Sheffield Pride backs progress of gay marriage bill

Adam Hood, head of Sheffield Pride festival

Adam Hood, head of Sheffield Pride festival

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A gay Christian from Sheffield said plans to legalise same-sex marriage were the ‘final step in equality’ for all.

Law graduate Adam Hood, the head of the annual Sheffield Pride festival, welcomed the progress of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill through Parliament.

Sheffield Pride parade up Ecclesall Road to Endcliffe Park

Sheffield Pride parade up Ecclesall Road to Endcliffe Park

The proposals had a third reading in its final stages yesterday and are due to go to the House of Lords today for further debate.

Adam, who lives in Sheffield city centre, said: “Firstly I think civil partnership and marriage are no equal, they are different things for different people, it is like having different drinking fountains for black and white people.

“When the bill is approved I don’t think it will be the day when homophobia ends but it is the final step in equality.

“It is a really good thing.

“It is good to see members of the Conservative party standing up and doing the right thing as well – it’s showing a real cross party unity towards giving people freedom and giving people rights.”

Many gay and lesbian couples in Sheffield would embrace the chance to marry – rather than have a civil partnership – said Adam and the move ‘meant a lot’ to them.

But the 24-year-old also highlighted how the new legislation will still mean he is unable to marry in the church he is a member of, St Thomas’ in Crookes.

The proposals ban in law the Church of England and Church of Wales from offering same-sex marriages.

Adam – who is currently taking a post-graduate course in legal practice with The University of Sheffield – added: “My view is that the Government shouldn’t be legislating on that.

“They should let the religious denominations decide for themselves.

“I want to get married but I won’t be able to in my church where I want to because it’s in front of God.

“What’s worse is that my church doesn’t have the ability to let me.”

The same-sex marriage bill was backed by all Sheffield MPs in its second reading with opposition from some Conservative members.

Various amendments have been made, although one asking to allow heterosexual couples to take up civil partnerships was rejected.

The government wants gay couples to be able to marry in England and Wales as soon as next summer.

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts, who is also gay, said: “I think the bill is a clear demonstration that the law views all relationships as equal and doesn’t discriminate between different people and that’s absolutely right.

“There is a clear will displayed in Parliament with a majority of MPs so I would expect it to become law at the end of this process.”