Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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‘Gay marriage’ push triggering ‘unprecedented’ response: Leading British pro-lifer

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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LONDON, March 22, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Only a “huge mobilisation” of the public, guided and encouraged by strong and united religious leadership, will stop the Cameron government from instituting “gay marriage,” the head of Britain’s leading pro-life organisation told LifeSiteNews.com today.

John Smeaton, director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) said in an interview that he is “reasonably optimistic” about the prospect looming ahead.

Despite the undeniable fact that David Cameron’s “New Tory” government is “expressing its determination” to force a redefinition of marriage, Smeaton said that in today’s Britain, the public have become more aware of their rights and duties, and he predicts a “very big reaction against these plans.” A major part of this reaction, he predicted, is going to be an unprecedented coalition of Christian denominations and other religions pushing back.

“Undoubtedly they will have their way unless there is a huge reaction,” Smeaton said. But the hope lies with the fear of repercussions at the next election: “MPs will be accountable.”

The push back against same-sex marriage is being “ably led,” Smeaton said, by Colin Hart of the Christian Institute. Hart recently gave a press conference as the campaign director for the Coalition for Marriage, in which he said the word “marriage” appears in law 3258 times. Marriage, he said, is “woven into the fabric of our national laws, and that can’t be unpicked in a single stroke.”

Hart reiterated the threat of same-sex marriage, not only to the social fabric of Britain, but to the political prospects of MPs who support it.

“Marriage was not dreamt up by government. And yet this government cannot overturn thousands of years of history by redefining it. Especially so when no political party made it part of their election manifesto.

“If they believe that the public support them on this issue, why didn’t the party leaders have the courage of their convictions to put it in their manifesto?”

MPs have also been warned from prominent voices in the Conservative party that “gay marriage” is not a vote-winner with the general public. Tim Montgomerie, the editor of the influential Conservative Home blog and personally a supporter of “gay marriage”, said that the party has overturned its priorities with the new “obsession,” at the cost of sidelining issues of acute interest to voters like unemployment and fuel costs.

“Recognising that gay marriage is a good thing,” Montgomerie wrote, “and that opponents are on the wrong side of history - does not mean it’s a vote winner.

“Public opinion is very divided on broadening the definition of marriage and very few people who are struggling with the electricity bill or fearing unemployment can understand politicians’ obsession with the issue.”

Lord Tebbit, a former Cabinet minister and former Chairman of the Conservative Party also warned that Cameron is angering his natural support base.

“I doubt if Mr. Cameron’s new-found enthusiasm for ‘gay marriage’ will make it any more likely that he will lead the Conservative Party to a majority in 2015 or add greatly to the sum total of happiness and contentment in our society.”

The sudden push for same-sex “marriage” has shocked many. A few years ago, SPUC did not include opposition to the threat of the homosexualist agenda in its mandate. What changed their minds? “The call for same-sex marriage,” Smeaton said. “It has exercised a lot of people.”

The announcement of the government that a change in the legal definition of marriage was in the offing galvanised the SPUC board. “Now we have a resolution passed by the national council unanimously.”

So radical an alteration to the understanding of marriage, Smeaton said, is an issue that is close to the bone for pro-life people. “It undermines marriage between a man and a woman, and marriage is the basis of the family and the security of children born and unborn.

“Unborn children are four to five times safer within than without marriage.”

SPUC is working closely with the Christian Institute, sending out hundreds of thousands of fliers asking the public to contact MPs and sign the petition being circulated by the Coalition for Marriage to preserve the current definition.

Is there hope of stopping the juggernaut? Smeaton said he believes that the suggestion of changing so fundamental a social building block is being strongly opposed by so broad a range of groups that the chances are good of stopping it.

“Sometimes one is able to stop politicians in their tracks, though it will require a supreme effort to do that.” Smeaton said he expects a “huge grass roots reaction” that will “far outweigh anything in support of the proposal”.

A great deal, however, depends upon one wild card: “Cameron’s personal bloody-minded determination.”

“To what extent Cameron is going to roll over everyone, we don’t know yet. Certainly Blair used to do that. The British people were overwhelmingly against the Iraq war, but it didn’t stop Blair from going to war. Massive rallies were held opposing the ban on fox hunting, and the government rolled over them.”

“We don’t know that will be the case with Cameron.”

With most of the Evangelical Anglicans and many Protestant groups already mobilised, Smeaton is writing to the Catholic bishops of Britain urging them to move forward aggressively to save the institution of marriage.

“I am seeking urgent meetings, to work out how we can oppose these proposals,” he said. He emphasised the utmost urgency that the “whole Catholic community” become united on this one issue, if no other.

“Now is the time. What’s important is that they do something now. The stakes are far too high to allow any of existing, past concerns, to get in the way.”

Smeaton was likely referring to the long history among the bishops of England and Wales of tacit and recently more overt support for the homosexualist movement, particularly in the leading sees of London.

Recently, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, reiterated his support for the “intention and purpose” of the so-called “gay Masses” that were approved in 2005 to be held regularly in a central London parish church.

Organisers of the Soho Masses have become notorious for openly opposing Catholic teaching on sexuality and have repeatedly been protected from criticism by the Catholic bishops. Through press releases, blog posts, editorials, media interviews and videos posted to YouTube, the dissent from Catholic moral teaching at the Soho Masses have become, in the words of one Catholic campaigner, “the worst kept secret” in the English Church.

Smeaton himself has written on LSN that it is only when the English bishops give up their support for the homosexualist movement that progress will be made in restoring Christianity to its former prominence and respect in public life.

The Coalition for Marriage petition for UK residents can be found here.

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