Redefining marriage against the will of the majority “will not be socially acceptable”, former Defence Secretary Liam Fox has warned.
Dr Fox’s comments were made at a fringe event at the Conservative Party’s annual conference last week.
He said: “To ask the majority to change how they define marriage because of what a smaller number want will not be socially acceptable and is likely to undo a great deal of the tolerance that has actually come to the fore in recent decades and that would be a great pity.”
Dr Fox told delegates at last week’s fringe event that he is not personally opposed to same-sex marriage.
However, he has previously suggested that redefining marriage is a priority for the “metropolitan elite”, but not the “vast majority of the public”.
The Prime Minister is committed to introducing same-sex marriage by 2015, despite widespread opposition.
More than 600,000 people have signed a petition, organised by the Coalition for Marriage, urging the Government to scrap the plans.
Last week hundreds of people gathered at a fringe event in support of traditional marriage at the Conservative Party conference.
The event included speeches from Lord Carey, Ann Widdecombe and David Burrowes MP.
Miss Widdecombe, a former Conservative Minister, delivered a rousing speech and turned the tables on those who brand traditional marriage supporters “bigots”.
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey warned that introducing same-sex marriage would deepen divisions within society “without giving gays a single right they do not have in civil partnership”.
And David Burrowes, the MP for Enfield Southgate, called for the divisive issue to be put to a public vote.