Giles Chichester, the Conservative MEP for South-West England and Gibraltar, has dismissed the government’s equal marriage plans by saying of marriage “It ain’t broke so why spend valuable parliamentary time trying to fix it?”
In a letter to David Cameron, Mr Chichester spoke of being a member of the party for nearly 50 years and claimed grass roots activists will not “stop complaining” about the reform until the prime minister listens to them.
The MEP wrote: “Throughout my career, I have followed the dictum that when it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change and believe that we live not just for our own generation but also for those that have gone before and those who will come after us.
“Yet, despite the fact that neither Conservative, Liberal Democrat nor coalition manifestos made mention of proposals to redefine traditional marriage by legislating to establish the right to same-sex marriage, the government has chosen to give this legislation their full and urgent support.”
Mr Chichester continued: “I must make clear that I support civil unions or partnerships having equal rights to traditional marriage as to legal status, taxation and inheritance rights, but cannot agree that being equal must mean being the same.
“They are not the same, for marriage is about a man and a woman joined in matrimony for the procreation of children. However, the current system works well to the benefit of both homosexual and heterosexual couples. It ain’t broke so why spend valuable parliamentary time trying to fix it?”
He added: “The radical change in social policy which legislation for same-sex marriage would bring about requires careful consideration and must be debated thoroughly before the decision to legislate to redefine marriage is taken.”
It’s not the first time Mr Chichester has written to the prime minister on the issue.
In a bid to quash incorrect claims about the lack of a manifesto pledge, the Conservative Party’s LGBT group wrote to all 303 Tory MPs in December and reminded them that it had been in a 2010 Contract for Equalities document.