The Tories will consider the case for renaming same-sex civil partnerships as ‘marriages’, but David Cameron says his party has no immediate plans to legalise full ‘homosexual marriage’.
Yesterday Tory equalities spokeswoman Theresa May launched a document that stated a Conservative-led government would “consider the case for changing the law to allow civil partnerships to be called and classified as marriage.”
But last night David Cameron told Sky News he is “not planning” to change the law.
A Conservative Party spokesman attempted to clear up the confusion by saying: “We’re not planning to rename civil partnerships at the moment. We are considering it.
“We recognise there is a case to consider but we’re not at that point, there has been no firm decision.”
Whatever the result of the election, experienced observers believe MPs are likely to have a free vote at some stage on whether civil partnerships should be renamed as ‘marriage’.
The Tory promise to consider the controversial idea appears in a new party document called a “contract for equalities”, launched yesterday.
The document also says a Conservative-led government would ensure that same-sex civil partnerships are recognised like marriages in the tax system.
Theresa May said: “This contract for equalities will be central to what we plan to do in government”.
She added: “We will use every lever available to ensure equal opportunities turns from a dream into reality”.
But the ‘equality’ document fails to mention any plan to tackle the growing marginalisation of Christians.
Labour introduced same-sex civil partnerships in 2005, deciding not to go so far as to call them ‘marriages’.
However, in March last year Labour leader Gordon Brown denounced as “unacceptable” the result of a state-wide vote in California that backed a legal definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.
In February Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said: “I support gay marriage. Love is the same, straight or gay, so the civil institution should be the same, too.”
And in July last year he said that “although civil partnerships have been a step forward, until same sex marriage is permitted it is impossible to claim gay and straight couples are treated equally.”
Last week Tory leader David Cameron suspended a Conservative candidate standing in North Ayrshire and Arran who said same-sex conduct is not “normal”.
Following his suspension the candidate, Philip Lardner, said: “I believe ordinary people are sick and tired of political correctness.”
He added: “By suspending me as a Tory, David Cameron appears to be saying there is no place in the Party for anyone with Christian beliefs.”