Conservative David Burrowes is among a number of MPs backing the new Coalition for Marriage petition to opposite marriage equality for gay couples, but says he has received a death threat as a result of his views.
Burrowes is the MP for Enfield Southgate, a position he has held since 2005 when he won the seat from Labour’s Stephen Twigg, the first openly gay man to be elected as an MP when the constituency chose him in 1997.
Counter-opposition has formed to Burrowes’ views in the constituency after he became an early supporter of the Coalition for Marriage petition, which calls on leaders not to “play politics” with the institution.
Phillip Dawson, a constituent, set up a Facebook group to call for Burrowes to listen to his constituents. He told the Enfield Independent: “Of course David is allowed his own opinion and I have no intention of saying otherwise – I set up the group because he said nobody cared about it.
“It’s something that people care about very strongly and I think most people would say there should be equality of choice.
“If you want to get married you should be able to and unknowingly I think in saying that you shouldn’t change the law there’s an implication that inequality is fine.”
Burrowes said last month: “My views are that the values of marriage should be between a man and a woman and that is something which is set out in statute hundreds of times – if you change the shape of marriage then you change its purpose and risk changing the meaning of it.
“I do not see the need for legislation to recognise gay marriage. I will vote against it. But it does not at all follow that I am anti-gay and homophobic.
“I don’t in any way challenge the fact that people will want to change the law and it’s important that this is a debate that is done with respect and we respect people’s views.”
His office confirmed to PinkNews.co.uk today the death threat was received before his support of the Coalition for Marriage, whose launch he attended.
The Coalition for Marriage petition now has over 25,000 signatures and was backed by former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey.
Political signatories on the petition include Conservatives Fiona Bruce MP, Edward Leigh MP, David Nuttall MP and Stewart Jackson MP. Labour members are Jim Dobbin MP and Joe Benton MP.
Downing Street has maintained its commitment to the introduction of equal marriage rights for gays.
The equal marriage consultation is due to begin in March and would allow for marriage equality legislation to be passed before the end of the current parliament.
A rival Coalition for Equal Marriage has been launched which uses a similar template to the Coalition for Marriage’s website but promotes equality for gays and lesbians.
It says: “We agree with [the Coalition for Marriage]; people should not feel pressurised to go along with same sex marriage just because of political correctness.
“Take Ben Summerskill’s advice: If you’re against same-sex marriage you should marry someone of the opposite sex. The government will be launching a public consultation on proposals to bring in full marriage equality. This will provide an opportunity for members of the public to make their views known.”