A Green Party councillor was hauled before an inquiry in July after voting against a motion to support the Government’s plans to legalise same-sex marriages.
According to the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), Hollingdean and Stanmer councillor Christina Summers voted against the proposals at a full council meeting. Speaking to the Brighton Argus, she said the decision was based on her religious convictions and that she was accountable to God above any political party.
She said, ‘I feel that marriage is about a relationship between a man and a woman together in a relationship and about procreation and family. I’m accountable to God above any political party. Obviously whatever the cost, if there is a cost, then so be it’.
A councillor is allowed a free vote on issues of conscience under terms of membership of the Green Party, but, after fellow Green Party councillors met, they asked for an official inquiry into why Christina Summers voted ‘no’.
Quoted by the BBC, Rob Shepherd, a member of the Brighton and Hove Green Party Executive Committee, said, ‘Ms Summers may have compromised her signed declaration, by which she was selected as a candidate by party members and which formed part of the platform on which she stood for public election as a Green Party candidate’.
He said the inquiry had no power to remove her from the Green Party or as a city councillor, but may exclude her from membership of the Green group which has minority control of the council.
The panel is expected to take several weeks to reach an outcome. Since her views became known publicly, Christina Summers has had a ‘stream’ of abusive emails from outside the council, suggesting she is a ‘fascist’, ‘mentally ill’ and ‘homophobic’.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of the CLC, said, ‘The strong-arm tactics of the Green Party apparatchiks in this instance are disturbing. For a party that prides itself on equality, it is deeply ironic that some views are more equal than others in the Green Party’.