British PM facing gay marriage revolt

2013-02-02 13:05

London - British Prime Minister David Cameron is facing a serious revolt in his Conservative Party over plans to introduce gay marriage, newspapers reported on Saturday.

Not only are backbenchers in the centre-right party, which governs in coalition with the smaller Liberal Democrats, likely to vote against the bill but grass-roots Tories are also turning away, newspapers said.

Reports suggested that between 130 and 200 of the 303 Conservative lawmakers will not back the bill when it is debated in parliament's lower House of Commons for the first time on Tuesday.

The Times said Conservative MPs told the newspaper that activists were resigning or refusing to renew their membership in large numbers in protest at the government's plans.

A ComRes poll of just over 2 000 people who voted Conservative at the 2010 general election, found that 20% of them agreed that they "would have considered voting Conservative at the next election but will definitely not if the coalition government legalises same-sex marriage".


The poll in The Daily Telegraph newspaper found that a further fifth of Conservative voters said they were unsure whether they would vote Tory again if the measures become law.

The survey also found that 62% of voters overall thought Cameron's chief motivation was trying to make the Conservatives seem "trendy and modern".

"This is a wake-up call to just how damaging an issue gay marriage is for the Conservative Party," former children's minister Tim Loughton was quoted as saying.

"Many stalwart Conservative supporters are feeling pretty bruised by this issue which came out of nowhere, didn't feature in the manifesto and is now being forced through by the government that seems to want to pick a fight with its own supporters."

He said grass-roots Conservatives were telling the leadership that it would not be a vote-winner at the 2015 general election.

"We need to sort the economy out in order to win the next election and gay marriage isn't up there," he said.

Meanwhile backbench Tory lawmaker David Burrowes said: "Conservative supporters did not expect the government to divide the party, divide the nation, divide church and state and divide marriage. And they won't easily forget it."

The prime minister's Downing Street office said Cameron would be encouraging colleagues to vote for the bill.


"It is a free vote but clearly the prime minister is in favour of the legislation," said a spokesperson.

"He firmly believes that it is the right thing to do and of course he will encourage others to vote for it."

Cameron has also made clear that tax breaks would not be included in next month's budget - a move some would see as appeasing malcontent backbenchers - but would be introduced later in this parliament.

In plans unveiled in December, the government said it was proposing to allow same-sex couples to marry, but would explicitly ban the established Churches of England and Wales - which are opposed - from conducting ceremonies.

Other religious institutions can "opt in" if they wish.

Gay couples in Britain have had the right to enter into a civil partnership since 2005.

Civil partnerships offer identical rights and responsibilities to civil marriage, although campaigners point to some differences such as international recognition which applies to marriage but not partnerships.

  • lynda.pitcher.1 - 2013-02-02 14:05

    With so much that is seriously wrong in this what way can gay marriage be controversial any more, we waste so much time wrestling with a non-problem, time that could be spent sorting out real issues

      simon.templer.549 - 2013-02-02 21:30

      Atheitis - Typical., Bring religion and apartheid into it even if its a round peg for a square hole. The article and lynda's comment has nothing to do with either. Find a more appropriate place to promote your warped concepts of life. Fifty years ago, society dumped you into a volcano. The only reason they don't do it now is because of liberals with pipe vision.

  • dariusedwin - 2013-02-02 14:15

    Isn't it SA the only country in Africa that allows same sex marriage. No hard feelings jus wana kno.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2013-02-02 16:03

      Daiusedwin, If you have ' no hard feelings' why bother ? .

  • phoenix.px.5 - 2013-02-02 14:48

    Yet on SKY he apparently faces a revolt because of marriage tax :) Is it just me or does news24 appear to really turn up the gas with religion and gay issues to get more interaction from surfers? I assume an article on tax revolt is not as yummy as one on gay issues?

  • khaya.blaai.1 - 2013-02-02 17:32

    I do not see anything to make noise about in the proposed bill. It won't make anyone gay or lesbian. It only seeks to bridge a gap in legislation.

  • michelle.fick.3 - 2013-02-02 19:22

    Wow! We are in the 21st Century, and the UK is supposed to be a 1st world country!

  • chikunga - 2013-02-02 22:25

    No apologies, I don't thing sexual orientation can be changed. If you are born with a penis then you are man, you must sleep with a person born with a vagina

  • zoe.j.ward.7 - 2013-02-03 00:21

    Chikunga youre a tit. You right sexual orientation cannot be changed! Thats why im lesbian because I cant change it. Get over it. LGBT people are here to stay like it or not.

  • Jason Lok - 2013-02-03 06:34

    GOD is watchin us all, Homosexuality is can it be accepted and implemented??

      SarcasticHeathen - 2013-02-03 09:01

      Because there are no good reasons to believe in demons, gods, tokeloshes, ghosts and bigfoot?

      shaun.stanley2 - 2013-02-04 08:18

      When you can demonstrate that your God exists then you can try to influence public policy with those notions. Until then you must remain silent, keeping your faith (that is, your capacity for accepting propositions for no reason) to yourself.

  • mosis.hanz - 2013-02-03 09:49

    Religion, gods, tokeloshes, ghosts and bigfoot a side, being Gay is not a natural cycle of life. Look to nature and you won’t see two bull elephants humping one another nor two male lions or any other male or female species out there doing that. We are the higher forms of life on our planet due to our intelligence and body design; we choose the logical or illogical paths within our lives. The point being we are not born Gay it’s a psychological decision that individuals take that has profound impact to themselves and the people around them; were as being born black, brown, white and any other colour is natural and therefore being persecuted for the colour of our skin is wrong. To compare homosexuality to the colour of our skin and the persecutions each one brings to the afflicted is too also wrong; one is a decision that affects the outcome whereas the other is natural form that suffers persecution by a decision that causes an outcome.

      agnodeistic.antitheist - 2013-02-03 14:14

      A decision? Really? Mind explaining why someone would make the "psychological decision" to be gay, when the see the way other gays are treated? As to your "not in nature"-assertion:

      mosis.hanz - 2013-02-03 20:20

      SarcasticHeathen – the reason is plain and simple did you not read my last post explaining logic and illogical decisions that ultimately affect the outcome. Humans are rebellious in nature; if I say to you stand, you’ll sit; if the sign says “beware of sharks do not swim” people rebelliously swim it’s simply “in our nature” even to argue when you know you’re wrong. Being Gay is a choice, it’s a decision that an individual makes knowing full well what the consequences are. Should they have rights to marry and adopt children? I’m neither God nor a judge to make that decision; however, my belief and right is in the natural order of things. By the way Gay people still need “natural order” to either conceive or adopt children in order to live their lives; “A tad illogical by any standard because it’s a double standard; yes it’s disorder that needs order to function” that’s just sta-sta-sta-stuppid!

      agnodeistic.antitheist - 2013-02-04 08:04

      Natural order of things? The fact that it happens in nature, proves that it is more natural than agriculture, mechanization, cars, computers etc... But would you be joining the Amish?

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