By Gary Smee Thursday 07 February 2013 Updated: 07/02 16:09
A BARRAGE of highly offensive 'homophobic' letters and e-mails have been sent to Evesham's MP Peter Luff after he voted in favour of introducing same-sex marriage in England and Wales.
The Mid-Worcestershire MP was even sent a note saying he should repent for his sins and others used foul language to describe homosexual people.
Mr Luff said he was deeply saddened by some of the abuse directed at him and same-sex couples but also praised the significant number of people who had written to him supporting his views.
Tuesday's (February 5) vote in the Commons saw 400 MPs vote in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill while 175 were against - a majority of 225.
Pershore MP Harriett Baldwin was one of 35 Conservatives who did not cast a vote.
Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Milliband all also voted in favour of the proposed legislation, which is expected to face more opposition when it goes before the House of Lords in the coming weeks.
"It is true that I have received a number of highly unpleasant, homophobic letters containing views I believe are abhorrent but I recognise the deep seated and legitimate reservations of many others expressed in their thoughtful letters and e-mails in recent weeks," Mr Luff said.
"However a majority of British people, especially younger people, support the change. I have also received a significant number of moving e-mails from those who welcome the end of this particular inequality and their ability to gain full public recognition of their love and commitment.
"What saddened me was the lack of love and charity from some people towards their fellow human beings - people who believed themselves to be Christian."
About 130 Conservative MPs rebelled against the Prime Minister and voted against the proposals including neighbouring Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier.
Redditch MP Karen Lumley also refused to back the proposals while Robin Walker (Worcester) and Sajid Javid (Bromsgrove) backed the bill.
Mr Luff said it was not an easy decision to come to because he genuinely respected the feelings of many older constituents.
"I have, however, concluded that the right thing to do is to celebrate loving commitment between adults, and that makes a vote for the principle of the bill the only course of action I can take," he added.
"I recognise the specific concerns that churches and teachers who strongly oppose this change may feel inadequately protected, but I have received strong reassurances from the minister responsible on these issues.
"I am confident that full protection will be possible within the legislation."
What are your thoughts on the same-sex marriage bill? E-mail the Observer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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