Downing Street appears to be in “panic” as a Government spokesman has denied the claims of another senior source that plans to redefine marriage were being fast-tracked.
In the Daily Mail, a Government source was quoted saying David Cameron wants to “get it done and get it done quickly”.
But a spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which holds the equalities brief, said that reports about the timetable for any legislation were just “speculation”.
“We have been clear that we will publish the Government’s response to the consultation on equal civil marriage before Christmas”, a spokesperson said.
“We will set out then how we will proceed, and it is premature to discuss the timetable of a Bill before that. This is an emotive issue and will be thoroughly discussed in both Houses of Parliament.”
All this comes just a day after a new poll was published showing that gay marriage is driving Tory voters away.
Colin Hart, director for Coalition for Marriage which campaigns against the redefinition plans, said: “We always knew such claims could be made, because we knew that our campaign was hitting home very effectively. We knew we were making headway and that the Government could panic like this.”
Commentator Christina Odone said David Cameron is pushing through same-sex marriage “in an accelerated, some may say reckless, fashion”, despite resistance from the Tory heartland.
She also warned that David Cameron would bully the Church over gay marriage.
And recently, Sir Gerald Howarth, former defence minister, and education minister Liz Truss have warned of the consequences on civil liberties for those who disagree with gay marriage if it became law.
A grassroots petition against same-sex marriage has been signed by more than 610,000 people.