Coffee House

Maria Miller holds gay marriage briefing to reassure nervous Tory MPs

11 December 2012

9:21 PM

11 December 2012

9:21 PM

After giving her statement to the House of Commons on the government’s plans for gay marriage, Maria Miller held a meeting with Tory MPs. I understand that the meeting was a question-and-answer session designed to help reassure Tories about the ‘quadruple lock’.

It was well-attended, although apparently the Secretary of State was around 25 minutes late, which meant Peter Bone left early to make another appointment. This was immediately interpreted as a walkout in protest from Bone, who is one of the more vocal opponents of the legislation. I spoke to Bone this evening, who said ‘I wasn’t storming out: it was a private Q&A meeting with Maria Miller who was 25 minutes late’.

But even though he didn’t storm out, Bone is still not happy or reassured by today’s announcements. He says:

‘I thought the consultation was gerrymandered: they discounted the petition against gay marriage. Stalin would have been very proud of that state of affairs.’


There are some Tory MPs poring over today’s announcement to work out whether they now have the confidence to back the legislation in the light of the quadruple lock to protect those religious institutions that object. But one MP who is not convinced by the repeated assurances offered by Miller is Mark Pritchard, who continues to believe that churches could be taken through the courts and forced to conduct gay ceremonies. He says:

‘My view is that although the Prime Minister is well meaning in the safeguards that he says have been provided, these are unlikely to stand up to legal test. It will be up to the courts, not politicians to decide the future of same sex marriages in mosques, temples, synagogues and churches.

‘It is highly likely that a gay group against gay marriage will emerge over the coming months.’

Similarly, Stewart Jackson is concerned that the Catholic Church, which is not protected by the lock, could fall foul of the new legislation.

While Miller was, as I said earlier, very respectful in the way she answered questions from Chris Bryant to Matthew Offord, there is a hope that once this legislation has passed and certain Tories have expressed their view in a free vote, that all will be forgiven and forgotten. Brian Binley (of chambermaid and caretaker fame) doesn’t agree. He has added fuel to the row by releasing an angry letter to the Prime Minister in which he says ‘I find it difficult to remember a time when the party’s leader in government failed consistently to chime with the natural instincts of our supporters’. You can read the letter in full here, but in summary, it builds on the theme of all of Binley’s previous angry verdicts on the Prime Minister.

This isn’t going to stop the legislation going through, but it does mean that the Prime Minister has got work to do to give his backbenchers confidence that he is on their side. Perhaps a little tax break for married couples wouldn’t go amiss…

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Show comments
  • Cis

    The answer to this is surely to re-order the civil procedure to provide:

    – a single, basic form of civil marriage before a licensed person,
    replacing the civil partnership and available to all couples who are free to marry, capable of entering into marriage and doing so of their own free will;

    – provided that the wording of the single, basic form was included and
    a licensed person was present to validate the marriage, the rest of a
    wedding ceremony could be as the couple wished and their venue

    – any venue licensed to host such civil marriages would be obliged to
    provide the service to both heterosexual and homosexual couples;

    – any secular or religious venue could choose to apply for a licence
    on these terms; and

    – unlicensed venues could conduct their own forms of marriage but
    these would have no status in UK law. A couple who would only regard
    themselves as married after a particular form of marriage at an
    unlicensed venue would have to go through the basic civil procedure,
    whether before or after their preferred ceremony, to acquire legal
    married status.

    Would this affect the number of religious marriages? Not among the truly
    religious; nor, probably, among those who want the setting of a
    particularly pretty or fashionable but unlicensed venue for their
    wedding video and photographs; while those for whom getting married
    is mostly an excuse to dress up and throw a party are more
    likely to continue to choose from the broad range of secular
    locations already open to them.

  • Seasurfer1

    Deacon Nick Donnelly, Is partly right. However the Churches will finish with Marriage and refresh the Sacrament of Matrimony as a Union between a Man and a Woman. This could make it difficult for Cameron to meddle.
    THE MAN IS LOSING VOTES at an unholy rate.

  • Seasurfer1

    I picked this article up which is circulating at “Internet
    Scale or Cybernet speed” around the Church Community. Cameron will lose his natural Conservative Voters if he carries on with this saga.

    UK government to remove sexual consummation from marriage law to allow unnatural marriage

    By Deacon Nick Donnelly, on May 29th, 2012

    Edward Leigh, a Catholic Conservative MP, has expressed outrage at David Cameron’s plans to remove the requirement for sexual consummation from UK marriage law to allow unnatural ‘marriages’ between homosexual persons.

    Edward Leigh claimed it would reduce marriage to the level of a civil partnership — an option already available to gay people. ’It will have profound effects on the ability of individuals to have a marriage annulled. This is important to Catholics for whom annulment is permitted by the church, but divorce is not.’

    Mr Leigh warned of a rash of legal challenges if the need to consummate a marriage is removed.

    Protect the Pope comment: The reason why David Cameron wants to remove the requirement for sexual consummation from UK marriage law is that homosexuals are incapable of ‘ordinary and complete’ sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. The unnatural sexual acts that homosexuals and lesbians perform on each other obviously render them incapable of entering into marriage as understood and practiced for thousands of years.

    Instead of recognizing the truth of the situation David Cameron and the Coalition government plan to go further down the path of madness by removing ordinary and complete sexual intercourse from the definition of marriage. By removing conjugal sex and the inherent capacity for children from marriage Cameron is reducing marriage to a legal contract between two people. If he succeeds in his plans, PM David Cameron will have broken the perennial link between human nature and marriage, turning it into a legal fiction.

  • Davidh

    Bone is comparing the government to Stalin? You just know he’s run out of logical arguments and is simply spluttering. I’m no fan of the government but I don’t think they send large numbers of people to gulags without trial or murder their political opponents.

    • JamesdelaMare

      David H – If Bone MP compared Cameron’s government to Stalin’s, then it won’t be because people are being sent to gulags in the wilds of Scotland and Wales, or are being murdered. It will be because there’s a clique of self-interested, self-perpetuating ministers with idiotic ideas overturning the established traditions of the country and our society without thought of the consequences, and then punishing the population by penalties and taxation to keep them under control and unable to influence the political future or MPs under the whips’ party control.

  • Malfleur

    Fortunately, Cameron and Clegg seem to be keen on setting up secret courts in Olde England – it will make for so much quicker a trial once we get our hands on them…

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Miller may have her ‘quadruple lock’ but dave and his EU/ECHR cohorts have a quintuple bucket slime to wash it away.

  • William Blakes Ghost

    Only David Cameron’s Government could turn the institution of marriage into a back street abortion. The way this legislation is being carved up (and I have no issue with gay couples having the same legal relationship rights as heterosexual couples) is a disgrace. The stupidity of this government reaches new heights as each day dawns,

    As Boris inferred we’ll be marrying three men and their dog soon enough…..

  • MirthaTidville

    It takes a rare talent in incompetence to totally mess up everything that one touches in the Political arena no matter what the cause. But by every yardstick and measure it is a talent that Cameron has in abundance. Usually born of arrogance and a singular inability to think anything through.

    • JamesdelaMare

      MT – No, arrogance isn’t connected to an insular inability to think anything through, except that he will brazen out the utter stupidity and incompetence which characterises this wretched government, and that may be perceived as arrogance. But who, please, is going to do any better?

      Rock bottom, grass roots Conservatives of the like of average D.Mail readers (who all complain) couldn’t run anything. Almost nobody supposes UKIP has the ability to run anything if by some extraordinary turn of fate it found itself in office. We are sure Labour can’t and are even more certain the Liberals can’t. What are we left with? Not even an army to take control now!

      The position in which we’re in must be unprecedented in our history. Here we have a junior, unimportant minister, whom most people will never have heard of until now, suddenly speaking for a British government, the successor of centuries of government development in the Mother of Parliaments, to tell the world that we’re overturning the foundation stone of family and social life that has existed in every community in the world for thousands of years – for the sake of appeasing perhaps one percent of the population who are homosexual! Or fewer than one percent who think they should be married!

      No! Marriage is unquestionably, unarguably and genuinely only between people of different sexes. That is its form and its substance. There is no other way whatsoever the term can be used for any other type of relationship, however affectionate the parties may be towards each other. Mrs Miller should never make any announcement that erodes the true and valued meaning of marriage.

      • HooksLaw

        Your problem is that homosexuality exists and exists in the 21st century. We might all wish it did not, but sadly that is it the point. The reality is as we find it. It does and it is not something that these days is ignored or brushed under the carper it is something we live with.

        The fact that you and your fellow bigots cannot grasp this point makes you rather pathetic.

        Marriage? Yes I’m married and its all very well. but I am not part of some sacred god given institution. Do you intent to excommunicate divorcees?

        • Colonel Mustard

          “but I am not part of some sacred god given institution.”

          That is just you, that is. Don’t presume it represents some infallible certainty superior to the opinions and beliefs of “bigots”. In fact you precisely represent what is wrong with this “debate” and the current nature of politics in the UK. That to disagree with a presumed and unproven consensus is to attract approbation and abuse intended to undermine the very right to dissent. In that sense your position is not an advocacy but rather a zealot’s crusade where your opponents are characterised in terms which seek to deny them the right of even articulating disagreement.

          You should be ashamed of yourself.

        • Hexhamgeezer

          Like crime in multi-storey car parks your ‘reply’ is wrong on so many levels.

          What a tedious splenetic little creature you are.

        • JamesdelaMare

          Hookslaw – It isn’t my problem that homosexuality exists. It’s nothing to do with me. The problems it causes are problems in society because so many find its practices unpleasant, it involves a small minority, and because those who are homosexual seem these days to spend so much time and energy promoting themselves and their sexuality.

          This isn’t a question of bigotry either – although it seems common among some to class those they disagree with as bigots. The question is whether marriage, which is essentially a special relationship between a male and a female, should be usurped by homosexuals to imply that their friendship is respectable in the eyes of society. The politicians – ever conscious of vote-catching and the need to be perceived as up-to-date in their thinking and attitudes – have cashed in on the marriage idea and now use it for their own ends.

          • Davidh

            Homosexuality causes problems in society… many find its practices unpleasant… they spend so much time and energy promoting their sexuality… homosexuals imply their friendship is respectable… These are your arguments? If that’s not bigotry then I wouldn’t know what is.

            Gays are about the most harmless group of people out there and welcoming them into the institution of marriage can only strengthen that institution. If in-your-face sexuality is a problem for you then blame the media / celebrity culture that has nothing to do with gays and everything to do with selling useless consumer products.

            Actually, I think you really enjoy all this thinking about buggery. Just imagining it brings on a hot frenzy of suppressed passion in you. Go on – break out of your closet and be FREE!!!

            • TomTom

              Why not persecute them instead ? There is no level of accommodation that reduces the cries of victimhood, so why not make victimhood justified and persecute homosexuality as Christianity is persecuted ? There is no core to the value system of this society and it might be time for a Referendum so these laws do not apply in areas of Christians or Muslims ? Maybe there should be separate zones with Muslim Areas and Christian Areas just as Orthodox Jews have a “eruv”

            • JamesdelaMare

              DavidH – They are facts. People do find those practices unpleasant. There is much promotion of homosexuality, albeit under the guise of the usual “awareness” word. It isn’t bigotry to state facts.

              And I do agree with you. Indeed, you wouldn’t seem to know what bigotry is. There is no difficulty about homosexuals being married, as long as it’s women they’re to marry. Many have done so for generations. Marriage is only between man and woman.

              • Davidh

                Gosh, that’s very gracious of you…

          • Madame Merle

            @ JamesdelaMare

            Very well said.
            Homosexuality was rightly decriminalised but, as with many a liberal reform, the pendulum swings too far.

            Homosexuals are innate narcissists and, as you so rightly say, spend much of their time advertising themselves and evangelising the gay lifestyle. Why should the rest of us be subjected to this perpetual debate about the rights of a group of vociferous sexual deviants?

            They were probably happier in the old days when, in secret, they could indulge in victim status while dodging all manner of dangerous encounters.

            Now the gays are bored so they choose to pass their time challenging the law and trying to push the boundaries of social convention.

        • Daniel Maris

          Your problem is that Islam exists and exists in the 21st century. That is the reality as we find it. It’s not something that can be ignored. The fact that you and your fellow bigots cannot grasp this point and continue to oppose legal polygamy in this country makes you rather pathetic.

        • Vulture

          If he’s a bigot, Hookie, then every human society of which we have a record was run by bigots too, since they all exalted man-woman marriage and to a greater or lesser degree discriminated against homosexuality as being against the long-term interests of society.

          Why is it that the uber-liberalism that has infected western society over the last half century is now regarded as the font of all wisdom? IT’sd insufferable arrogance – typical of Cameron of course – to dispense with the accumulated wisdom of the ages.

          Those who will form the majority in our society by 2061 – ie. the Muslims – will not tolerate it at all. Gay people better enjoy their marriages while they can – they won’t last long.

          • TomTom

            “person who has strong, unreasonable beliefs and who thinks that anyone
            who does not have the same beliefs is wrong” Does that define a “bigot” in terms that Hook’s Law recognises when he looks in a mirror ?

          • Chris

            Exactly. My moslem mini cab driver-born here -says his parents think now, they have come to Sodom, The driver says a lot of the alientaion which he says leads to moslem extremism, stems from this absolute dislike of western decadence.

        • TomTom

          Homosexuality exists so does Incest and that is probably much more common. Do you propose following Belgium and abolishing laws on Incest ? In January 2010 France re-instituted laws against Incest whgich had been abolished as a “religious taboo” during the French Revolution. It seems bizarre to risk the Constitution of the country in this way and the Act of Union 1701 will fall if Cameron continues. Frankly I don’t mind on a personal level because I want a New Constitutional Settlement more akin to the 1640s which was derailed in 1660.

      • TomTom

        I think there are lots of people who can run government far better than the clowns so far selected

      • Alastair_93

        Gay marriage already exists in other countries. So your last paragraph is bunk.

    • Chris

      Paying to much attention to Osborne sadly, is highly relevant.

      If we sacked Cameron & Osborne-who could do better?

  • David Trant

    Amazing isn’t it, after 300 years what will bring about the downfall of the Tory Party is ‘Gay Marriage’ RIP, send no flowers.

  • albertcooper

    Sodom & Gormorah,

  • the viceroy’s gin

    When the Cameroons are euthanized, they’re going to look back at actions such as this and realize how destructive they were, to them first and foremost. It’s not just what they’re doing, but the way they’re doing it. The celebratory and matter of fact tone of the Speccie teenager’s blogpost pretty much exemplifies this.

    But I’m starting to believe that the Cameroons aren’t really concerned about their coming euthanization, and don’t really care about anything more than putting down conservatives. Rather than suffering any conservative impulse, they seem to prefer that the Millipedes take over. There’s really no other way to read their actions.

    The Cameroons are pure leftists. It’s that simple.

    • telemachus

      But not left enough

      • Kevin

        Right. It will not be enough until everyone has left them.

  • Adrian Drummond

    It still remains an absolute absurdity regardless of anyway one might consider it.

    • telemachus

      Gay marriage?
      What happens if a gay marriage is not consummated?
      This one is being flogged to absurdity
      Cameron has made a political blunder
      It has all been said
      Leave it

    • George_Arseborne

      The divide amongst the Tories shows the party is still that nasty.

      • WIlliam Blakes Ghost

        Applauds, Cheers, Encore Encore!


        Brown, McBride, Balls, Whelan, Campbell, Mandelson, Watson, Simon, not forgetting McNulty, Joyce, Devine, MacShane, Illsley, Chaytor, Moran and last but not least Woolas

        Now what were you saying about the ‘nasty’ party ………?

        • George_Arseborne

          Nasty Party , not everyone in the Tories ranks(Tea Party) are in favour of this and even those in favour including Cameron is pretending. One rule for the other churches another rules for the C of E. What a nasty discrimination? Are they not nast?

          • TomTom

            The Church of England has had separate rules for over 1000 years….do try read the 39 Articles – or maybe you should study some history before sounding off like a petulant 10 year old

      • TomTom

        True. Cameron is a real piece of work. Spoiled rich kd who never had to live with the consequences of his actions. A self-opinionated jerk who never had to do a real job with real people – like his sidekicks Clegg and Osborne – sons of rich men who shielded themselves from consequences with daddy’s money but were mummy’s boys throughout. You are so right George….how could Tories get taken in by such jerks ?