UK: Cameron May Face Leadership Challenge Over Marriage Equality Vote

Written by scott on February 4th, 2013

Parliament, LondonUnited Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron is going out on a limb for marriage equality, and some members of his party want to saw it off, Reuters reports:

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.”

In related news, The Independent reports that a Shropshire MP is against marriage equality, even though his constituents support it:

But even in this little corner of middle England (Mr Paterson’s constituency, North Shropshire, has voted Tory every time it has been asked since 1832), it is near impossible to find a voice that agrees with him. And not St Alkmund’s vicar, for a start. “I haven’t discussed it with local people, so I only speak for myself, but I would say yes,” Canon Judy Hunt told The Independent. “I would like to affirm stable gay relationships. Gay couples are right to want to get married in church.”

As promised, the new Archbishop of Canterbury chimed in today against marriage equality, The Independent reports:

“I have no idea how the vote will go, so I am not going to get into hypothetical questions,” he said. “I stand, as I have always stood over the last few months, with the statement I made at the announcement of my appointment, which is that I support the Church of England’s position on this. We have made many statements about this and I stick with that.”

Namely that they are against it.

And Pink News reports that Liberal Democrat MP John Pugh will vote against the bill:

Mr Pugh, MP for Southport, wrote in a letter to constituents posted on his website that he had worried about choosing between his Roman Catholic Church and his political party, but said: “My fundamental objection against the government’s proposal is that it achieves none of its objectives and weakens the link between marriage and the family.”

Pink News reports that Tory MP Sir Peter Bottomley thinks that marriage equality is no big deal:

Sir Peter continued: “Conservatives believe in fairness, we now understand that to move from a civil partnership to civil marriage is to allow the words ‘I will’ at the ceremony, with the registrar. It’s not going to be a big deal. So I think somehow, whether it’s Conservative MPs, whether it’s campaigners, whether it’s some of the media, they’ve said ‘Oh, there’s sex in this, let’s give it more prominence than it deserves’.

Pink News says that another Tory MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg, says’s he’s been whipped into marriage equality opposition by the Catholic Church (gotta love that imagery):

MP Jacob Rees-Mogg spoke on Radio 4′s Westminster Hour on Sunday. He said of the same-sex marriage bill vote this Tuesday: “I’m not under any pressure. I’m a Roman Catholic and have made it clear to my constituents that in this sort of matter I take my whip from the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church rather than the Whip’s Office.”

Labour Leader Ed Milliband explains why he’s voting for marriage equality to Pink News:

“I’ll be voting for equal marriage in the House of Commons and I’ll be doing so proudly. I will be doing so in a proud Labour tradition which saw us repeal Section 28, equalise the age of consent, introduce new rules on adoption and introduce civil partnerships. I’ll be voting for equal marriage for a very simple reason: I don’t think that the person you love should determine the rights you have. That’s why I’ll be voting for equal marriage, along with the rest of the shadow cabinet.”

And marriage equality activist Peter Tatchell chimes in too at Pink News:

In a democratic society, everyone should be equal before the law. The Tory rebels want to maintain discrimination against same-sex couples. They make the Conservatives look bigoted and intolerant. Conservatives who oppose gay marriage do not represent most Tory supporters. An ICM poll in December 2012 found that same-sex marriage is supported by 52% of people who voted Conservative at the last election.

We’ll see what happens tomorrow!


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