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Tory councillor protests to PM over support for gay marriage
Published 03/12/12

A HENLEY town councillor has written to the Prime Minister criticising the Government’s support for gay marriage.

Last week, David Cameron announced that he would be fast-tracking a vote on the legalisation of same-sex marriages before the new year. The coalition had previously only said the vote would take place before the next general election in 2015.

Conservative councillor David Silvester said he was “aghast” at the proposals.

In his letter, Cllr Silvester said: “I believe you accept that the Bible is God’s inerrant word for conduct of men and women in all generations, yet I question whether you can know what it says about the behaviour implied.

“If you had been a Bible student for well over 50 years, as I have, you would know that you are proposing to officially condone behaviour which the Bible dismisses as anathema.

“Now, as Prime Minister, you are free to do that if you wish. What you are not free to do, and what only an Almighty God is free to do, is to control the divine consequences of your proposed action.

“In this same word, God has written, ‘those who honour me, I will honour, and those who dishonour me, I will dishonour.’ It is my belief that if you go ahead with this legislation, you will again experience another tranche of God’s displeasure within your ministry.

“What will happen precisely, and whether this time it will be terminal, I cannot say. But surely the Conservative Party has had enough discouragement in the last year without you and your ministers courting more.”

In April, Christopher Quinton, South Oxfordshire District councillor for Woodcote, defected from the Conservatives to the UK Independence Party in protest at the proposed legalisation of gay marriages. He said: “It’s nothing to do with being homophobic, it’s the legalisation of gay marriage that I have a problem with. We’re heading to a secular Britain and that is against my principles. I think UKIP is going to get more support and more councillors as people become disillusioned with the policies of the Tory party.”

The Government has received 228,000 responses to its consultation on gay marriage.Civil partnerships were introduced in 2005 and give gay couples similar legal rights to married couples. MPs who support the idea want them to be allowed to make marriage vows. Mr Cameron threw his weight behind the proposals in his speech at last year’s Conservative Party conference.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The vote on equal marriage will be a free vote for Conservative MPs as it is a matter of conscience. But, like all Conservatives, the Prime Minister believes in marriage as an institution which helps people to commit to each other and to say that they are going to care and love for another person. It helps people to put aside their selfish interests and think of the union that they are forming and society is a better and stronger place as a result.

“He does not think the state should stop people getting married unless there are very good reasons and he sincerely believes that being gay, lesbian or bisexual is not one of them.”

Published 03/12/12

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