East Surrey Conservative chairman resigns over gay marriage bill
THE chairman of the Tories in East Surrey is stepping down in protest at the gay marriage bill.
Michael Keenan, who represents Burstow, Horne and Outwood at Tandridge District Council, says he is so incensed by David Cameron's position on gay marriage that he may not even vote Conservative again.
He told the Mirror: "It has been a very hard decision for me to take and not one that I have taken lightly.
"I am stepping down over the gay marriage issue. I do not agree with the Conservative position behind it.
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"I take the view that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
"I guess I am a traditionalist in that respect."
Mr Keenan, a Roman Catholic, said he has always voted Conservative and has been a councillor under the party's banner for six years.
But he will stand down as East Surrey Conservative Association chairman on March 8, then hand in his letter of resignation to the district council on March 11.
The father of two said: "I hate to say it, but unless more connection is made to the general public on this and views are listened to, then I probably won't be voting Conservative again.
"I did not want to take this step, but I feel that it is not right. I am not against what people choose to do with their lives, but I do think that for me, personally, it is not right.
"But then again, I think my daughter would not agree with me. I think it is because I was brought up with a traditional view of marriage."
MPs voted in the bill to allow same-sex couples to wed at the beginning of February, with 136 Conservative MPs voting against it.
Mr Keenan said: "This has made me question my allegiance to the party.
"There was no Conservative manifesto on the matter and it did not appear anywhere in the Queen's speech either.
"I think this being voted through has taken me by surprise and I hope that the PM knows this is setting a dangerous precedent for future bills."
He said: "I would like to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed working with and for the people of Burstow, Horne and Outwood and I hope that I have done them proud and helped them as much as I can."
Mr Keenan said he would use the extra time to help at Worth Abbey, near East Grinstead.