LONDON, July 17, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Queen Elizabeth II has today given Royal Assent to the coalition government’s bill creating gay “marriage,” after the House of Commons approved minor amendments on Tuesday. The law will come into effect mid-2014. All three of the main parties in Parliament supported the bill, though there was significant opposition within the ruling Conservative party. 

Colin Hart, director of the Campaign for Marriage said that Prime Minister David Cameron, leader of the Tory party, “needs to remember that the Coalition for Marriage has nearly 700,000 supporters, nearly six times the number of members of the Conservative Party”. 

These, he said, are “just ordinary men and women, not part of the ruling elite. They are passionate, motivated and determined to fight on against a law that renders terms like husband and wife meaningless and threatens one of the foundations of the institution of marriage: fidelity and faithfulness.” 

Throughout the process, opponents of the legislation said that the Conservative party was being critically hurt by the campaign, hemorrhaging grassroots membership – largely to the United Kingdom Independence Party – and disenchanting traditionally Tory voters. 

Hart added, “These concepts may not matter to the leaders of the three main political parties, who are drawn from a very narrow liberal political class, but they do matter to people up and down the country who believe that marriage is special, unique and the bedrock of stable families.” 

Religious leaders never ceased to warn throughout the process that the government’s assurances that clergy would not be forced to participate were worthless in the current legal climate. Legislative safeguards, they said, can be overturned by a single decision of the European Court of Human Rights. Hart warned that the legislation has left the door wide open to being used to persecute conscientious objectors. “These cases will come back to bite the Prime Minister,” he said. 

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“The Coalition for Marriage,” Hart added, “will make sure everyone knows that he has brought it on himself.” 

Former government minister Sir Gerald Howarth criticized the process that brought the bill to completion, saying the party had “absolutely no mandate” to redefine marriage. He described it as having “been bulldozed through both Houses” with just two hours of debate. It is, he said, “an absolute parliamentary disgrace.” 

“I think the Government should think very carefully in future if they want the support of these benches. Offending large swathes of the Conservative Party is not a good way of going about it.” 

Dave Landrum of the Evangelical Alliance blasted both houses for having “brushed aside” essential legal protections. “Although the law has changed, real marriage is and will always be exclusively a lifelong union between a man and woman. We can acknowledge the fact the legal definition has changed but we should also understand that we do not need to approve of the legal fiction created.” 

The Catholic bishops, in the person of Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark, indicated that marriage in its objective nature no longer exists in law: “The new Act breaks the existing legal links between the institution of marriage and sexual complementarity,” he said. 

“With this new legislation, marriage has now become an institution in which openness to children, and with it the responsibility on fathers and mothers to remain together to care for children born into their family unit, are no longer central.”  

Meanwhile, the Church of England, whose representatives in the House of Lords raised the white flag after the first House of Lords vote, has launched a new anti-homophobia campaign in schools. 

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who had vocally opposed the “gay marriage” bill, announced to a meeting of the General Synod late last week at the University of York, saying, “The majority of the population rightly detests homophobic behavior or anything that looks like it and sometimes they look at us and see what they don’t like.” 

“With nearly a million children educated in our schools we not only must demonstrate a profound commitment to stamp out such stereotyping and bullying but we must also take action. 

“We are therefore developing a program for use in our schools, taking the best advice we can find anywhere, that specifically targets such bullying.”