News round-up from the Christmas period

Jan 2, 2013

There was more bad news for the Government’s plans to redefine marriage. Over the Christmas period opposition grew from grassroots Tory activists, church leaders and a High Court judge. And the Government looked even more high-handed and undemocratic than ever when it threatened to snub the Lords and railroad the redefinition of marriage through Parliament.

The unpopularity of plans to redefine marriage continued to deepen within the Tory party. A survey of Tory grassroots activists by showed 71 per cent think the issue is splitting the party. A majority (55 per cent) oppose the policy, only 37% support it.

Meanwhile, the Government has signalled that it may railroad a Bill through Parliament if there is stalemate between the Commons and the Lords. This just reinforces the undemocratic way this policy has been pushed from day one (no manifesto mandate, no mention in the Coalition Programme for Government, a sham of a consultation).

High Court judge, Sir Paul Coleridge, has said the plan to redefine marriage is the “wrong policy” and the Government should concentrate on tackling family breakdown instead. He told The Times (£): “So much energy and time has been put into this debate for 0.1% of the population, when we have a crisis of family breakdown.”

Five million Roman Catholics in England and Wales have been urged to lobby their MPs against the redefinition of marriage. A pastoral letter was sent to every parish by Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols. It urged parishioners to write to MPs “as soon as possible” to outline their concerns “clearly, calmly and forcefully”. The letter also said the “true nature of marriage” will be lost on schoolchildren if marriage is redefined. The Pope’s New Year’s message also hit out against the plans to change the meaning of marriage.