Grassroot Tories are still livid at gay marriage bill
GRASSROOT Conservatives could abandon the party at the next election in protest at the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, which passed into law last week.
The historic legislation was passed, despite criticism from religious groups and some MPs.
According to Colin Thomas, chairman and president of the East Surrey Conservative Association, the move has left some members completely disenchanted with the Government.
"A lot of the members are still very unhappy about it and they've said they'll vote Ukip at the next election," Mr Thomas said.
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"Whether that's the case or not remains to be seen," he added. "I think it's been rushed through, it wasn't in a manifesto and it wasn't even in the Queen's Speech and then it just came out of the blue. I would've thought there would've been a longer conversation with the church about it, and there were excellent reasons for leaving it for a year or two and these extra considerations being taken."
Under the new law, gay couples are able to enter into a legally binding marriage and those already in civil partnerships can convert these into marriages. Religious organisations will not be forced to conduct ceremonies, however.
A spokesman for the Diocese of Southwark said: "The legislation which has just passed to allow gay marriages specifically excludes the Church of England from being able to perform such services and therefore the Bishops of the Diocese will not be required to offer guidance on conducting such weddings to their clergy."
But Reigate MP Crispin Blunt, who was a vocal supporter of the Bill, said it would be a huge benefit to society.
He said: "I'm very pleased that this bill has now passed. While the same-sex marriage issue has received all the attention, the changes to the bill enabling humanist marriages, which I argued for, will probably benefit as many heterosexual couples who have no religious faith, as gay couples who will now enjoy equality under marriage law.
"This is an act of parliament which will significantly add to human happiness and I'm proud to have been a supporter of it."
East Surrey MP Sam Gyimah declined to comment on the Bill passing into law, instead referring to a previous statement in which he supported the legislation.