Vast majority of Conservative Party still opposes same-sex marriage in the UK

The vast majority of Conservative Party members are still opposed to same-sex marriage in the UK.

That’s despite the fact gay couples in England and Wales have been able to legally marry since 2014.

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London, in a survey of over 4,000 people, found only 41% of Conservative members supported same-sex marriage.

This was in comparison to at least eight in 10 members of the other three parties backing it, according to the report.

Gay Conservative MP slams poll: ‘Massive pinch of salt’

Mike Freer, a gay Conservative MP, slammed the YouGov poll and described it as a ‘non-story’.

‘The fact is that it was a Conservative Prime Minister that introduced the legislation (and the sponsoring Government Department was the Home Office under the then Home Secretary and now Prime Minister Theresa May),’ he told Gay Star News.

‘It is a Conservative MP that is seeking to extend civil partnerships to everyone, it was a Conservative MP who recently used a Private Members Bill that changed merchant shipping law to decriminalize homosexual acts; it is a Conservative Equalities Minister that is undertaking a major review of trans issues.

‘I’d treat any such poll with skepticism and a massive pinch of salt.’

To clarify, it was Lynne Featherstone – now a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords – who put forward plans for same-sex marriage in England and Wales.

A majority of Conservative MPs voted against the legislation, with 126 being in support and 134 being opposed. However, the move was supported by then-Prime Minister David Cameron who told his party he supported marriage equality ‘because I am a Conservative’.

‘The results certainly don’t reflect my experience of the Conservative party’

Matthew Green, chairman of LGBT+ Conservatives, also said the YouGov poll could be inaccurate.

‘While it’s unfortunate that a survey suggests a level of support for equal marriage among Conservative members below the national average of 60%, this is only a snapshot of 1,000 members with most of the data collected over two years ago,’ he told GSN.

‘The results certainly don’t reflect my experience of the Conservative Party where the vast majority of the members that I meet are fully supportive of equal marriage as well as being welcoming and well-disposed to the thousands of LGBT+ Conservative Party members and activists, including hundreds of local councilors and dozens of MPs.’

Polled on other issues, it found most Conservatives back the death penalty (54%) and only 25% of Tories believe Britain should remain in the single market.

Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, said: ‘The Tory grassroots in particular are something of a breed apart from their Labour, Lib Dem and SNP counterparts.’

The report, called Grassroots: Britain’s Party Members, surveyed 4,117 members of the four parties shortly after the 2017 general election.

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