Tories Stage Mass Revolt Against David Cameron Over Gay Marriage
Gay marriage could be dead at this point in Britain. This is massive. Cameron is never going to survive regardless of the outcome.
"Gay marriage mess: Up to four Cabinet ministers to join Tory revolt against David Cameron in vote"
2 Feb 2013 23:00
PM’s allies fear biggest Conservative rebellion in modern times when MPs vote whether to back Mr Cameron on gay marriage on Tuesday
FOUR Cabinet ministers and up to 200 more Tory MPs are set to defy David Cameron in a mass revolt over gay marriage.
The PM fuelled their anger this weekend by killing any hope of a tax break for married couples in next month’s Budget.
The PM’s allies now fear the biggest Tory rebellion in modern times when MPs vote whether to back Mr Cameron on gay marriage on Tuesday.
Tory insiders say Cabinet ministers expected to defy the PM by voting against or abstaining are Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Welsh Secretary David Jones.
The number of rebel Tory MPs could hit between 160 and 200 – more than half the 303 Tory MPs – in a huge blow for Mr Cameron’s authority and leadership.
The PM’s support for same-sex marriage has been a key factor in accelerating the drift of thousands of Tory voters towards the UK Independence Party, say pollsters.
MPs will get a “free vote” on the issue of letting religious groups carry out same-sex weddings and vote according to their consciences and not party orders. The planned law is certain to get the backing of MPs because of strong support from Labour and Lib Dem members.
Tory MPs are furious with the PM for supporting gay marriage while postponing his pledge to give married couples a tax break worth about £150 a year. Tory MP Stewart Jackson said yesterday: “I wonder who’s advising him? His political strategy – No to marriage tax breaks and Yes to gay marriage – stinks.”
Divisions over same-sex marriage could cost the Tories the 2015 general election, said one poll.
One in five voters who supported the party in 2010 would “definitely not” do so again if the Government presses ahead with the change.
The Church of England has urged the Government not to support gay marriage but gay Tory MP Nick Herbert warned Tories risked the same fate as defeated Republicans in the US by “failing to see society has changed”.
Gay marriage: poll shows backing in Lords for postponement
Expectations that same-sex marriage could be defeated in the House of Lords are growing after the first poll of peers on the subject showed strong support for shelving the move.
By John Bingham, Social Affairs Editor
6:30AM GMT 08 Jan 2013
Almost six out of 10 members of the Lords polled said that the Coalition should call a halt to its plans to change the marriage laws until it becomes clearer whether there is broad public support.
It comes amid accusations from senior churchmen that the Coalition’s official consultation on same-sex marriage was a “sham”.
Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary disclosed to the Commons last month that just under 53 per cent of responses to the online listening exercise were in favour.
But that figure discounts the views of more than half a million opponents who signed online petitions.
The polling also showed strong objections in both houses to the prospect of the Government invoking rarely-used parliamentary powers to change the law without the support of the House of Lords.
The Coalition is due to publish it equal marriage bill in the next few weeks.
It is likely to pass the Commons despite an expected rebellion by more than 130 Tory MPs but the outcome of a vote in the Lords is far less clear.
A ComRes poll of peers carried out for the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), which campaigns against the change, found that 56 per cent agreed with the statement that the Government should “not proceed” with the changes if the consultation does not show “broad support”.
When asked whether the measure should simply be shelved until after the next election irrespective of the consultation outcome opinion was finely balanced with 46 per cent in favour and 49 per cent against.
Three quarters of Conservative peers and 67 per cent of cross-benchers polled favoured a pause but only 15 per cent of Liberal Democrats did so.
Meanwhile a separate poll of MPs found that two thirds of members of the Commons are to opposed to using Parliament Act to get the legislation through if it is blocked in the Lords.
Nicknamed the “nuclear option” of Parliamentary procedure, the Act has been used only a handful of times in the last century.
Among peers opposition to using the Parliament Act ran at 74 per cent.
Colin hart, campaign director for the C4M said: “Mr Cameron should realise that trying to ram through this policy in a desperate bid appear trendy and progressive is not fooling anyone.
“Ordinary people want him to stop meddling with the institution of marriage and get on with fixing Britain’s flatlining economy.
“After all that’s why he was elected.
“Day by day the case for holding a referendum on this issue grows.
“If Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg believe this policy is both the right thing to do and popular why do they not trust the British people and let them have their say?”
LONDON | Sun Feb 3, 2013 9:30am EST
(Reuters) - Members of British Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party urged him on Sunday to delay a parliamentary vote this week on gay marriage, warning the issue could weaken the party and harm his chances of re-election.
Cameron has pledged his personal support for a gay marriage bill but many in his party and among his legislators oppose it on moral grounds and say the government has no mandate to push it through parliament.
As the bill is supported by Britain's two other main parties, opposition Labor and Conservative coalition partners the Liberal Democrats, it is in no danger of being defeated.
But a letter signed by 25 past and present chairmen of local Conservative associations was handed in to Cameron's Downing Street residence on Sunday afternoon by six of the signatories.
"We feel very strongly that the decision to bring this bill before parliament has been made without adequate debate or consultation with either the membership of the Conservative Party or with the country at large," the letter said.
It added: "Resignations from the party are beginning to multiply and we fear that, if enacted, this bill will lead to significant damage to the Conservative Party in the run-up to the 2015 election."
One Conservative association leader, Geoffrey Vero, said Cameron should have taken the issue more slowly.
"I think a number of Conservative supporters and voters will sit on their hands on the issue and that may well seriously affect David's opportunity to get re-elected in 2015," he told Sky TV.
"We think that is a dangerous risk to take with your core supporters."
The proposals, due to come into effect in England and Wales in 2014, will also allow civil partners to convert their partnership to a marriage and enable married people to change their legal gender without having to end their union.
Usual rules requiring loyalty to the party line have been lifted for Tuesday's so-called "free" vote and political analysts say as many as half of the 303 Conservative MPs might vote against the bill or abstain.
The issue has sparked heated debate in Britain, particularly among faith groups, but 55 percent of British people support same-sex marriage, according to a YouGov poll in December.
YouGov President Peter Kellner said he did not believe gay marriage would figure prominently in the next election.
"It's not a big issue for the public but it could hit the reputation of the Conservative Party," he told BBC radio. "Cameron is signaling the modernity of the Conservatives but the public will see a divided party."
Gay marriage supporters say that while the existing civil partnerships for same-sex couples give the same legal rights as marriage, the distinction implies that they are inferior.
Cameron himself said two months ago: "I'm a massive supporter of marriage and I don't want gay people to be excluded from a great institution."
But the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches are both strongly opposed and the bill will not force them to conduct gay marriages.
Other religious groups, such as Quakers and liberal Jewish groups, could choose to marry gays, but under the proposals no individual minister would be compelled to wed a same-sex couple.
After the expected approval in the Commons on Tuesday, the bill will move to parliament's upper house, the House of Lords, which is expected to vote on it in May before the bill returns to the Commons for a second vote.
Tories ripped apart by gay marriage vote Tories ripped apart by gay marriage vote
A full scale revolt by Conservative MPs against David Cameron’s plans to introduce same-sex marriage became clear on Saturday.
We understand that the The Sunday Telegraph has established around 180 Conservative MPs, most notably including six whips and up to four members of the Cabinet, are ready to defy the Prime Minister’s plan to legalise gay weddings. Also 25 chairmen or former chairmen of Conservative party associations across the country have signed a letter to Mr Cameron warning that the policy will cause “significant damage” to the Tories’ 2015 general election campaign.
One chairman, who has quit over the issue, said “this is a policy dreamt up in Notting Hill”, while a serving chairman said it had angered the grassroots more than Europe.
The vote on Tuesday is the first parliamentary vote on the gay marriage legislation and a test for the Prime Minister. However Downing Street now expects that only around 120 of Mr Cameron’s MPs will vote in favour of legalising homosexual unions. This leaves around 180 Conservative members likely to abstain or vote against. They include:
Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, and David Jones, the Welsh Secretary, both expected to vote against.
Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, who will either vote against or abstain, while Iain Duncan Smith is expected to abstain, although a source close to the welfare secretary suggested that it was still possible he may side with the Government.
At least half of the Tories’ 12-man whips’ office, relied on by Mr Cameron to enforce party discipline. They are Stephen Crabb, David Evennett, Robert Goodwill, Mark Lancaster, Nicky Morgan and John Randall.
Senior party members including Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Liam Fox and Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Commons Treasury Committee, who will not back the Bill.
[quote]55 percent of British people support same-sex marriage
That's only 3 points above the US.
"Tory MP gets 'death threats' over gay marriage opposition"
A Tory MP leading the rebellion against gay marriage has received death threats ahead of a crucial vote on the issue this week.
David Burrowes, the MP for Enfield Southgate, called in police after receiving hate mail over his opposition to the policy on religious grounds.
He told The Sunday Times that he started to take the threats "more seriously" when he had details of his travel arrangements posted on the internet.
The Christian MP said his children have been bullied at school by classmates accusing him of being "homophobic".
David Cameron is expected to push through laws legalising same-sex marriage on Tuesday with help from Labour and the Liberal Democrats, despite a rebellion by up to 180 MPs in his own party.
The Prime Minister believes that gay marriage is a fundamental issue of equality and is determined to make it law.
But he is facing a backlash from within his own party and churches who believe it would undermine the institution of marriage by redefining it.
Government lawyers have devised a so-called “quadruple lock” of legal protections which they believe will prevent religious groups which do not wish to carry out such weddings being forced to do so.
But opponents claim that individual workers – such as teachers, hospital chaplains or other officials – could be dismissed legally from their jobs if they take what they consider to be a stand on grounds of conscience over the issue.
A new ComRes poll commissioned by the Coalition for Marriage found as many as one in 10 teachers will refuse to tell pupils about the importance of same-sex marraige.
Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has repeatedly reassured teachers that they will not face the sack if they object to promoting gay marriage but there are fears some could be accused of discrimination by local education authorities.
The full scale of this week’s revolt by Conservative MPs was revealed in The Sunday Telegraph today.
It reported that around 180 Conservative MPs, most notably including six whips and up to four members of the Cabinet, are ready to defy the Prime Minister’s plan to legalise gay weddings.
These include Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, and David Jones, the Welsh Secretary.
Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, who will either vote against or abstain, while Iain Duncan Smith is expected to abstain, although a source close to the welfare secretary suggested that it was still possible he may side with the Government.
Meanwhile, 25 chairmen or former chairmen of Conservative party associations across the country have signed a letter to Mr Cameron warning that the policy will cause “significant damage” to the Tories’ 2015 general election campaign.
One chairman, who has quit over the issue, said “this is a policy dreamt up in Notting Hill”, while a serving chairman said it had angered the grassroots more than Europe.
The anger has been intensified by the Prime Minister's decision to postponse a transferable tax allowance for married couples.
The policy was featured in the Conservatives’ 2010 manifesto but it will not be included next month’s Budget.
It came as a ComRes poll suggested Mr Cameron's policy may be further alienating ethnic minority voters. The surve found that more than half of this target vote believe marriage should only be permitted between a man and a woman.
Nearly 70 per cent of black voters polled said they believed Mr Cameron’s drive to introduce homosexual marriages was “more about making the Conservative Party look trendy and modern” than his personal convictions.
Mr Cameron may also find his Bill faces opposition in the House of Lords. Peers will vote on the proposals in May before the legislation returns to the Commons for a second vote by MPs.
"Tories prepare for gay marriage vote amid defections and resignations"
As Cameron's aides work to limit dissent in cabinet, constituency leaders and MPs face hundreds of disgruntled members
Conservative MPs and constituency chairmen have been handling hundreds of complaints from grassroots activists angry at David Cameron's desire to legalise gay marriage amid further defections from the party and resignations among rank and file members.
MPs and constituency activists told the Guardian of a grassroots backlash before Tuesday's House of Commons vote on a bill that will allow same-sex marriages on an equal footing with the existing institution.
Downing Street expects that at least 130 of the Tory party's 303 MPs will vote against the prime minister, who has made his support for gay marriage one of the defining features of his modernisation project. The unofficial Tory rebellion will not scupper the measure, which is expected to pass with the near unanimous support of Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs. Downing Street has designated it a free vote to allow MPs to vote with their consciences.
Cameron's aides have been working hard to limit dissent in the cabinet amid signs that Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, could support the measure. Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, is expected to vote against it. Among the Tory MPs opposing the bill are 19 who have signed up to the campaign group Coalition for Marriage, while Liam Fox has described it as "ill thought through and constitutionally wrong".
But Conservative MPs and constituency chairmen are having to handle hundreds of complaints from grassroots activists.
Gavin Barwell, the Conservative MP for Croydon Central, said he had been inundated with more than 200 complaints from constituents since declaring his own support for the bill, while the office of Richard Ottaway, the MP for Croydon South, confirmed that about 10 members have resigned.
"These are the people who have chosen to say something, but there are many subscriptions yet to be renewed this year," said Graham Bass, a councillor in Croydon. "From talking to members, I think there is significant opposition and we are going to see many drift away."
Barwell said many objecting are doing so because of their religious beliefs, but said departures could be outweighed by a greater number of younger people joining as a result of the equal rights law. When Henley-on-Thames town councillor, David Silvester, wrote to Cameron complaining about the bill he said: "If you go ahead with this legislation, you will again experience another tranche of God's displeasure within your ministry."
In the north west, Andrew Kolker, chairman of the Congleton Conservative Association, whose MP Fiona Bruce is voting against gay marriage, said some local supporters have decided to leave the party over Cameron's position.
"We have debated this and the feeling among the grassroots is the government should not be involved," said Kolker. "We have more important things to do and we should be leaving this to the church to sort out. The grassroots is also morally opposed and don't think we should be allowing gay marriage. We have had one or two people who are not very happy and have decided to leave."
In Somerset, the resignation of the chairman of the Somerton and Frome Conservative Association has triggered further departures. Edmund Costelloe said several party members have since copied him into their resignation notes.
"It is the time for subscription renewals and a few have written back to say they are not renewing for their subscriptions," he said. "Most people are just astonished at what Cameron is up to."
Some defectors have been joining fringe parties. Conservative councillors such as Tom and Catherine Bursnall in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead were among those who quit to join UKIP. Sid Cordle, a former Tory councillor in Sheffield and leader of the Christian People's Alliance party said a Conservative party member in London had joined his party and he had also been informed of resignations among Conservatives in Sheffield.
The bill is expected to experience a rough ride in the House of Lords, where more than half of peers are against a new law, according to a recent poll by ComRes. Cameron has given Tory MPs a free vote on the bill but has whipped the programme motion, which limits the amount of time it can be debated on the floor of the house.
"Gay marriage could cost Conservatives power, poll suggests"
Divisions over gay marriage could cost the Conservatives enough votes to force them out of power at the next election, a new poll suggests.
One in five of voters who supported the party in 2010 would “definitely not” do so again if the Coalition presses ahead with the change, it found.
Even though a majority of Conservative voters polled insisted they would stay with the party, the loss of a fifth of its support would be enough to force it out of power.
On Friday night some Conservative MPs described the findings as a “wake up call” to David Cameron, just a few days before the Commons votes for the first time on legalsing gay marriage.
But Tory supporters of the change dismissed the poll, which was commissioned by the Coalition for Marriage, which campaigns against same-sex unions, as “skewed”.
They argued that a bigger long term danger to the party would be to fail to recognize a shift in attitudes in society on issues such as homosexuality.
Ministers have risked inflaming tensions among opponents of same-sex marriage still further by confirming that plans to introduce tax breaks for married couples will not be in next month's Budget. A senior government source said the move - which has been pushed for hard by cabinet ministers and many MPs - would come later in the parliament.
The pollster ComRes asked just over 2,000 voters whether or not they agreed with the statement that they “would have considered voting Conservative at the next election but will definitely not if the Coalition Government legalises same-sex marriage”.
Twenty per cent of those who said they voted Conservative in 2010 agreed that they would not do so again in light of gay marriage.
Just under six out of 10 Conservative voters disagreed with that idea and another fifth of Toy voters say they are unsure as to whether they would support David Cameron again if it becomes law, according to the poll.
In the 2010 electon which produced the first hung parliament since the 1970s, the Conservatives won 10.7 million votes against Labour’s 8.6 million and 6.8 million for the Liberal Democrats.
The poll also found that 62 per cent of voters, of all political stripes, thought that David Cameron’s motivation was more to do with making the party seem “trendy and modern”.
They include just under half of Conservative supporters, seven out of 10 would-be Labour voters and, significantly, 85 per cent of those who now support Ukip.
Tim Loughton, the former Children’s Minister, said: “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, didn’t feature in the manifesto and is now being forced through by the Government that seems to want to pick a fight with its own supporters.”
He said it had now become a “totemic” issue for Conservative activists, despite not having featured until recently.
“[They are saying] where did it come from, this isn’t something we were asked to campaign on and defend in the election,” he said.
“The thing that is really symptomatic of that is when George Osborne said we must support gay marriage to win the next election, or words to that effect.
“The response to that is basically ‘no George, we need to sort the economy out in order to win the next election and gay marriage isn’t up there’.”
David Burrowes, the MP for Enfield in north London, who opposes gay marriage, told the BBC on Saturday morning: "We will see a divided party, a divided society and a divided church and state.
"It damages us all, not just our party. Most importantly, it damages the institution of marriage. We don't have the mandate to re-define marriage."
He said that the economy was still likely to be the key deciding factor in the next general election but that it would be in marginal seats, which were hard won for the party in 2010, in which it would see the greatest weakness.
“It is going to have an impact and a damaging impact,” he said.
“What is clear is that some people aren’t going to forgive the Government, if it gets through parliament.
“Some people say it is a boil that can be lanced and it is not.”
However, Nick Herbert, the former police minister, who leads a Conservative campaign group in favour of gay marriage, said voters often used polls to express dissatisfaction over certain issues without ultimately swaying their votes.
"This is another skewed poll commissioned by anti-gay marriage campaigners,” he said.
“But even these results find that five times as many Conservatives reject the idea that they won't vote Conservative because of gay marriage, and only a small minority claim this would change their vote.”
“All of the independently commissioned polls are showing that a substantial majority of the public are in favour of gay marriage, and that support is increasing at a rapid rate.
“A much bigger danger for the Conservatives is to go the same way as the Republicans in the US, losing by failing to see that society has changed and with it attitudes to gay people.”
Downing Street said Mr Cameron would seek to convince critics on the Tory benches to support the Bill ahead of Tuesday's vote in the Commons.
"It is a free vote but clearly the Prime Minister is in favour of the legislation," a No10 spokesman said.
"He firmly believes that it is the right thing to do and of course he will encourage others to vote for it."
Colin Hart, campaign director for the Coalition for Marriage, described the poll as “absolutely devastating” and “deeply troubling for the PM”.
PM Cameron is really sticking his neck out over this issue. This could cause him his career and leadership. Gay marriage could also end of costing his party the next election because of angry conservatives looking to punish the Party for letting Cameron push it through.
It's amazing how America has always been pegged as socially backwards when it comes to issues like gay marriage, but Britain and France are just as bad.
Do you think the vote is going to legalize gay marriage, or will the vote be nay on gay marriage?
Will Cameron be willing to override the Lords if the Lords defeat gay marriage? How does COmmons override the Lords? I am not sure if Cameron will want to override the Lords especially since most of his party will vote against gay marriage in the Commons? Also, why aren't progay Liberal Democrats rattling more to demand that the vote proceeds?
Brits have always been assholes.
I think it will pass. Labour and the Lib Dems are enough to carry it.
Once it's over it will be forgotten. The Conservatives have bigger problems than backing gay marriage.
It will go through. Most Lib Dems and Labour will vote in favour, and a more realistic estimate of conservatives voting against stands at 130.
Another poll by The Times found only 5% of people said they wouldn't vote Conservative because of this. Some campaigners in local communities also won't volunteer again. On the other hand, the party is now much more appealing to young people and obviously gay people.
It might go through easily in the Lords because they aren't running for elections like those in the Commons.
I'm in the US and don't pretend to know all that much about British politics. It does seem that Cameron sees where society is going and wants his party not to be on the wrong side of the issue.
[quote]“If Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg believe this policy is both the right thing to do and popular why do they not trust the British people and let them have their say?”
Because people are generally stupid. Human rights often need to be implemented by legislation or judicial ruling.
[quote]Brits have always been assholes.
Where is the USA's across the board marriage equality? You guys are still lynching one another up trees!
r13, but the report says 6 out of 10 Lords surveyed are against, and Lords tend to be much more conservative than the Commons. So, I don't see why you guys are assuming the Lords will vote yes.
Odd -- they beat us by years on gays in the military, and yet marriage is a stumbling block?
The Parliament Act isn't a "nuclear option"- it was used in 2000 for equalizing the age of consent for gay men with that of heterosexuals.
It'll be passed, probably with some silly delays.
r17, in several major countries, like Denmark (first to give out almost full spousal rights without the label marriage), the UK, and the US, leaders have been using the civil union idea to act like they're compromising.
But look what's happened - you have three different prime ministers in Denmark, France, and the UK and the President of the US seeing their legacy, where the world is headed, and maybe (especially in the US and UK) taking a political risk for long term political gain..,
Denmark is there now, France is on the way ... the UK looks foolish... if France and the UK get there, the US Supreme Court is going to be under a lot of pressure...
This is why we need parliamentary reform. The Lords are mainly old and out of touch. I read the other day, and I'll try to find a link, that aound 95% of under 40 or possibly 45 are pro marriage equality. It is an inevitability so Cameron is doing the right thing.
62% of people support the government proposal to legalise gay marriage and 31% oppose it.* Even amongst those who vote Conservative support is 52%-42%. And David Cameron is not going to give into backbenchers on this. He's already conceded massively on the EU this year, if he yields again he'll look like an even weaker Prime Minister.
*Some of the opposition actually includes Church of England people who support gay marriage but oppose this specific bill because of the bizzare clause on the CofE
I'm really getting tired of this debate and the way it's been framed as tearing the nation apart. An ICM poll from December found 62% of the population support the bill. The vast majority of MPs also support it. 23 current or former chairman write a letter and it's like Cameron is on a knife edge. The BBC's coverage of this has been utterly appalling and doing little other than giving credence to what is essentially a minority viewpoint.
R20 here. Was looking for link but can't find it but rereading my post it should read 75% not 95%. I would say it is heading towards that though.
Even if the Lords rejects it, it can still be passed on from the House for Royal Assent. So a Lords rejection wouldn't make it any less complicated, but it wouldn't kill it, either.
I don't ever want to hear another Brit lecture us about how provincial and conservative we are.
The Lords isn't an elected house. The Lords is already in danger of being replaced with an elected Senate, so voting against a decision of the Commons will just add more fuel to the fire.
Provincial and conservative mean slight different things, R25. How about we drop the conservative?
[quote]Where is the USA's across the board marriage equality? You guys are still lynching one another up trees!
Oh, dear. You must be a product of the chavtastic British education system.
Instead of insulting each other it might be nice if people could bring something constructive to the discussion.
The bill will pass with ease. The Lords may play silly buggers for a while but either they will pass it or they will be circumvented and it will pass. within two years Britain will have marriage equality. It is not a big enough issue to win or lose elections with.
The bill will pass. A lot of this noise by the Conservative MPs is about money. A lot of their campaign funding comes from right wing groups who are against gay marriage. They have to be seen to be earning that money. They are trying to more outrageous than each other to get coverage and screen time.
If anything, I think Cameron actively wants some of his crazy right-wingers to leave the party. They cause him no end of problems - specifically with trying to get votes from anyone under 50. If the Tories stay right wing on social issues, the party is dead as an electable party. Although it might be already given it could not get a majority in the middle of a recession against a massively unpopular government.
Primate braced for gay marriage row
Feb 4 2013
The new Archbishop of Canterbury is ready to reveal he believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Ahead of the first parliamentary vote on the reforms, the Rt Rev Justin Welby is prepared to face questions about the highly divisive issue.
Tories have been plunged into deep unrest by the proposals, which David Cameron has personally championed.
The Prime Minister is facing the prospect of some 180 members of his party, including a significant number of senior figures, opposing or abstaining in a vote on the changes on Tuesday. He is expected to attempt to talk to his MPs in the hope of winning their support, according to The Times.
Bishop Welby is set to be formally confirmed in his new role at a ceremony in St Paul's Cathedral. A source told the Daily Telegraph: "He will say that marriage is between a man and a woman, and always has been."
Lambeth Palace was keen to stress the view was standard Church of England policy and insisted the Archbishop was not planning to wade into the row by making any formal statements, but was simply ready to respond to any questions he was asked on the issue.
Tory activists claimed on Sunday they felt "a sense of betrayal" over the Prime Minister's "bulldozed-through" reforms and handed in a letter to No 10 urging Mr Cameron to rethink the plans.
Geoffrey Vero, chairman of the Conservative association in Surrey Heath where Education Secretary Michael Gove is MP, warned the move "may seriously affect David's opportunity to get re-elected at 2015".
But human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said Tory opponents did not represent most Conservative supporters. He added: "Opposition to equal marriage by some Conservatives is reviving the 'nasty party' image and turning off voters. It undermines David Cameron's attempt to detoxify the Tory brand and present a more caring, compassionate Conservatism.
"The Prime Minister's backing for marriage equality is making many voters more sympathetic to the Conservatives. The anti-gay marriage push by backbench rebels is likely to drive crucial centre-ground swing voters away. They will decide the next election, not anti-gay Conservative MPs and constituency associations."
r29, within two years? uh, could they like do better than taking two years to make a law effective.
The way they keep delaying things is not a good sign. Maybe if the lazy UK gays would fight harder, they would get gay marriage passed.
It's not about gay marriage. That will pass, no problem. It's about what it's doing to the Tory party.
Cameron has been way behind in the polls for months. Nobody thinks he'll have a second term. Plus, he's stupidly promised a referendum on Europe in his 2nd term which nobody really wants so he's done himself no favours there. There is no viable conservative to challenge him for the leadership and he didn't really "win" the last election anyway but is simply leading the coalition.
Nice try interpreting British politics, OP. Next time don't rely on the red tops.
Also, we've had civil partnerships since 2005, with full and equal rights under the law, we had gay adoption even before that (including gay single parents) and gays in our military before that, since the late '90s. The new legislation is primarily to change the definition of marriage, finishing what Labour began years ago. Britain has been very progressive on these issues. Immigration rights for unmarried partners proceeded all that 15 years ago.
Do pro-gay people in the UK really want marriage equality? Do they ever think about organizing and actually engaging in public protests and activism? The other side sure does a great job of grabbing public attention and magnifying their viewpoint in the media.
The majority of gay Brits screamed for years that domestic partnerships were enough. 'We get the same rights as a married couple. It's just a different word.' Britain saw what happened in NYC, and that's where the demand for 'marriage' came about. This has been discussed in the media for some time now. The coverage in the UK was extensive, and NYC is a big deal with Brits, especially the younger ones.
Americans are the ones who are not satisfied with 'separate but equal.' You are never going to see a mass support for that. Places like Britain never understood the problem with the concept.
Americans fought for civil rights. Brits celebrate Stonewall, which, of course, happened in America. They never had their own 'Stonewall.' They haven't fought upheavals like Americans. America's had massive civil rights battles for centuries unlike most of Europe.
Britain really needs an ACLU. The country does naively believe in and relies on the government. They have been brainwashed with this 'if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about,' when it comes to matters such as government surveillance. They just don't understand. They give into things too quickly, and this is how it is with civil rights. It's just a different mindset. Different countries have grown in different climates, which is why 'separate but equal' never sparked outraged with them. They never had a Rosa Parks, or Martin Luther King, nor civil rights activists murdered one after the next. That's the irony here. America is much more accustomed to the civil rights debates, battles, and what is fair and what isn't, but the way the system works makes it difficult to get anything passed quickly.
[quote]If the Tories stay right wing on social issues, the party is dead as an electable party.
Britain is more right-wing today, honey. They hate "political correctness," and immigration. Screaming that something is too "PC" is a broken record with them.
Labour will never be elected for at least a decade. They are despised beyond belief. Who else is going to take over? Lib Dems? Good luck.
The Anglican Church will welcome its new leader today with a ceremony in St Paul’s that officially marks Justin Welby’s election to Archbishop of Canterbury.
The former Bishop of Durham, a former oil executive who gave up a lucrative career to become a man of the cloth, starts at noon and marks the moment where he officially takes up his new role as the leader of the world’s 77million Anglicans.
His election comes at a time of huge divisions within the Anglican Church – both at home and abroad – over the role of women clergy and the acceptance of gay marriages.
Speculation has risen in recent days that Archbishop Welby will use today’s ceremony to restate the church’s opposition to the government’s gay marriage proposals. Welby himself comes from a gently conservative evangelical background and is known to favour the church’s official teaching that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. It is likely that any statement he makes will simply reassert the church’s already well known opposition to gay marriage.
Asked for the PM's response to reports of the Archbishop's views, Mr Cameron's official spokesman said: "The point the Prime Minister would make is that this legislation is about what goes on in register offices, not churches.
"With regard to churches and faith organisations, the Bill puts in the quadruple lock of protections.
"Our view is that the provisions in the Bill do provide the comprehensive safeguards that religious organisations will want."
The issue will continue to be a thorny one for the Eton educated primate because he heads a global communion of believers with wildly different views on same sex relationships. In the “Global South”- Anglican dioceses in Africa, Latin America and Asia – opposition to and at times outward discrimination against gay men and women is commonplace from church leaders.
Back in Britain, socially conservative evangelicals are bitterly opposed to gay marriage and women bishops but many ordinary pew members are highly supportive of the government’s plans to allow gay couples the same marriage rights as straight people.
[quote]Gay marriage could be dead at this point in Britain. This is massive. Cameron is never going to survive regardless of the outcome.
Why would the British Conservative Party be expected to pass gay marriage? I would assume that's something the Labor Party would do.
[quote]Labour will never be elected for at least a decade. They are despised beyond belief.
Why? Are you saying the UK is only going to vote for the Conservatives for the next several elections? It's going to be like the Thatcher years again?
It's time the straights got some of their own medicine. I wish gay people could just stand together, mobilise, take to the streets and DEMAND equality. Strike, stop paying taxes for straight children to be educated, just stop being abused by these fucking bigots. I'd be prepared to go to jail to make a point. I'm tired of this bullshit about being treated like a subhuman but expected to pay taxes. We're gutless wonders, all of us.
Why aren't the pro-gay British more vocal and publicly activists? Do British progressives know anything about public protests and rallies? Who is the sane spokesman for equality there? Peter Tatchell is a radical joke.
By Andrew Osborn
LONDON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to see off a rebellion within his ruling Conservative party on Tuesday over his government's plans to legalise gay marriage, thanks to support from political rivals.
But though parliament is likely to vote to give the draft law its initial approval, more than 100 of Cameron's 303 Conservative lawmakers are expected to vote against it on what they say are moral grounds.
Behind in the polls, Cameron is trying to perform a tricky, and some analysts believe, impossible balancing act: to reconcile his desire to show his party is progressive with the views of many of those inside it uncomfortable with such reform.
Amid growing talk of a possible leadership challenge against him, many Conservative lawmakers say they feel Cameron is not a real conservative and is sacrificing what were once core party values on the altar of populism.
"He hasn't got a lot of political capital left in the bank," Stewart Jackson, a Conservative MP who opposes the gay marriage bill, told Reuters. "There is only so much the Conservative party is going to take. He has to deliver some authentic Conservative policies very soon."
Such talk is rife among some Conservative lawmakers and follows a spate of articles in the British press in which a handful of MPs raised the possibility of replacing Cameron with someone else, a prospect most commentators regard as far-fetched before the next election in 2015.
Their grievances are numerous: that Cameron is allegedly "arrogant", that he is too fond of the European Union for their liking, that the party's policies are diluted by its coalition partner because Cameron failed to win the last election outright, and a nagging fear that he will not win the next one.
Polls show public opinion is on Cameron's side this time - a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times on Sunday showed 55 percent favoured legalising gay marriage, while 36 percent opposed it.
However, the same poll showed the issue was not one that concerned most voters, placing only 12th in a list of their top 15 priorities ahead of the next election.
The new law proposes legalising same-sex marriage in England and Wales in 2014. It would also allow civil partners to convert their partnerships into marriages.
Gay marriage supporters say while existing civil partnerships for same-sex couples afford the same legal rights as marriage, the distinction implies they are inferior.
Cameron himself said two months ago: "I'm a massive supporter of marriage and I don't want gay people to be excluded from a great institution."
Faced with strong opposition from the Anglican and Catholic churches, the new law would not force them to conduct gay marriages, but critics say gay people may launch legal challenges.
Tuesday's vote in the lower house of parliament, the House of Commons, will be "free", meaning MPs from across the political spectrum will be able to vote according to their conscience rather than under party orders.
Supported by Cameron's junior coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats, and by the opposition Labour party, the legislation is months and several stages away from becoming law even, if as expected, it is approved on Tuesday.
Ahead of the vote, Conservative party workers urged Cameron to delay the vote, warning the issue could weaken the party and harm his chances of re-election.
"It's divisive in the sense that we didn't campaign in the (2010) election on this issue," David Burrowes, another Conservative lawmaker, told Reuters.
"There are so many other issues we should be concerned about at the moment," he said, adding that dealing with the anaemic economy and overhauling its welfare system should take priority.
Iain Dale, a prominent gay radio presenter and conservative blogger, said he thought Cameron was right to ignore what he called "a vocal section of the Conservative party".
"Sometimes political leaders have to lead, rather than follow, and that is what David Cameron has done here," he wrote on his blog. "Making policy based just on party members' opinions (in any party) is often a mistake."
In a phone interview, Dale said he thought "a massive majority" would vote in favour of the new law, saying he didn't think the rebellion would damage Cameron in the long-term.
Others think the fallout could be more corrosive.
Peter Kellner, president of pollster YouGov, said he felt the rebellion would hurt the Conservative brand and its electoral chances with it.
"For Cameron, gay marriage is part of his attempt to persuade the voters that his party belongs to modern, 21st century Britain," he wrote on the pollster's site.
"But the divisions that the gay marriages bill has unleashed ... threaten to send an altogether different message: that the Tories are divided, out of touch and prone to quarrel over issues of little concern to most voters."
With the next election still two-and-a-half years distant, there is also a risk that internal party splits over issues like gay marriage could turn what for now is only talk of a possible leadership challenge into the real thing.
"This comes at a difficult time for the prime minister," said Jackson, the Conservative MP. "There are a lot of people who find him aloof and haughty and don't like his social liberal views. People in the parliamentary party are wondering why he has got us into this position." (Editing by Sophie Hares)
These debates are always ugly and contentious. Even Canada got uncharacteristically chippy during the process.
Once it's the law of the land, everybody adjusts, nobody notices, and life goes on. If Cameron goes down in the next election it won't be because of gay marriage. Few parties are as skilled at regicide at the British Conservatives. The knifed Thatcher, for God's sake, and nobody was a more 'authentic Conservative' than the Iron Lady.
The Conservatives are caught in an identity crisis of transition. Either they're going to remain the nasty party and be set back or they move toward the sensible party Cameron is trying to create and probably govern.
iT'S because of the mUSLIMS
[quote]Why aren't the pro-gay British more vocal and publicly activists? Do British progressives know anything about public protests and rallies? Who is the sane spokesman for equality there?
That's what I'm wondering. You never read articles or see pictures of gay rights activists protesting there like gays in France or America. Guess all the gays in Britain are too busy being passed out drunk since they're a bunch of alcoholics in that country.
Lazy ass UK gay movement.
At best, I hear lukewarm support marriage equality in the UK. Where are the activist groups over there to fight this battle in the media and society? In the US, you would have both gay groups and general progressive groups like the ACLU answering every rightwing move and publicity stunt. It seems like UK gays are mighty apathetic.
R37 is a clueless throwback. Firstly, the Conservatives didn't even win the last election so they had to make a pact with the Lib Dems to form a coalition. That's not winning.
Secondly, Labour has been ahead in the polls for almost 16 months now, by as much as 8 points or more. Even the Lib Dems can't win a by-election.
As for all this trolling about British activists, it should be said that we have activists for human rights and are not marginalised by one issue but rather enjoy majority support and activism through a variety of organisations that promote human rights. The British don't need to be more like Americans; we have more civil rights than you have and in a more timely manner - you don't have federal marriage rights, you don't have immigration rights, etc. You should worry more about yourselves. Where you had Stonewall, we had vocal opposition to Section 28. There was a lot more activism here in the '90s but our civil rights issues are resolved now as we wait for the definition of marriage to change. I don't know what you're so worried about. We are part of the mainstream, we are always included in the conversation. We have gay everything here and a person's sexual orientation is unlikely to hold them back from anything. And no, Peter Tatchell is not a joke. Whatever gave you that idea, Anti-Brit Troll?
What's interesting is that apparently Americans can only see other cultures in comparison to their own, even though their deceiving themselves about the strength of their own democracy, assertion of freedom and liberty, and their place in the world. In your country, even if you achieve federal marriage equality half the nation will still campaign to take those rights away from you for the next 30 or 40 years. In Britain, it will be settled and we will move on. Good luck to you all.
As for the point that British gays have never fought "battles", how is it then that we have more rights on a national level than gays in the US can dream of and will shortly have full marriage? We've done it by winning things in stages - getting civil partnerships was a necessary staging post for getting gay marriage.
There is no point fighting battles unless you win. The only battle really worth fighting is for young people to grow up thinking gay is normal and for the majority to reject the bizarre hater view of life. So, if we have been living our lives just as ourselves, fully out and pretty much being accepted, that is more effective a weapon in this struggle than any amount of shouting, marches or placards. Because the politicians have to follow the trend public opinion. The straights may not care very much about this issue in general but most are at least at the "I don't see why not" or "it doesn't effect me and I don't care". However a large majority strongly reject and are repelled by the crazy right wing hate views on show from the mad Tories and the DUP.
Legal gay sex: check. Sexuality a protected characteristic for discrimination laws: check, Equality of age of consent: check, gays in the miliary: check and now we are 75% of the way there on gay marriage. That is massively more successful than what the US has achieved.
I'm sure the resident Stormfront 'mos who never miss an opportunity to blame immigrants for anything happening in Europe, will attempt to blame this one on them, too.
[bold] Same Sex Marriage Bill storms through House of Commons [/bold]
‘Truly historic step forward’ passed by 400 to 175 votes
MPs have voted by a majority of 225 in favour of the new Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. The Bill will extend the legal form of marriage to lesbian, gay and bisexual people and permit religious denominations to celebrate such marriages should they wish.
Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill said: ‘As the last piece of the legislative jigsaw providing equality for gay people in Britain, this is a truly historic step forward. We’re absolutely delighted that MPs have demonstrated so overwhelmingly that they’re in touch with the twenty-first century.
‘We anticipate, as always, a tough battle in the House of Lords. Happily, the size of the Commons majority seen tonight – much larger than for most normal Government business – will make it very difficult for peers to suggest that the Bill should be rejected.
‘Most people in Britain support equal marriage and will be delighted that we’re now a step closer to it. We’re grateful to the thousands of Stonewall supporters, many of them straight, who played a big part by contacting their MPs in support.'
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill will now go into Commons Committee Stage and is likely to progress to the House of Lords after the Queen’s Speech, expected in early May.
YouGov polling for Stonewall shows that 71% of people in Britain support equal marriage. This figure rises to 82% of those under the age of 50. To find out more about Stonewall's campaign for equal marriage, visit www.stonewall.org.uk/marriage.
Yeah, who are they going to vote for? Aren't the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems all hated?
R36, believe it or not, your country, and the state of New York, are not the big influence on the UK and actually have very little influence on the gay marriage debate in Europe. It's what's going on in other European countries that are more of an influence. Yes, some stupid Brits were blabbing on about how civil partnerships were all we needed, but this was a few years ago when even concepts such as civil partnerships were new and Barack Obama was saying he believed marriage should only be between a man and a woman because "God is in the mix".
Yet, rather than being so backwards, the UK parliament has just passed gay marriage legislation - brought in by a conservative government. And, despite vociferous opposition from some of the more neanderthal members of the Tory party, the government still pushed ahead with the vote.
(Yes, the Lib Dems are also in the government, but it was the Tories that pushed it and Cameron made it policy before the election.)
The genius at r46 wrote: "Lazy ass UK gay movement."
Yeah, with gay marriage, gay adoption, free gay fertility treatment, full anti-discrimination legislation (no nasty hotel-owners anywhere in the country can throw us out), full labour protection for LGBT people, out gays in the army years before in the US, out gays in the police, etc. etc.
Sure, the UK gay movement has no achievments to show for itself!
Boris Johnson is going to be the next PM.
And yes the UK is conservative & has been for some time.
How is Boris Johnson going to be the next PM, r54? He isn't even in parliament, how is he going to overthrow Cameron and take his place?
The conservative UK has just passed gay marriage.
[quote]What's interesting is that apparently Americans can only see other cultures in comparison to their own
Yes, this is an affliction peculiar to Americans only.
[quote]I'm sure the resident Stormfront 'mos who never miss an opportunity to blame immigrants for anything happening in Europe, will attempt to blame this one on them, too.
In that case, the resident Stormfront 'mo is even dumber than we all thought. The immigrants from Africa an the Middle East are with him on this one. They drinketh from the same cup.
Could a UK poster comment on Cameron's motivations for making this part of Tory policy?
R54 I just snorted laughing. Before you tell people what is going to happen in their own country I suggest you have some understanding of their political process. As R55 said Bojo isn't even an MP. so you think he is going to resign as Lord Mayor, get elected to parliament and then stage of vote of no confidence thus overthrowing current leader to become PM. If this did happen the likelihood is the Tories will then be defeated in the next election two years or so from now.
Why did this thread start out with a whole bunch of doom and gloom articles when it all worked out fine?
Because he believes marriage is a positive institution which should be open to all. Cynicism aside I've actually spoken to him about this and I believe he seriously believes this.
Because Brits didn't post the doom and gloom articles R59. We know which papers support which political and social viewpoints.
That's good to know, R60.
R58, don't forget: Boris also first has to kill a sitting MP in a safe Tory seat to force a by-election and then make sure he is chosen as the candidate for that seat.
R57, I think he really believes in the issue and he wants to shift the image of the Conservative party from being social reactionaries to "flexible, open and modern". Also because much of his political ideology is about individualism and liberalism and he wants to identify with the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands.
R63 I was giving BJ the benefit of the doubt that somebody would resign or die of natural causes in a nice safe Tory seat to allow him to win the by-election.
Bloody hell, I thought there was only one gay in the village!
Exactly R58. Unlike in the States where some idiot like Herman Cain can sit atop the primary polls for the party's presidential nomination or someone like Palin can capture the political imagination on nothing, in the UK, regardless of party affiliation, no would ever pay attention to such a bounder.
That's what I mean by Americans inability to see other cultures except through the prism of their own; they can't imagine that everybody else doesn't want to be them and do what they do. They can't accept that they aren't leading the world on any issue.
r66, you do realize Massachusetts will have had same-sex marriage over a year before the UK has it? You do realize that marriage in the US is a state issue, not primarily a federal issue?
[quote]That's what I mean by Americans inability to see other cultures except through the prism of their own; they can't imagine that everybody else doesn't want to be them and do what they do.
Yes, this is an affliction peculiar to Americans only.
Yes R67, as an American, I'm aware of that. What's your point?
[quote]You do realize that marriage in the US is a state issue, not primarily a federal issue?
The RIGHT to marriage is a U.S. federal issue because it involves citizens' rights and federal guarantees of those rights.
The Marriage Equality bill has passed the House of Commoners, er... Commons.
On Tuesday a huge majority of MPs lent their support to gay marriage. However those campaigning against the Bill admit only that they lost that battle, not the war.
Following the 400 to 175 Commons vote, several overseas news organisations including CNN and Al Jazeera were quick to report that Britain had made it legal for gay people to marry. But the Bill is still a bill. And is not yet law.
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill will next be examined line by line by a committee of MPs. Opponents, including the Coalition for Marriage (C4M) campaign group, hope to regroup after the second reading retreat and substantially change the legislation at this stage with a view to eventually killing it.
"Tuesday was Dunkirk," a C4M spokesman told the Huffington Post UK. "There will be lots of amendments given the strength of the rebellion."
The cross-party committee, which includes many pro-gay marriage MPs such as Labour’s Chris Bryant and shadow equalities minister Kate Green, also includes leading anti-gay marriage Conservatives David Burrowes and Tim Loughton.
Green expects MPs to offer amendments designed to ensure the European Court can not force a religious body to conduct a same-sex marriage and to allow teachers to refuse to teach gay marriage if it conflicts with their religious beliefs. But she is also wary of anti-gay marriage MPs attempting to blow the Bill up in committee.
"There is real danger of people looking for an opportunity wreck it," she told HuffPost UK.
And Lib Dem Julian Huppert, who is supporting an amendment to expand civil partnerships to include mixed-sex couples, says he expects many "dinosaur" Tories to try and wreck the Bill.
Civil partnerships for heterosexual couples is also being pushed by some anti-gay marriage MPs. But this is seen as an attempt by them to restrict marriage to religious ceremonies while the state just conducts civil partnerships.
"What we want is equality, marriage should be open to people regardless of their gender," Huppert said. "Some old school Tories are mostly trying to cause trouble and wanttot do things from stop marriages from happening."
Opponents of the Bill are also hopeful it will get bogged down in the House of Lords if it gets out of the Commons.
However as Paul Waugh at Politics Home and Isabel Hardman at the Spectator have pointed out, the arithmetic and experience of past votes appear to scupper the notion that the red benches are stuffed with anti-gay peers.
The 221 Labour peers and 90 Lib Dems combined easily outnumber the 213 Conservatives, even if all the Tories decided to vote against the Bill. Labour expects the dissent on its benches in the Lords to be small, similar to that in the Commons, where 22 Labour MPs voted against the Bill. Throw in the majority of the 178 cross bench peers and there appears to be a progressive majority in the upper House.
But C4M questions how well the Labour and Lib Dem leaderships know the minds of their own peers – expecting their Lordships to take issue with the quality of the legislation as well as the principle of gay marriage. "It is rushed legislation that is full of holes," a spokesperson said.
If last Tuesday was Dunkirk, anti-gay marriage MPs, peers and campaign groups see next Tuesday, the first day of committee stage, as D-Day.
Give it a rest, r72. Both the UK and France will have passed full gay marriage in a few weeks. Why can your brain not comprehend that?
R73 It might be a few months in the UK but it will pass.
Few months, few weeks, whatever the normal length of time for the passage of a bill is. The idiot who keeps posting tabloid scare stories is just an idiot, an idiot with dishonest motives.
It's hilarious... the papers were full of coverage and the day after, nothing.
England has not fallen.
Though Camilla Parker Bowle's son Tom told an interviewer defenders of traditional marriage are 'rabble.'
"Oh my God. I'm back. I'm home. All the time, it was... We finally really did it ... You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!"
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