THE Second Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Tony Baldry MP, said
last week that the Church was "deluding itself" if it thought that
Parliament would take its views on same-sex marriage seriously
after the women-bishops draft Measure did failed to gain final
Speaking in Parliament on Thursday of last week, Sir Tony said:
"I suspect that every right honourable and honourable Member has
recently had representations from church members on same-sex
marriage. If the Church of England thinks that Parliament will
listen to it with considerable attention on moral issues such as
same-sex marriage, and so on, when the Church of England seems to
be so out of step on other issues of concern to Parliament, it is
simply deluding itself."
The chairman of Reform, Prebendary Rod Thomas, told The
Daily Telegraph that it would be "extraordinarily shallow" for
the Synod's vote on women bishops to determine whether it was
listened to on gay marriage. "To suggest that you could make a
decision about a major institution like marriage over a fit of
pique would be an extraordinary thing to do," he said.
Reports last week suggested that the Government was planning to
fast-track legislation to introduce same-sex marriage, and might
put the Bill before Parliament before Christmas.
The Guardian reported that some ministers believed
Evangelical opponents of same-sex marriage were "on the back foot"
after the women-bishops vote, meaning that "it may be the right
time to show they may have over-played their hand, and are in the
minority in terms of public opinion."
The Government said that it was "premature to discuss the
timetable" of a Bill introducing same-sex marriage.
A poll of 2000 adults commissioned by the Coalition for Marriage
(C4M), and carried out by ComRes, was published last week.
Sixty-two per cent of respondents said that marriage should
continue to be defined as a "life-long exclusive commitment between
a man and a woman". Among Conservative voters, the figure was 68
The campaign director of C4M, Colin Hart, said that pressing
ahead with the introduction of same-sex marriage could cost the
Conservatives "more than a million votes, and scores of seats at
the next General Election".