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Same-sex marriage: MPs ‘won’t listen to Church’

30 November 2012

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 approval.

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 per cent.

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".


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