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Government set to introduce ‘Equal Civil Marriage’ Bill next week

NB:  A guide to Parliamentary procedure may be read here

From Christian Concern

The Government is expected to announce legislation for 'Equal Civil Marriage' next week. It will also publish results of its recent 'Consultation' on the issue. It is unlikely that there will be any formal debate on the Bill until the New Year.

There is increasing speculation that the Conservatives want to fast track legislation for same-sex 'marriage' in light of the growing opposition to the plans amongst the public and Conservative MPs and so as to bury the issue well before the 2015 General Election campaign.

Given the number of Conservative MPs opposed to the changes, any Bill is only likely to succeed if supported by Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs – something that would cause political embarrassment for the Prime Minister.

Writing recently the Chancellor, George Osborne, suggested that pushing policies such as same-sex 'marriage' was important for the Conservatives' election success. However, a recent ComRes poll indicated that 18% are less likely to vote Conservative as a result of the plans with only 7% more likely to do so.

It is important that the Conservative Party recognises that this move is not a vote winner but a vote loser. It is also important that MPs understand the full implications of changing the definition of marriage and are urged to vote against it.

•Please contact Lynton Crosby, the Conservatives' recently hired election strategist. Send an email marked for his attention to this address: [email protected].  A suggestion of what to say is suggested below (i).

•Please also contact your MP and tell them about the issues at stake. If you have a Conservative MP, a suggested letter is below (ii).  If your MP is not a Conservative, a suggestion of what to say is also below (iii).

• For the sake of our society, please pray that these destructive social changes are not successful.

Letter suggestions

(i)  Dear Mr Crosby

Congratulations on your appointment as election strategist for the Conservative Party.

I am very concerned by reports that the Government will introduce legislation for ‘Equal Civil Marriage’ in the next few days. I believe that this move will seriously damage the Conservatives’ prospects at the 2015 General Election.

As you may know, over 600,000 people have now signed a petition opposing the plans whilst more than 100 Conservative MPs are reported to be against the proposals, raising the prospect of significant political embarrassment in having to rely on Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs to push the changes through.

Recent polling suggests growing opposition to same-sex ‘marriage’ amongst the public – and a ComRes poll last month indicated that those less likely to vote Conservative as a result of this policy outnumbered those more likely to do so by more than two to one.

Amongst disillusioned Liberal Democrat voters (i.e. those that voted LibDem in 2010 but wouldn’t do so today) 18% are less likely to vote Conservative as a result of this policy compared to only 6% who are more likely to do so. Amongst disillusioned Conservative voters 36% are less likely to vote Conservative compared to only 4% that are more likely to do so.

I believe that public opinion will shift further, as people hear and understand more fully the implications of these changes, something that is likely to happen if the issue receives Parliamentary time.

I would urge you to advise the Conservative leadership to abandon these controversial and divisive proposals that are unpopular with the Conservative core vote and were not contained in the party’s Election Manifesto.

Yours sincerely


(ii)  Dear [MP],
 
I am very concerned by reports that the Government plans to introduce an ‘Equal Civil Marriage’ Bill to Parliament in the next few days.

Such legislation would not only radically alter the institution of marriage but also the future shape of our society. These plans are all the more concerning in light of recent reports of strong opposition to redefining marriage, both among Conservative MPs and the public.

Over 600,000 people have now signed a petition opposing the plans and recent ComRes polling suggests that 62% of British adults believe that ‘marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long, exclusive commitment between a man and a woman’, with only 28% disagreeing.

More than 100 Conservative MPs are also reported to be against the proposals, raising the prospect of significant political embarrassment for the Prime Minister in having to rely on Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs to push the changes through. Recent ComRes polling indicates that 18% of adults are less likely to vote Conservative as a result of this policy, whereas only 7% are more likely to do so.

I am concerned by speculation that, in light of growing opposition amongst the public and Conservative MPs and a desire to ‘bury’ the matter well ahead of the General Election campaign, the Conservative leadership is planning to fast-track the plans for political reasons, curtailing proper debate of what is a highly significant and divisive proposal. This is particularly concerning given indications that people’s views on the plans change as they understand the implications more fully.

I should be grateful if you could investigate as a matter of urgency what the Government is proposing and what steps it will take to ensure extensive Parliamentary debate and public scrutiny of these controversial plans.

Yours sincerely,



(iii)  Dear [MP],

I am very concerned by reports that the Government plans to introduce an ‘Equal Civil Marriage’ Bill to Parliament in the next few days.

Such legislation would not only radically alter the institution of marriage but also the future shape of our society. These plans are all the more concerning in light of recent reports of strong opposition to redefining marriage, both among Conservative MPs and the public.

Over 600,000 people have now signed a petition opposing the plans and recent ComRes polling suggests that 62% of British adults believe that ‘marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long, exclusive commitment between a man and a woman’, with only 28% disagreeing.

I am concerned by speculation that, in light of growing opposition amongst the public and Conservative MPs and a desire to ‘bury’ the matter well ahead of the General Election campaign, the Conservative leadership is planning to fast-track the plans for political reasons, curtailing proper debate of what is a highly significant and divisive proposal. This is particularly concerning given indications that people’s views on the plans change as they understand the implications more fully.

I should be grateful if you could investigate as a matter of urgency what the Government is proposing and what steps it will take to ensure extensive Parliamentary debate and public scrutiny of these controversial plans.

Yours sincerely,
 


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