Almost 60 MPs and Peers have written to a national newspaper saying the Government has no mandate to redefine marriage.
The parliamentarians point out that the plans were not included in any of the three main parties’ manifestos, or the coalition Government’s official Programme for Government.
The letter, to The Daily Telegraph, also notes that redefining marriage is “unnecessary, given the legal rights established through civil partnerships”.
It also says “the Government is ignoring the overwhelming public response against the plans” – commenting that the Coalition’s same-sex marriage consultation response ignored the views of 500,000 people who had signed the pro-traditional marriage C4M petition.
The signatories to the letter include former ministers, as well as MPs and members of the House of Lords.
They say: “As parliamentarians from different political parties and none, we are united in supporting the institution of marriage defined in law as a union between a man and a woman.”
The 58 parliamentarians comment: “At the last election, none of the three main parties stood on a platform to redefine marriage.
“It was not contained in any of their manifestos, nor did it feature in the Coalition’s Programme for Government.
“These facts alone should have led to extreme caution on the part of those calling for this change to be made.”
The letter also points out that they are “sceptical that the proposed protections will prevent the erosion of liberties of religion and conscience”.
The intervention follows the Government unveiling its response to the consultation on same-sex marriage last Tuesday.
Of the 62 MPs who spoke in the House of Commons at the time, 34 raised serious concerns about the Coalition’s plans.
Several MPs denounced the way the Coalition for Marriage petition, which numbered 500,000 signatures at the time, was ignored by the consultation.
The petition, which now numbers over 620,000, is still open and can be signed here.