Hundreds of thousands of people have signed the Coalition for Marriage (C4M) petition since its launch in February.
Colin Hart, C4M campaign director, said the huge number of signatures — more than 437,000 at the time of writing — showed the strength of opposition to plans announced by Lynne Featherstone, the equalities minister, to introducing same-sex marriage.
Mr Hart said, ‘There has been a staggering response to the C4M petition, launched last month, which shows just how many ordinary men and women care about this issue.
‘What has been particularly interesting is the jump in numbers backing the petition since the Government unveiled its sham consultation. I hope the Government will consider the growing opposition to their proposals, which are being pushed through without the British people being given an opportunity to make their views clear’.
He pointed to a recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, which called into question the legal basis of the Government’s arguments for making this change.
Currently, marriage is defined as the voluntary union between one man and one woman. C4M contends that as civil partnerships already provide the same legal rights to same-sex couples there is no need to change this ancient institution.
Ben Bradshaw, the former Labour minister, described the Government’s plans as ‘pure politics’. Interviewed in US newspaper the Washington Post, Mr Bradshaw said, ‘This isn’t a priority for the gay community, which already won equal rights with civil partnerships.’ The gay community ‘never needed the word marriage’, he added.