Gay consultant editor of the Daily Mail, Andrew Pierce, opposes equal marriage

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An openly gay columnist for the Daily Mail has penned an article for the newspaper arguing against equal marriage, arguing that his opposition did not make him a bigot.

Andrew Pierce was formerly assistant editor at the Daily Telegraph, and moved to the Daily Mail, where he works as the Consultant Editor and has since written controversial articles, including one arguing against adoption by Elton John and his partner. Mr Pierce is openly gay, and describes himself as a ‘lapsed Catholic.’

In his column, he claims that Mr Cameron’s government was ‘arrogantly’ pressing ahead with equal marriage, despite ‘poll after poll’, in his eyes, showing that people were against it. The most recent survey by Stonewall, and a meta-analysis of available polls since 2009, both show that a majority of the British public are actually for it.

He asks, rhetorically: “Well, Mr Cameron, I am a Conservative and a homosexual, and I oppose gay marriage. Am I a bigot?”

He also claims that the openly gay MP, Alan Duncan, who has a civil partnership, is “implacably opposed to gay marriage.” could not confirm this, however, though Mr Duncan, when appearing on the BBC programme, Have I Got News For You, actually appeared to support it through a controversial remark.

Mr Pierce claims that the historian David Starkey is against equal marriage as well.

Mr Pierce writes:

The introduction of same-sex marriage became a policy commitment at the Lib Dem conference two years ago, even though there was no reference to it in their election manifesto, or in their four-page manifesto written for the gay community only six months earlier.

At the time, the former Lib Dem MP Dr Evan Harris hailed the policy as ‘creating clear blue water with the Tories’.

Few Conservatives took the idea seriously — until Mr Cameron’s bombshell announcement at the last Tory conference that he backed it, too.

In spite of the furore caused by the Church of England’s intervention this week, Downing Street is insisting that Mr Cameron, who has so far performed 34 policy U-turns in power, has no intention of backing down on this issue.

Even gay rights campaigners are puzzled by the Prime Minister’s conversion to the cause. Stonewall, a powerful pressure group for gay equality, has not called for gay marriage.

While the organisation — of which I’m proud to be a member — supports the idea of gay marriage, its priority remains tackling homophobia in schools after research showed that gay men in the 16-to-24 age group are significantly more likely to have attempted suicide than other young men.

He also adds in his column: “The Tory Party HQ, I can disclose, has warned the Prime Minister that this issue has triggered the biggest revolt among grassroots members since Tory MPs dumped Margaret Thatcher in 1990.”

Taking issue with the Equality Law introduced by the previous Labour government, and declaring his own childhood under a Catholic adoption agency, Mr Pierce argues that the Conservatives, should they continue to press on ‘with the rewriting of the centuries-old tradition of marriage,’ would face abandonment from ‘thousands’ of party faithful.

He concludes his column by writing:

The truth is that no one has been able to explain to me the difference between gay marriage and a civil partnership. I have asked ministers and friends. None has an answer.

But I do. We already have gay marriage — it’s called civil partnership. Why can’t Mr Cameron just leave it there?

Both the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail have consistently campaigned against marriage equality since the government opened up consultation on the issue. The consultation concluded today.