George Osborne thinks redefining marriage will help the Tories win the next election – all because four very liberal US states narrowly voted in favour.
The Chancellor’s remarks are sure to antagonise Tory backbenchers who think the party is losing touch with real voters.
Polls show the Tories stand to lose up to 30 seats and 1.1 million votes if they push ahead with plans to change the meaning of marriage.
But Mr Osborne has pinned his party’s prospects on paper-thin victories for gay marriage activists in four very liberal US states.
Gay marriage activists outspent their opponents by $20 million in those states, but could only scrape home with extremely narrow wins.
Over 30 American states have voted against redefining marriage, most recently in North Carolina in May.
Despite this, in his article for The Times, George Osborne claimed that voters want social liberalism.
He said Americans voted for gay marriage “in all four states that held ballots,” adding, “I strongly support gay marriage on principle.
“Of course in Britain these issues are ones of individual conscience and free votes, but I am proud to be part of a Government that will introduce a Bill to allow gay marriage.”
But the Coalition for Marriage, which has amassed a petition of over 610,000 names, says the Chancellor’s remarks are just spin.
Campaign Director Colin Hart said: “Yet again the Government’s spin doctors are trying to claim that redefining marriage is a vote winner. Quite the opposite is true.
“In the US, voters in 31 states have backed traditional marriage at the ballot box, often by large margins and as recently as May 2012 in North Carolina.
“The four results by the narrowest of margins in liberal states last week are not representative of US public opinion.”