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UPDATED: Green councillor expelled for gay marriage vote
A Christian councillor who voted against supporting same-sex marriage is to be expelled from the Green group on Brighton and Hove City Council.
An internal inquiry to look into Christina Summers's decision was set up by the Brighton and Hove Green Party in July.
This afternoon it was announced she will be expelled from the Green group but will remain a party member.
Coun Summers could still serve as a councillor, but only as an independent. It is unclear whether she has decided to continue on the council.
Coun Summers was the only member to vote aginst lobbying 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 making it legal.
A statement issued by the Brighton and Hove Green Party last night said: "Speaking and voting against policy would not, of itself, be a matter for an internal inquiry.
"Coun Summers is not the first to do so and won’t be the last. This is not an issue of free speech. Nor is it a religious matter.
"The Green Party is as welcoming of Christians as it is of any other faith; indeed, we have other Christians in our Green Group, not to mention a Christian Chief Executive and a Christian national party chair.
"The issue was that when she stood as a Green candidate, and when she asked people to vote for her as a Green Councillor, Coun Summers had made a written undertaking that if she was selected as a candidate and elected to public office, she would uphold and advance the values of 'equality for all people, regardless of race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, religion, social origin or any other prejudice.
"The councillors who asked for the Inquiry wanted to know whether Councillor Summers was in breach of her undertaking as a candidate.
“The panel does not have the power to expel Councillor Summers from the party or to remove her as a Councillor but it has concluded that…she should be expelled from the Green Group of Councillors, making her an independent councillor.”
In response, Coun Summers said she was "crestfallen" adding "party policy, however vague, is sovereign".
To read a full in-depth exclusive interview with Coun Summers' see tomorrow's Argus.
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