500,000 strong marriage petition handed to No 10

A mass petition calling for the traditional definition of marriage to remain unchanged has been presented to 10 Downing Street.

The 500,000-name petition, which was organised by the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), was officially handed over on Tuesday afternoon.

The petition will be kept open by C4M because they say more people are signing it every day.

Passionately

Dr Sharon James, a 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.”

The handover comes before the close of the Government’s consultation on redefining marriage tomorrow.

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.

Arrogant

“It’s undemocratic and I think people up and down the country are saying ‘what an arrogant Government’.”

Labour’s Jim Dobbin, one of the petition’s headline signatories, 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.”

Newly

The mass petition, which is still open, was presented to Number 10 by Rhys and Esther Curnow, a newly married couple.

The Government’s plans to redefine marriage have proved highly controversial.

Earlier this week the Church of England warned that redefining marriage could trigger a constitutional crisis and end the 500-year link between church and state.

Unwise

In its response to the Government’s consultation the Church said: “To change the nature of marriage for everyone will be divisive and deliver no obvious legal gains given the rights already conferred by civil partnerships.

“We also believe that imposing for essentially ideological reasons a new meaning on a term as familiar and fundamental as marriage would be deeply unwise.”

Last weekend Liam Fox, the former Defence Secretary, suggested that redefining marriage is a priority for the “metropolitan elite”, but not the “vast majority of the public”.

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