Christopher Chope, the Conservative MP for Christchurch in Dorset, has called on the Prime Minister to introduce civil partnerships for heterosexual couples.
Speaking at the first Prime Minister’s Questions since Tuesday night’s vote on gay marriage, the former barrister echoed suggestions made during the gay marriage debate, the Guardian reports.
“Can [he] say in response to the many concerns expressed in yesterday’s debate will he [sic] ensure that civil partnerships are open to heterosexual couples on an equal basis with homosexual couples?”
David Cameron replied: “I will obviously listen carefully to what he says. But frankly I am a marriage man, I am a great supporter of marriage. I want to promote marriage, defend marriage, encourage marriage.”
Civil partnerships for all would weaken the institution of marriage, the PM claimed: “The great thing about last night’s vote is that two gay people who love each other will now be able to get married. That is an important advance. I think we should be promoting marriage rather than looking at any other way of weakening it.”
Meanwhile, Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude told BBC programme Newsnight that some elements in the Conservative Party were slow to respond to social changes.
“Sometimes parts of the Conservative party move but they move more slowly, or a few paces behind the centre of gravity of social attitudes which have changed and will probably continue to change in ways that it is hard to predict. But we get there, maybe at different speeds.”