A long time local chairman for the Conservative party has resigned over the coalition government’s efforts to legalise marriage equality, saying the Prime Minster had “lost touch” with his party and attacked “family values”.

Edmund Costelloe, now the former chairman of Somerton and Frome Constituency Conservative Association, had been a member of the party for 49 years.

He said that propositions to legalise equal marriage came in the form of an “undebated and ill-thought-out attack on marriage between a man and a woman for the procreation of children.” 

“David Cameron and a group of colleagues have utterly lost touch with the grassroots of the Conservative Party, the majority of whom are outraged by this attack on natural and historic family values,” he continued.

Ivan Massow, gay businessman and entrepreneur, has applied to be the Conservative candidate for the constituency.

Mr Costelloe went on to say that equal marriage was unnecessary, as civil partnerships were already legal, reports the Christian Institute. 

MPs will debate and vote on the government’s equal marriage plans for England and Wales before next month’s Valentine’s Day.

A recent ComRes poll for the anti-gay Coalition for Marriage showed that three quarters of Conservative peers and 67% of cross-bencher peers surveyed said the government should call a halt to its plans to introduce equal marriage.

However, in a sign the government remains determined to get its planned equal marriage legislation on the statute book within this year, Culture Secretary Maria Miller has refused to rule out using the Parliament Act to override the Lords in the event the bill becomes stalled.  

A poll late in 2012, which was carried out by the ConservativeHome website found that 71% of Tory members said same-sex marriage was splitting the party and only one in three Conservative members admired David Cameron for “standing up for gay equality”.

Conservative MP Bob Blackman, who previously had an affair behind his wife’s back for 11 years, says legalising equal marriage would make it “difficult to promote Christian values in parliament.”