A campaign group of prominent British Conservatives has banded together to support marriage equality in England and Wales.
Prime Minister David Cameron has promised that the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government will change the law before the next election in 2015. Cameron himself is an advocate for same-sex marriage, though he is allowing his Conservative caucus a free vote.
Despite expectations that over 100 Tory MPs will vote against it, the legislation is expected to pass easily in the House of Commons with the support of the Liberal Democrats and the opposition Labour Party, but may face stronger opposition in the British House of Lords.
The Conservative group, Freedom To Marry, announced its launch in a letter to The Sunday Telegraph, arguing that civil partnerships – legal in the U.K. since 2004 – “are not marriages, which express a particular and universally understood commitment.”
The group includes Education Secretary Michael Gove, London Mayor Boris Johnson, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, Foreign Office Minister Alastair Burt, and the openly lesbian leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson. Freedom To Marry was organized by former minister Nick Herbert who is himself in a civil partnership.
Two of the 19 members of Freedom To Marry are known for their strong religious beliefs; McLoughlin is a Catholic, Burt an evangelical Protestant.
Prime Minister Cameron has come under fire from members of his own caucus for his strong support for marriage equality, despite Cameron’s assurances that no church will be forced to perform same-sex marriages. In this clip, he makes his support crystal clear. Good show, Dave!