A public meeting is to be held in Thanet after local Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale, who has been North Thanet’s MP for nearly thirty years, wrote an article describing prime minister David Cameron’s plans to introduce civil marriage equality as “almost Stalinist” that would “rewrite history and tradition”.
Writing in the Thanet Extra, he said: “If we are to re-construct official and business documentation and to replace “Husband and Wife” with “spouses” and “partners” where will this stop? Will Shakespeare and Milton and The Holy Bible be re-written also? Will only “correctly” expurgated literature be allowed to be used in the classroom?”
Sir Roger is a big fan of marriage, he’s currently with wife number three. He wrote: “as a divorcee I may not re-marry in my church. Those are the laws of my faith. I acknowledge them and I do not wish to change them for my own convenience.” Of course, the Government is not proposing for churches to hold civil marriages for gay couples as they would be entirely civil ceremonies held by registrars and not religious ministers.
Now, Ian Driver, an Independent member of Thanet District Council has said he will chair a public meeting to debate the MP’s comments. He said: “I have been contacted by many local people from all sorts of backgrounds who think Gale’s comments are both stupid and provocative and could be the cause of tension in the community.
“That’s why I have agreed to chair the meeting. It’s time to make it clear that there is no place for bigotry and prejudice in Thanet especially from Members of Parliament.”
The meeting on the 12th April will be deliberately timed to coincide with a vote by the council on whether to officially support opening up civil marriage to gay couples.