LONDON February 4, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com
) – A ComRes poll released this weekend has shown that Prime Minister David Cameron’s insistence on pushing through same-sex “marriage” will almost certainly cost him the government at the 2015 election. The poll, commissioned by the group Campaign for Marriage, has indicated just how damaging the issue has been for the Conservative party. It found that 20 per cent of Conservative Party voters agreed with the statement, “I would have considered voting Conservative at the next election but will definitely not if the Coalition Government legalises same-sex marriage”.
The numbers, while suggesting that a small majority of party voters support same-sex “marriage,” also show that the party has lost enough support that it will be impossible to win the next general election.
The marriage bill, described by the government as a “small change” and by homosexualist activists as “sweeping,” was introduced Friday the 25th with a first vote in the House of Commons set for tomorrow.
The Daily Telegraph reported this weekend that well over half of Cameron’s own MPs will vote against him in tomorrow’s vote. About 200 Tory MPs, including six of the 12 party whips and at least four Cabinet ministers will oppose the bill, leaving about 120 planning to support it. This will be nowhere near enough to defeat the bill, however, but is an indication of how deep the disillusionment with Cameron’s leadership has grown within the party.
The Telegraph reports that among the Cabinet ministers who will either vote no or abstain are Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, Welsh Secretary David Jones, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, and Iain Duncan Smith, former party leader and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
Cameron’s defenders in the government have dismissed the ComRes findings, saying that the greater danger to the party would be to ignore the societal trends on homosexuality. This seems to support the opinion of the 62 per cent of voters of all political stripes who told ComRes they believed Cameron’s motivation for supporting gay ‘marriage’ has more to do with making the party seem “trendy and modern” than with “equality.”
Opposition to the plan to re-write the marriage law continues to grow within the party. A letter delivered to Number 10 this week was signed by 20 senior party chiefs who accused Cameron of “betraying” the party faithful. They said the changes are coming “without adequate debate or consultation” and have resulted in ordinary members leaving the party “in droves”. Cameron has allowed less than ten days for the bill to be debated after it was introduced last Friday.
The 20 leaders of local Conservative Party Associations spoke to the Daily Telegraph outside the Prime Minister’s offices today, calling him “wooden-headed”. They said they had warned him that “long-held religious and personal freedoms and the right to free speech” will be “adversely affected”, as well as of “significant damage” to the party for the next general election. They said that ordinary party members had been left “angry, disillusioned and deeply puzzled” at the proposals that were brought out without warning and were not found in the party manifesto at the last election or in the government’s plans announced in the Queen’s Speech.
Critics of Cameron’s leadership have long held that he threw away the party’s chances of a majority government in the last election over his support for Britain’s continued relationship with the European Union and refusal to allow a national referendum. But one of the 20 party association chiefs said that the grassroots are more angry with Cameron over the marriage re-write than they were over Europe.
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The Telegraph quoted Ed Costelloe, who last month resigned as chairman of Somerton & Frome Conservative Association over the issue. Costelloe said, “We are also shocked by the way in which it being it is being pushed through with so little regard for proper scrutiny. The Government seems intent on restricting debate at every stage both in the public consultation and now in the Parliamentary process.”
Another local leader said that party members are increasingly concerned that the bill will talk about equality but in practice will merely place the desires of a small minority above the civil rights of others. Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of think tank the Bow Group, warned of teachers, civil servants and marriage councillors being sacked for their views.
Meanwhile, Cameron’s loyalists are lining up to support the plans. Foreign Secretary William Hague said he supports the measure as long as there are protections for objectors. “I think as times have changed, civil partnerships came in, within a remarkably short period of time those things become accepted,” he told the BBC. “I think the same will happen with this.”
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, described by the Telegraph as “a close ally” of Cameron, said, “Religious freedom is not just for heterosexuals – we should not deny anyone the right to make a lifelong commitment to another person in front of God if that is what they believe and that is what their church allows.”
Education Secretary Michael Gove on Friday attacked critics of the bill who have warned that teachers will be compelled to promote homosexuality as normal in the classroom or face the sack. Gove wrote in the Daily Mail, “I have complete confidence in the protection our law offers freedom of conscience and speech. There is a significant difference between expecting a teacher to explain something and requiring them to promote it.”
The Com-Res poll found that one in six teachers were preparing themselves to “reluctantly” teach about homosexual “marriage”. The Coalition for Marriage warned that as many as 40,000 teachers could face dismissal if they refuse to violate their conscience on the issue.
Gove’s comments contradict information coming out of his office last week however. An unnamed source in Gove’s department admitted to the Daily Telegraph that, under the European Union agreements, the British government has little power to protect citizens from litigation by homosexual activists.
“A senior source” said the UK is not “in control” of its own legal situation and that the ultimate decision will “inevitably” be made by the European Court of Human Rights.
The source said, “We have had legal advice; the problem is that there is this inherent uncertainty about such matters.”
“These are all under the control of nine guys in Strasbourg, it is just fundamentally uncertain because Britain isn’t in control of this.”
Backbench Tory MP David Burrowes told the Telegraph this weekend, “This policy is dangerous and wrong. There are those who think that voters who are upset about this policy will have forgotten this by the next election. That’s a dangerous game to be playing.”
Tim Loughton, the former Children’s Minister, said that with this issue, the government “seems to want to pick a fight with its own supporters.”
“This is a wake-up call to just how damaging an issue gay marriage is for the Conservative Party. Many stalwart Conservative supporters are feeling pretty bruised by this issue which came out of nowhere,” he told the Telegraph.