[British Prime Minister] Cameron renews ‘gay marriage’ pledge [and scolds churches that ‘lock out’ gay members] as [his Tory] party spirals down the drain
LONDON, July 26, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The UK’s Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister is “killing” his own party, and therefore the coalition government, through his “obsession” with gay “marriage” according to political columnist Andrew Pierce of the Daily Mail. Despite the plummeting fortunes of the Conservative Party, and the increasing disaffection of its base, David Cameron announced at a Downing Street reception for homosexualist lobbyists on Tuesday that he remains “absolutely determined” to see the country’s definition of marriage abolished by 2015.
“The promise I can make you is that this coalition government is committed to both changing the law and also working to help change the culture and the Conservative party absolutely backs that. This is something … I personally feel very passionately about,” Cameron said.
The comments came in spite of recent assurances to MPs and Cabinet members that Conservative MPs would be allowed a free vote in Parliament should legislation make it that far. Cameron is also reported to have told his party that he would not attempt to force the shaky coalition government to go along, and would be campaigning only privately.
The Prime Minister’s plan to force the re-definition of marriage “at any cost” is costing the party plenty according to Pierce. Huge numbers of voters and even senior MPs are abandoning the party as Cameron continues his “updating” project.
Pierce wrote that the numbers do not lie, and Cameron’s whole campaign to “modernise” the party has led it to the brink of political extinction. He quotes figures released by the party showing the number of Conservative members “has fallen below 130,000, a drop of around 60 per cent since he took over in 2005.”
“The bitter and ineluctable truth is that, far from increasing numbers, Mr. Cameron has presided over the sharpest decline in membership in the Conservative party’s history,” writes Pierce.
The “gay marriage” push, he said, has been “the single biggest factor” in the party’s decline, but it has also only been the last straw for angry party supporters. “U-turns over a referendum on Europe, its failure to reform the loathed Human Rights Act and the Tories’ infuriating tendency to give ever more ground to [far-left coalition partners] the wretched Lib Dems have contributed to the decline.”
And there can be no doubt that it is specifically “gay marriage” that is killing the party’s chances with voters. Pierce quotes ComRes polls showing that the issue could cost the party as many as 1.1 million votes and 30 parliamentary seats, with many long-time Tory supporters saying they would either switch to the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) or not vote at all. Fifty-six per cent said that it is the plan to re-define marriage that has driven them away from the party.
Party members who through the Blair years watched in horror the near annihilation of the traditional family in Britain are also “enraged” that the Prime Minister has, in another “sop to the Lib Dems,” reneged on campaign promises to increase tax breaks for married couples.
At a “tense” meeting last month Cameron was warned by 20 of the party’s most senior members that the party’s “membership will plunge below the psychologically crucial 100,000 mark if there were no change of heart on same-sex marriage,” Pierce wrote.
A party source told the Daily Mail, “The Prime Minister was told bluntly that gay marriage was causing membership to hemorrhage. Cameron was unmoved and said the members were out of step with the country.
“He doesn’t seem to care that it’s the party members who canvass on doorsteps across the country in all weathers. They lick envelopes, hold fundraisers and at elections drive our older supporters to polling stations. These people are our mainstay and they are abandoning us. Our party is dying on its feet.”
In spite of these warnings, Cameron used the same uncompromising language at his friendly reception on Tuesday, as he has since the party’s last convention. Praising the government of Tony Blair’s New Labour Party for bringing in civil partnerships for homosexuals, he said that “gay marriage” will be a continuation of that tradition.
“I make that point not only as someone who believes in equality but as someone who believes passionately in marriage,” told his audience. If marriage was “good enough” for heterosexual couples, it should be extended to homosexuals, he said.
“I think marriage is a great institution – I think it helps people to commit, it helps people to say that they’re going to care and love for another person. It helps people to put aside their selfish interests and think of the union that they’re forming.
“Its something I feel passionately about and I think if it’s good enough for straight people like me, its good enough for everybody and that’s why we should have gay marriage and we will.”
Some religious observers were also alarmed by the Prime Minister’s comments about the opposition to the plans by churches, wondering if they constituted a veiled threat. Comparing their opposition to that of the Tory party before his recent reforms, he said the Church should not be “locking out” homosexuals from its ministries.
The Church, he said, has “got itself on the wrong side of this argument.”
“It locked people out who were naturally conservative from supporting it and so I think I can make that point to the Church, gently,” he said.
Churches, he said, should not “be locking out people who are gay, or are bisexual or are transgender from being full members of that Church, because many people with deeply held Christian views, are also gay”.
“And just as the Conservative Party, as an institution, made a mistake in locking people out so I think the Churches can be in danger of doing the same thing,” he added.
In the face of such comments, and others by government officials, religious leaders continue to be sceptical about assurances that, should the change be made, they would not be forced to cooperate. Last month, the Catholic bishops’ conference of England and Wales said “gay marriage” would likely lead to legal action against ministers who refuse to participate.
John Smeaton, head of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the country’s leading political pro-life and pro-family group, wrote that the attempt to re-define marriage is biting Cameron because it is “beyond his remit as a political leader.”
Cameron’s “understanding of marriage and religion is woefully simplistic and ignorant. His mantra of ‘equality’ totally ignores the nature, history and role of marriage, which is the union of one man and one woman ordered towards the procreation of children.”
Smeaton promised that the Cameron Conservatives would pay a heavy political price: “SPUC and its colleagues in many pro-family, Christian and Muslim groups, representing countless thousands of supporters and activists up and down the country, will ensure that same-sex marriage becomes a big general election issue, especially in marginal constituencies.”