Gay Tories challenge MP’s ‘no mandate for equal marriage’ claim

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Conservative group LGBTory has challenged the assertion by a party MP, who recently branded equal marriage ‘completely nuts’, that the government has no mandate to allow equal marriage rights for gays.

Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough, has said the government did not include marriage plans in its manifesto ahead of the 2010 general election.

LGBTory pointed to the party’s Contract for Equalities, which was published on 3 May and said the issue of equal marriage rights would be addressed if the party gained power. While published only a few days before the general election, its proposals for equal marriage were reported in the national press.

In a letter this week, LGBTory told Mr Bone: “During your appearance you made a forceful argument that you believe same-sex marriage should be included in a Party’s General Election Manifesto and claimed that no Party did that in the run-up to the 2010 General Election. However, we would like to point out that this is an inaccurate statement.”

The Conservative ‘Contract for Equalities’ said: “We will also consider the case for changing the law to allow civil partnerships to be called and classified as marriage”.

Commenting for LGBTory, Chairman Matthew Sephton said: “The fact is that same-sex marriage was explicitly mentioned in the Conservative Party’s 2010 manifesto documents and the Conservatives were the only one of the main three Parties to include it. The move towards same-sex civil marriage is being led by a Conservative Prime Minister and we will be working with him at all stages to ensure his wish to see this on the statute books by 2015 is realised.”

Mr Bone repeated his view on a BBC Newsnight debate last night that comparing gay and straight marriages was like “saying an apple is a pear”, eschewing the more common idiom of apples and oranges.

He said: “I just think it’s a very simple case that a marriage is between a man and a woman and it’s rather like saying an apple is a pear, it’s not, that’s as it has been for two thousand years.”

While apples and pears are in fact more genetically similar than apples and oranges, they are used to imply difference in many European languages. In English, the two are commonly associated with the Cockney rhyming slang for ‘stairs’.

Earlier this month, Mr Bone suggested the Church of England reply to the government’s consultation on equal marriage, which opened yesterday, with the view that it is “completely nuts”. was unable to reach Mr Bone this morning.