Simon Hughes MP

The Great Abstainer

Simon Hughes MPThe UK’s only bisexual MP, Simon Hughes, abstained in the third reading of the same-sex marriage bill.

In a long speech in the chamber, he said that his faith convictions tell him marriage is only for “one man and one woman”, and because of his religious beliefs he is troubled at trying to make it otherwise.

At the same time his liberalism could not let him stand in the way of others who feel differently and therefore he would be abstaining on the vote.

Hughes has a long and positive voting record on other LGBT equalities issues, but had clearly struggled with the subject of marriage, proposing earlier this year a separation of civil and religious ceremonies that would probably have required the disestablishment of the Church of England – a goal way beyond the scope of the bill.

It was not his first bold suggestion on an LGBT rights reform. In 1994 when the age of consent for sex between men was lowered from 21 to 18, and equalisation of the age of consent at 16 was narrowly defeated, he tabled an amendment for equalisation at age 17 instead.