Daily Mail Editorial
After decades of Tory rifts over matters such as Europe and the economy, David Cameron has achieved a remarkable feat.
He has discovered an entirely new way of splitting his party from top to bottom.
Until a few months ago, same-sex marriage didn't feature on the agenda of anyone but a handful of militants.
There was no clamour for it from the public, straight or gay. At the last election, no major party mentioned the subject in its manifesto.
Even now, only seven per cent of voters say it is 'important'.
Yet in the depths of the worst economic crisis in living memory, the Prime Minister has pushed this fringe obsession to the top of his programme for government.
In so doing, he has caused consternation among Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders. Some 40,000 teachers have said they'd rather face disciplinary action than give lessons about same-sex marriage.
Meanwhile, he has dismayed traditional Conservative supporters, baffled by what many see as a distinctly unTory attempt to legislate in defiance of the facts of life.
Indeed, as MPs prepare to vote on gay marriage today – with as many as 180 Tories harbouring grave qualms over the policy – the party has seldom looked more divided or unhappy.
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