Gay marriage was ‘biggest issue’ at local election

Same-sex marriage was “the biggest issue” for voters at the local elections, according to a county councillor in Devon who said he won votes by opposing it.

Stuart Hughes, a Conservative councillor for Sidmouth, said: “A lot of people raised the subject matter with me.

“As soon as I said I was not in favour of gay marriage, they said: ‘then I’ll be voting for you’.


“It’s amazing, but it was certainly the biggest issue on the doorsteps.

“I do not support gay marriage – I feel civil partnerships was far enough.”

Mr Hughes, who was elected to the county council, commented: “It is a huge issue in Sidmouth – massive.”


His comments came in a local newspaper alongside a UKIP candidate who came second in the area.

Lawrie Brownlee said he was surprised by the size of the same-sex marriage issue.

He commented: “I didn’t think it was as big an issue as it was.

“Nobody was being anti-gay, it was more ‘we are a heterosexual couple, we do marriage, and that is our provenance’.”


Mr Brownlee, an atheist, said his views chimed with official UKIP policy which opposes same-sex marriage, but not civil partnerships.

One local resident, Roger Carver, said: “A lot of people are concerned marriage is being redefined, and they don’t think the Government should get involved”.

“It is already a divisive situation – these are beliefs people have had for hundreds of years.”


After the local elections, which took place earlier this month, one election expert said UKIP gained support from voters who are socially conservative on issues like gay marriage.

Ahead of the elections a poll said the Conservatives faced losing hundreds of seats because of the Prime Minister’s bid to redefine marriage.

Talking about the poll, Colin Hart, Campaign Director for the Coalition for Marriage, said: “The Prime Minister has consistently backed the proposed changes to redefine marriage as part of the so called decontamination strategy, but it has not worked.

“Every section of the electorate is highly sceptical about his motives, believing he is pushing this policy in a cynical attempt to make his Party look trendy and progressive. This is the ultimate failure of Blairite triangulation policy.”

Related Resources