Current Affairs

Tory MP calls for equal marriage consultation to be started again

Stephen Gray June 12, 2012
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A Conservative MP in Kent has called on the Home Office to start its public consultation marriage equality between gay and straight couples again with a more rigorous system.

Canterbury and Whitstable MP Julian Brazier said the anonymous nature of the consultation, which closes on Thursday, makes it “wide open to abuse”, the Kentish Gazette reports.

Mr Brazier, the constituency MP since 1987, said: “Given the sensitive and important nature of the topic matter, it strikes me as highly unusual to rely on a completely anonymous internet survey that requires no verification of one-person-one-submission status, whether the person is a UK citizen, or even if they are a UK resident and entitled to take part.

“This lack of validation opens the door to abuse of the consultation, which could significantly skew the results.

“Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the policy, it is surely in everyone’s interests that the consultation is seen as fair.

“Government guidelines on consultations suggest all those taking part should receive feedback, but it is impossible in this case as no personal details are required.”

A spokesman for the Home Office said: “We have ensured the equal civil marriage consultation is as open, fair and transparent as possible.

“We made clear when the consultation was launched that all responses would be treated as anonymous.”

Mr Brazier has spoken out against marriage equality in the paper before, saying in March: “It seems to me this is a very radical measure which will undermine a treasured institution and could have unforeseen consequences.

“We shouldn’t allow an institution of this importance to be re-defined simply to meet a rights agenda.

“It’s always been defined in a practical way which is quite restrictive when you think about it – there’s got be one of each sex, you can’t be related, you can’t be married to somebody else.

“If we start to deconstruct it at what point do we stop?”

He said: “I can’t see any logic as to why we should redefine marriage for the needs of one group of people and not others?

The consultation is open until the 14 June and can be accessed here or here.

More: Conservative, equal marriage, Gay, gay marriage, Kent, marriage

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