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28 May 2012

Same-sex marriage 'not a priority' for MPs

Same-sex marriage 'not a priority' for MPs

Legalising gay marriage is not a priority for the majority of MPs and most people are against it, according to a recent poll.

A poll conducted by ComRes found that three out of four MPs say correspondence from their constituents is generally either opposed to the measure (19 per cent) or strongly opposed (55 per cent).

ComRes polled a representative sample of 152 MPs between 18 April and 18 May.

The poll found that fuel tax was the top priority with 79 per cent, followed by reducing the deficit at 74 per cent. Reform of the House of Lords got three per cent – slightly lower than the introduction of same-sex marriage at four per cent.

Just 16 per cent of MPs surveyed said most of the letters from their constituents seemed to express support for the change.

The government is currently consulting the public on proposals to introduce same-sex marriage. But more than 530,000 people have signed a petition against it, set up by the Coalition for Marriage (C4M).

Colin Hart, campaign director for C4M, said: "This poll of MPs is quite remarkable. It shows that right across the Commons, MPs do not regard gay marriage as an important priority for their constituents.

"It also demonstrates that public opposition to the measure is vociferous and widespread. If ministers decide to press ahead regardless of popular opinion, they will further undermine public confidence in Parliament and reinforce the growing impression that the ruling elite is out of touch with the strongly-held concerns and opinions of the British people.

"David Cameron should drop this idea before it causes yet more social divisions and ill-feeling."

Andrew Hawkins, chief executive of ComRes, added: "Clearly this issue has touched a raw nerve with the public, and not in a positive way.

"It is however entirely in line with public polling which shows that Mr Cameron's stance on same-sex marriage has already cost the Conservatives some support and could well be responsible for a number of the party's MPs losing their seats at the next election."

Have your say on the government consultation before the 14 June deadline: http://www.eauk.org/current-affairs/news/have-your-say-on-government-plans-to-redefine-marriage.cfm