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UK Conservative Party Bitterly Divided Over 'Gay Marriage'

Prime Minister Cameron under pressure to scrap plans following party unrest

In response to: Washington Post 30.03.12 "British Conservatives Lead Charge for Gay Marriage"

Contact: Ben Harris, chairman@bowgroup.org; Larry Jacobs, 815-222-2490

MEDIA ADVISORY, April 18, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- A recent poll conducted by UK polling company ComRes found that only 41% of Conservative Members of Parliament support the British Prime Minister's plans to adopt "gay marriage" across the UK, as David Cameron comes under increasing pressure from his party to shelve the proposals.

Ben Harris, Chairman of the Bow Group, the UK's oldest Conservative Think Tank, commented, "What we are seeing here is genuine fatigue among a party rank and file, disappointed both at the suggested policy itself, and the reasons behind it. The UK already has a system of "civil partnership" for homosexuals which carries the same legal status as marriage before the state. The adoption of additional legislation for "gay marriage" in addition to civil partnership would create an illogical and opaque structure that offers only homosexuals the option of civil union or gay marriage, both before the state with no discernible difference between the legal (or religious) status of either.

The concern within the Conservative party is that this is a poorly thought out policy designed to cynically win support in the short term in the homosexual community, without due care and consideration to the existing institution of marriage in Britain. What should be of greater concern to David Cameron in addition to the lack of support for this policy he has among his own MPs, is that both ComRes and UK Sky News found in surveys that 70 per cent of respondents among the UK public agreed with the proposition that marriage should remain a 'life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman only.'"

As recently as 2003 David Cameron voted, with the Conservative Party, to keep the positive teaching of homosexuality in schools illegal, but since his election as Prime Minister in 2010 he has shown strong signs that he wishes to increase Conservative support in the homosexual community, announcing at a 2009 conference speech "I don't support gay marriage despite being a Conservative, I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative." 

David Burrowes, a Conservative MP who has been a prominent opponent of the plans, said that "The strength of opposition in some quarters appeared to have taken UK government ministers by surprise."  He commented, "I think this fairly reflects the fact that there is a significant number of Members of Parliament, particularly Conservative Members of Parliament, who are concerned about whether we should legislate on marriage."

The Bow Group is the oldest - and one of the most influential - centre-right Think-Tanks in Britain. The Group exists to develop policy, publish research and stimulate debate within the Conservative Party. It has no corporate view, but represents all strands of Conservative opinion.  For more information please contact: chairman@bowgroup.org, or visit www.bowgroup.org.

To schedule an interview with Ben Harris contact Larry Jacobs, Managing Director of the World Congress of Families at 1-815-222-2490.