A number of Tory right-wingers have come out in favour of gay marriage legislation, causing anger among grassroots party members who remain ‘fundamentally opposed’.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has indicated he will vote in favour of same-sex marriage in a House of Commons vote next week, despite being one of his party’s most senior right-wingers. Baroness Warsi has expressed concern about gay marriage in the past, but she has also revealed she will back the legislation championed by David Cameron.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith is expected to abstain from the vote rather than vote against gay marriage, according to friends. Number Ten sources suggest that Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is the most opposed member of the current Cabinet.
Meanwhile, Lavinia Sealy, the Conservative chair of Surrey County Council, said she was “fundamentally opposed” to gay marriage and thought it would be bad for families and children. Talking to Paul Deach of the Surrey Heath Residents Network, she said:
“It is not a question of religion, it is a question of our natural beings. It’s a question of being educated about our whole humanity, the history of humanity. Playing around with that just from the point of view of an equalisation doesn’t make sense for families and for children.”
She claimed that senior Tories had not properly discussed the issue with veteran party members, and claimed the media had a pro-gay marriage agenda.
“I am, by the way, absolutely in favour of equal treatment for gays, both lesbians and gays, and the civil partnership.”
Despite opposition from some grassroots Tories, whips expect the legislation to be passed, with around 60 per cent of Tory MPs in favour of gay marriage.