David Cameron presented with anti-gay marriage petition signed by 500,000

 

David Cameron was today presented with a mass petition opposing plans to introduce same-sex marriage.

The Coalition for Marriage (C4M) handed in the 500,000-strong petition to Downing Street this afternoon.

Mike Judge, spokesman for C4M, said: "I think marriage is incredibly important. Its definition predates the Government and the Christian church and I don't think it's for politicians to redefine it."

The group is backed by former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, who described plans to introduce same-sex marriage as a "hostile strike".

Mr Judge, 35, agreed with Lord Carey's description, adding: "You can't redefine marriage and it's a big step for a government to take, particularly one that never commanded a majority.

"It wasn't part of its manifesto, it wasn't part of the coalition's programme for government and they have no popular mandate.

"If they were to hold a referendum I am confident that the British people would say we are happy with marriage as it is."

Newly married couple Rhys and Ester Curnow, both 23, from Newcastle, joined campaigners in Downing Street this afternoon to petition against the legislation.

The couple, who said that marriage is very important to them, were banned from carrying a bouquet of flowers into Downing Street as no props were allowed inside. It had to be left outside on the street.

Mr Judge said: "I don't know what could be more traditional than a bouquet of flowers."

The full petition contains more than 553,300 names and addresses of MPs and members of the public.

Alistair Thompson, spokesman for the group, said it is not a religious campaign and it has gathered support from a "coalition of people from different backgrounds".

In response to the Government's consultation on gay marriage, which closes on Thursday, Dr Sharon James, a senior spokeswoman for C4M, said: "We've got over half a million people who are saying they believe in marriage, and this isn't just religious people but people of no faith, gay people and straight people.

"We believe passionately in marriage. It's much bigger than the church and the state and it goes back to the beginning of human history."

Dr James added: "The most outrageous thing today is that Mr Cameron said they are a Government who are going to prevail and they are going to introduce same-sex marriage. The consultation hasn't even closed yet.

"It's undemocratic and I think people up and down the country are saying 'what an arrogant Government'.

"This consultation was launched with very little publicity. It's almost as if they want to sneak this thing in without a fuss and without people noticing."

Jim Dobbin, Labour MP for Heywood and Middleton in Greater Manchester, said: "I believe in marriage. In my view marriage is between a man and a woman. I don't want to see it redefined. Even in gay communities very few people want a civil partnership."

Mr Dobbin, who joined other MPs including Conservative Congleton MP Fiona Bruce and Labour Bootle MP Joe Benton in signing the petition, added: "The whole aim is to get the Government to sit up and listen. A lot of Conservatives will vote against the proposals and I have heard a lot of noise from Labour against it too.

"I know that in my constituency very few people would support it."

Dr James, who has recently completed a PhD in government family policy at the University of Wales, added: "I think the overwhelming majority of ordinary people think this is of complete irrelevance.

"When it is explained to people that gay people have rights to civil partnership then the vast majority of people would say, 'Why bother messing around with redefining marriage?'

"We have to give the full picture."

PA

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Content and PR

£35000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Mid / Senior

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing digital agenc...

Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Partnerships Manager

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a newly-created partne...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor