The Sunday Times has waded into the redefining marriage debate and accused David Cameron of pushing for an “unnecessary” change.
Last month Ben Bradshaw, a former Labour Cabinet Minister who is himself in a civil partnership, branded David Cameron’s plan to rewrite the definion of marriage as “pure politics”.
Now The Sunday Times has backed Mr Bradshaw’s comments and accused the Prime Minister of trying to redefine marriage for “political reasons”.
An editorial in Sunday’s edition said: “The government would like you to believe it is a modern, with-it coalition facing opposition from a church stuck somewhere in the Dark Ages.
“It is hard, however, to disagree with Ben Bradshaw, the Labour frontbencher, who accuses the government of playing ‘pure politics’ with gay marriage.
“He, like most other gays in civil partnerships, is happy to call it a marriage. The further step proposed by the government is, he says, an unnecessary distraction.
“Mr Cameron is pushing gay marriage and picking a fight with the church for political reasons. It is indeed unnecessary.”
The newspaper’s stance puts it at odds with its sister paper The Times which has publicly backed the redefinition of marriage.
Last month the Westminster Government launched a three-month consultation on its plans to rewrite the definition of marriage. The controversial plan has, however, encountered considerable opposition.
A petition in support of the current definition of marriage has been signed by more than 400,000 people. It is being run by the Coalition for Marriage.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that marriage should not be redefined in law.
The Roman Catholic Church, the Muslim Council of Britain and senior members of the Jewish and Sikh communities are also opposed to the change.
Last month a senior Roman Catholic Archbishop said that laws should not be used to “recreate our society according to passing fashions and ideologies”.
Mario Conti, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow, cautioned against those who want to redefine marriage “without any reference to children” and also warned of a further descent into “ethical confusion”.