Maria Miller faced strong opposition from MPs in the House of Commons this week, after she unveiled the Government’s response to its consultation on redefining marriage.
Of the 62 MPs who spoke on Tuesday, 34 raised serious concerns about the Coalition’s plans.
Several MPs denounced the way the Coalition for Marriage petition, which numbered 500,000 signatures at the time, was ignored by the consultation.
Conservative MP Stewart Jackson branded the Government’s proposals a “constitutional outrage and a disgrace”.
Sir Gerald Howarth MP said Maria Miller must accept that “the consultation exercise has been a complete sham” and that the Government had “made up their mind in advance what outcome they wanted”.
The deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Simon Hughes, said even though his party supports gay marriage “the Minister none the less must take into account that this was in no election manifesto”.
A number of MPs protested against the assertion that gay marriage was a popular idea.
Tory MP John Glen questioned why the Government was pressing ahead with the plans when his constituents “do not want this to happen by a factor of 25:1”.
And four MPs questioned whether teachers would have to teach about same-sex marriage, to which the minister replied that all teachers would have to teach marriage in a “balanced” way once the law is changed.
Edward Leigh MP criticised the plans to allow churches to conduct same-sex marriages, when this was not in the consultation.
The Government is now set to bring forward a Bill on same-sex marriage in January.