OPINION is divided among county MPs over plans to legalise gay marriage.
The division was revealed after confirmation that if there were to be a vote on the issue, it would be a free vote. That would allow MPs to act according to their conscience rather than being subject to party whips and vote with the Government.
However, nothing is likely to happen within the next year as a gay marriage bill was not included in the Queen's Speech.
Conservative MP for Tewkesbury Laurence Robertson said he thought the Government had to give a free vote because MPs would vote with their conscience anyway. He said: "People are wondering why we are spending time on this which virtually no one is calling for. I hope we don't waste parliamentary time on it. I don't think it should be a priority."
He added he would be opposing any moves to allow same-sex couples to marry.
Tory MP for Gloucester Richard Graham said: "There is a consultation but this is not in the Queen's Speech so I'm not expecting any draft legislation to come forward in this Parliament." He added: "I encourage all constituents with strong views, whichever way, to contribute to the consultation and copy me on firstname.lastname@example.org."
He said he wouldn't give an opinion based on "hypothetical legislation".
Mark Harper, Tory MP for the Forest of Dean and Constitutional Affairs minister, 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 so I support the consultation which the Government is carrying out."
Chris Marsh, manager of popular gay venue the Westgate Pub in Gloucester, said: "I am really pleased that MPs will be free to vote on this important issue. When it wasn't mentioned in the Queen's Speech I thought it had been ignored but I am glad that it has not."