The Government thinks supporters of traditional marriage are just “dinosaurs” who should be “frogmarched” towards a new concept of wedlock, Lord Carey says.
His comments came as Lord Tebbit cautioned that the Conservative Party’s push to redefine marriage has led to a dramatic drop in its grassroots membership.
And Lord Dear, a respected former police chief, has also strongly spoken out on the issue – calling the legislation “ill conceived, ill considered, badly presented” and blind to possible consequences.
They were joined in their criticism by Baroness O’Cathain who said the Government had launched “an astonishing attack on our tried and tested values by redefining marriage”.
Lord Carey, who was speaking in the House of Lords, said: “The local election results tell the story of a substantial section of the public who are extremely worried about the effect of a redefinition of marriage on family life and the well-being of children.”
He commented that the Government had “engaged in a desperate bid to paint all the opponents of this Bill as elderly Christians, a strange breed of non-relevant dinosaurs”.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury noted the concerns of black and ethnic minority groups on the issue – and said that the committee of MPs who looked at the Bill “failed to invite a single black person, Muslim, Sikh or Hindu to give evidence in person”.
Lord Dear, who was formerly Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, commented that his opposition to the Bill is “quite unambiguously pro-marriage”.
He said: “In the hands of a mature Government, a Government who listen to the electorate, any change to that established order should properly take place only after the most profound thought and consideration.
“It should not, as has happened this year, be introduced as, some would say, a mere search for cheap political gain.”
Conservative Peer Lady O’Cathain said she was sad that her Party “is pursuing such a radical and aggressive social agenda and in such an undemocratic fashion”.
She commented that MPs were not listening to their constituents on the issue.