January 4, 2013 (PJSaunders) - With the coalition government about to publish their bill to legalise gay marriage in England and Wales there has been a huge increase in opposition to the measure over the last two months.

Over 624,000 people have now signed the Coalition for Marriage (C4M) petition against the redefinition of marriage which simply reads as follows:

‘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. I oppose any attempt to redefine it.’

The petition has overwhelmed that of the ‘Campaign for equal Marriage’ (C4EM) which has attracted only 64,000 signatures, just over 10% of C4M’s total.

This underlines the growing suspicion that the push to legalise gay marriage is the concern of a small liberal elite which does not speak for the majority.

C4EM is claiming that of 649 MPs in total, 305 (47%) support the proposal and 114 oppose it with 14 neutrals and 216 unknowns.

But the Daily Mail has already published a list of 118 Tory MPs alone who oppose it and the Telegraph said before Christmas that 137 Tory MPs, almost half the party, are expected to oppose it based on letters to constituents.

Ed Miliband has now offered Labour MPs a free vote on the issue and the names of eight who are on record as opposing it is available on the New Statesman’s website.

So together with the other ten MPs that C4EM have identified who oppose gay marriage (eight DUP, one Lib Dem and one Independent) we had already before Christmas a total of 155 opposed (137 Tory, 8 Lab, 10 other).

Click “like” if you want to defend true marriage.

Furthermore, over the Christmas period there have been several new developments which may well lead others to declare their hands against the Prime Minister’s proposals.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, used his Christmas message to attack the government’s plans branding them ‘totalitarian’ and has urged Catholics to write to their MPs asking them to oppose the move.

More recently he has warned that the ‘true nature of marriage’ will be lost to schoolchildren if gay wedding plans go ahead.

In his support the Pope has used his New Year message to ‘warn David Cameron’ about damage to the family if marriage is redefined.

Over the Christmas period High Court Judge Sir Paul Coleridge has criticised (video here) the plans saying the Government should not be focusing on a ‘minority issue’ involving only 0.1% of the population when families are in crisis.

Meanwhile A Conservative Home poll has shown that 55% of Tory Party members would vote against SSM if they were in Parliament.

Angry Muslims have demanded that the government treats them the same as the Church of England allowing an exemption on having to conduct ceremonies and former Catholic Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has said that gay marriage calls trust in David Cameron into question.

In the face of all this growing opposition our Prime Minister remains resolutely determined.

Whether he will be successful remains to be seen, but even if he is, it seems that his making this issue a key priority at such a time is alienating huge numbers of his own MPs, party members and hundreds and thousands of not millions of ordinary British citizens.

Reprinted with permission from Christian Medical Comment