Independent (UK) 28 Dec 2012
David Cameron has been warned that his backing for gay marriage is splitting the Conservatives and that he has underestimated the strong opposition to it in his own party. A survey of more than 2,500 Conservative Party members for The Independent found that a huge majority reject his arguments for legalising same-sex marriage.
The findings come amid renewed speculation among some Tory MPs that Mr Cameron could face a leadership challenge before the next general election. His critics fear that the UK Independence Party will exploit the opposition to gay marriage among natural Conservative supporters.
The poll, carried out by the ConservativeHome website, found that seven out of 10 Tory members (71 per cent) believe that same-sex marriage is splitting the party and that three out of four (78 per cent) believe the Prime Minister has underestimated the strength of feeling. A majority of Tory members (64 per cent) think gay marriage is unnecessary because gay people can already opt for civil partnerships, while 32 per cent disagree. Almost six out of 10 (58 per cent) believe that marriage “should remain between one man and one woman”, while 34 per cent disagree. Only 38 per cent agree with the proposition that “marriage is an institution that brings two people together and there is no reason why two people should not be two men, two women or a man and a woman,” while 58 per cent disagree.