- (Photo: Darren Staples/Reuters)
A top conservative politician in the United Kingdom is drawing criticism after he endorsed the idea of supporting gay marriage in an effort to gain enough votes to win the next election.
George Osborne, Deputy Prime Minister and Chancellor, recently stated that if other conservatives currently in office want to win the majority in parliament or even want to be elected to office they should support gay marriage.
The comments have ignited a firestorm from both sides of the political spectrum, with conservatives angry with the thought of supporting policies in conflict with their beliefs, and liberals up in arms over claims that pandering and flip-flopping to attain office is in the best interest of the public.
"Mr. Osborne appears to believe that being 'socially liberal' is the key to electoral success … In fact, most voters believe fixing the economy and dealing with bread and butter issues about living standards are by far the most important tasks facing the Government," read an editorial in The Daily Express.
"Many longstanding Conservatives are also fed up seeing their party's leadership trampling on their beliefs and depicting anyone who doesn't embrace the full liberal agenda as a bigot," it continued.
There has been longstanding opposition to the government's plans to redefine marriage, with several movements and petitions being created in support of traditional marriage.
With the passing of the Civil Partnership Act in 2004 by former Prime Minister Tony Blair, the government removed any inequalities between heterosexual and homosexual unions.
Within the eyes of the law, many argue the actual necessity of redefining marriage, given the current law of equality afforded to both types of unions.
The campaign against Government plans to redefine marriage had been spearheaded by the Coalition for Marriage, whose petition has been signed by more than 610,000 people.
"The PM and the Chancellor must stop misleading the public. The polls actually show that a majority of voters do not support the redefinition of marriage," Colin Hart, Coalition for Marriage's director, said in a statement.
"It's time for senior politicians – particularly Mr. Cameron, Clegg and Osborne – to get a grip and start talking about the issues that really matter, like reviving the economy, not redefining marriage," he added.