One million leaflets being handed out against equal marriage in marginal seats

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

One million leaflets against government’s plans to legalise marriage equality are being sent out to voters in constituencies marginal on the issue by an anti-equal marriage campaign group which has deemed the plans “undemocratic”.

The target of the campaign are 65 MPs, who are seen as key in an upcoming vote on the government’s plans for equal marriage. The leaflets aim to push MPs to vote against the measure.

PinkNews understands that MPs will debate and vote on the government’s equal marriage plans for England and Wales before next month’s Valentine’s Day.

The one million leaflets were prepared by the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), a campaign group against the government’s plans.

The leaflets were being delivered door to door, and campaigners had been handing them out on the streets of marginal constituencies in the south west, and plan to visit others ahead of the vote.

The leaflets contain photographs and contact details of local MPs, with text urging voters to lobby them in a bid to have the legislation rejected when it comes to a vote in parliament, reports the Christian Institute.

This proved problematic last week, as Sarah Newton, the Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth, said leaflets handed out in her area wrongly implied she supported the group. She said she was angry at the misrepresentation and intended to seek legal advice.

Campaign director of C4M, Colin Hart, said: “Our local activists are fired up to oppose these undemocratic proposals from a Government that is increasingly looking out of touch with ordinary men and women.

“MPs should expect their local voters to press them on where they stand on the redefinition of marriage and why the leaders of the three main parties continue to make this a top priority when poll after poll shows that the policy does not enjoy popular support and voters don’t believe the PM’s motives on introducing the changes.”

Figures collated by the Coalition for Equal Marriage show that 330 MPs have said in interviews or letters to constituents that they will support David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s planned legislation. In contrast just 126 have said that they oppose the legislation.

Some Parliamentarians have already predicted that the bill could face difficulty in the upper chamber. Equal marriage opponent Stuart Jackson MP tweeted in December that it would get “massacred”.

A ComRes poll for the Coalition for Marriage last week showed that three quarters of Conservative peers and 67% of cross-bencher peers surveyed said the government should call a halt to its plans to introduce equal marriage.

However, in a sign the government remains determined to get its planned equal marriage legislation on the statute book within this year, Culture Secretary Maria Miller has refused to rule out using the Parliament Act to override the Lords in the event the bill becomes stalled.  

Out4Marriage, the equal marriage campaign group said that it “looks forward with anticipation for the publication of the first draft of the bill and for the opportunity for MPs to finally show whether or not they support equality.”

Yesterday, a letter to David Cameron from the former Archbishop of Canterbury, containing legal advice prepared for the Coalition for Marriage, warned that the protections put in place to protect religious freedom could be chalenge-able.