The Westminster Government’s official consultation on redefining marriage has been branded a “sham” which will ignore any opposition.
The consultation, which was launched this morning, asks the public if they “agree or disagree” with rewriting the definition of marriage.
However, it also makes clear that it is a matter of how not whether the contentious change will be introduced.
According to the consultation document the Government’s response “will be based on a careful consideration of the points made in consultation, not the number of responses received”.
Colin Hart, campaign director for the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), said: “I always thought that a consultation was about listening to people and asking them their views, before making a decision.
“Not only are they redefining the meaning of marriage, they’re redefining the meaning of consultation.
“This consultation is a sham. It is being pushed through despite the public never having a say on this change.
“None of the main political parties proposed redefining marriage in their manifestos and the impact assessment misses out many of the possible problems that could occur if this institution is redefined, for example how this change will affect our schools.
“The institution of marriage is not the play thing of the state, it belongs to society and therefore cannot be redefined by a few politicians obsessed with appearing ‘trendy’ and ‘progressive’.”
Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone said: “Today is a hugely important step as we consider how to lift the ban on civil marriage for same-sex couples. This is about the underlying principles of family, society, and personal freedoms.”
A grassroots petition, run by the Coalition for Marriage, in support of the current definition of marriage has already attracted more than 210,000 signatures.
Earlier this week UKIP’s openly gay London Regional Chairman warned that people who believe in traditional marriage could find themselves accused of ‘hate crimes’ if marriage is redefined.