between one man and one woman, and that a link could be made between the roots of many of Britain’s “social problems” and “a decline in marriages as well as an increase in divorces”.

Ms Paddison, who is in a long-term relationship, but does not want to get married in a church, said: “I don’t understand why churches are so against the legislation plans for gay marriage because they will not be forced to perform them.

“Also I don’t think that any couple, gay or straight, would want to be married in a place that didn’t support it and by a person who didn’t hold truth in the words they say while marrying them.

“I hope John Hayes sees the support and will act as a voice for his constituency and not just project his own views.”

Same-sex couples in England and Wales are set to be allowed to marry, under plans announced by Culture Secretary Maria Miller in the House of Commons in December.

Mrs Miller told the House of Commons that she was putting in place a “quadruple lock” of measures to guarantee religious organisations would not have to marry gay couples against their wishes, including a ban on the Church of England, and Church in Wales performing same-sex weddings.

Speaking in favour of equal marriage, on which he has said he would like Tory MPs to have a free vote, David Cameron said he did not want gay couples to be excluded from a “great institution”.

Yesterday, Conservative MP for Crawley, West Sussex, said he was “no homophobe”, after he encountered criticism to his opposition to marriage equality, and that he was deeply offended at being labelled “anti-gay” by equal marriage campaigners.