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Brighton councillor claims to be accountable to God above Greens
A Green councillor has spoken of the “battle” with her conscience after voting against supporting same-sex marriage.
Every elected member on Brighton and Hove City Council except Christina Summers voted to lobby the Government to lift the ban on same-sex marriage taking place through a civil ceremony.
This was despite the Greens being the first mainstream party to advocate such marriages. Senior party members have said it was too early to say if any action would be taken against her.
But Coun Summers, a devout Christian, who represents Hollingdean and Stanmer ward, said she felt it was a decision she had to take.
Coun Summers told The Argus: “It certainly was a conscious decision, it certainly was not made off the cuff.
“I could have abstained but I needed to qualify that I could not.
“The problem here is the understanding of equality.
“I do not agree that disagreeing with same-sex marriage is disagreeing with equality at all.
“I feel that marriage is about a relationship between a man and a woman together in a relationship and about procreation and family.”
The issue was raised in a notice of motion from Labour councillor Warren Morgan at a full council meeting.
Green councillors do not have a whip and, on matters of conscience, councillors, are permitted to vote freely.
However, some party members have said they could look to expel Coun Summers.
Coun Summers said: “I’m accountable to God above any political party. Obviously whatever the cost, if there is a cost, then so be it.
“Every political party is a compromise and this was just too serious to me that I had to be true to myself.”
Deputy council leader Phelim MacCafferty, the party spokesman on LGBT issues, said: “Councillor Summers has a long standing position of conscience about religious marriage based on her faith.
“Greens believe she is entitled to hold her view but this does not reflect the position, spirit and track record of the Green Party in extending human and civil rights for all social groups irrespective of sexual orientation or on other grounds.
“Green councillors will be meeting to discuss this issue soon.”