The Westminster Government has today started a consultation on its controversial plans to redefine marriage.
In response to the growing opposition to the proposals, the Government has added a question that asks the public whether they agree with the idea.
However, sceptics say ‘asking’ is not the same thing as ‘listening’ – especially when the Government is saying it will go ahead whether the public like it or not.
A petition supporting the current definition of marriage has surged passed 200,000 signatures in just over three weeks.
The petition is being run by the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), a grassroots campaign group which has today placed full page adverts in two national newspapers.
The ads feature about 100 wedding photos sent in by people who have signed the petition, and point to a poll that shows 70 per cent of the public want marriage to stay as it is.
Colin Hart, C4M Campaign Director, said: “C4M launched this campaign and adverts to stop the ancient institution of marriage being redefined by stealth.
“None of the three main UK political parties included any mention of redefining marriage in their manifestos.”
He added: “C4M believes that there is no need to redefine marriage as civil partnerships already give all the legal rights of marriage to same sex couples.
“Any change would have all sorts of unintended consequences as this institution is woven into the very fabric of the country and would be profoundly undemocratic as none of the main political parties put this in their manifestos.”
The Government’s consultation will be open for 13 weeks and closes on 14 June.
Earlier this month a senior Guardian journalist said it would not be “wise” for the Government to change the definition of marriage.
Michael White, an assistant editor at the Guardian, said “instinct” told him “it will be wise to retain a legal distinction between marriage and civil partnership”.
And a new survey revealed that most people in Britain want to keep the current definition of marriage unchanged.
The survey showed that seven out of ten people agree that marriage should remain a “life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman”.
And an editorial in The Sun newspaper called for the issue to be put to a public vote.
Last month homosexual celebrity Christopher Biggins said he is happy with civil partnerships and doesn’t want to redefine marriage because “we can’t just get rid of everything”.