MailOnline (UK) 23 Nov 2012
The full extent of the revolt among Tory MPs over plans to allow gay marriage was revealed last night. In all, more than 100 Conservatives out of 303 have written to constituents indicating their unease. If they all vote against, it would be the biggest Tory rebellion in modern times. Backbencher Douglas Carswell, one of those who will vote against, said: ‘I think you’ve got to have your head stuck in the Westminster bubble to think this is a priority.’ The vote could happen as early as January after Mr Cameron decided this week to ‘get it done and get it done quickly’. They are an eclectic bunch – including a former breakfast TV presenter, a former top City investment manager, a Liverpool football fan and a gay friend of Margaret Thatcher. But all have one thing in common: they are among the many Tory MPs who bitterly oppose David Cameron’s controversial policy to make gay marriage legal. Altogether, there are at least 118 Tory MPs (out of a total of 303) who, the Mail can reveal, have condemned the proposal to redefine the centuries-old institution of marriage.
Among the 121 MPs is Conor Burns, the openly gay MP for Bournemouth West, who is a close friend of Lady Thatcher. He said in a local newspaper interview: “I marvel at why we’re bringing this forward. There is no clamour for this at all within the gay community.”
….a survey by the polling organisation ComRes found that 62 per cent of voters and 68 per cent of Tory supporters believe marriage should continue to be defined as a ‘life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman’. A further 65 per cent said that plans to legalise gay marriage are ‘more to do with trying to make the Conservative Party look trendy and modern’ than a matter of conviction. These findings are reinforced by a petition set up by the lobby group Coalition For Marriage (C4M) which has been signed by 612,000 people. It declares: ‘I support the legal definition of marriage which is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.’ The Prime Minister has exacerbated tension on the Tory benches by issuing what has been described as a ‘guillotine’ – rushing the Bill into the Commons to fast-track the reform.