Fifty eight MPs and peers have signed an open letter opposing the government’s plans to introduce same-sex marriage legislation.
Thirty five Tory MPs and other parliamentarians in a cross-party alliance have put their names to the letter which was published in The Telegraph.
The Coalition has planned to introduce legislation to allow religious gay marriage before the next election in 2015. The Labour Party has given its support but the open letter claims the government has no mandate to redefine marriage. The signatories said:
“At the last election, none of the three main parties stood on a platform to redefine marriage. It was not contained in any of their manifestos, nor did it feature in the Coalition’s Programme for Government.”
The letter continued:
“These facts alone should have led to extreme caution on the part of those calling for this change to be made.”
The letter also states that the views of many people on gay marriage are being ignored by the Coalition:
“…the government is ignoring the overwhelming public response against the plans.”
Signatories to the letter include former Conservative leadership candidate David Davis, ex-ministers Tim Loughton, Sir Gerald Howarth and Sir Jim Paice, and the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey.
A number of MPs who support gay marriage recently launched a campaign group called Freedom to Marry. Among the 19 senior figures to join, names include London Mayor Boris Johnson, Education Secretary Michael Gove, Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt and leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davison.