Half a Million Sign Petition to Protect Definition of Marriage in UK

The Petition Seeks to Defend the Definition of Marriage as Between One Man and One Woman

A petition launched in the United Kingdom in defense of traditional marriage has passed the half million mark.

More than 500,000 people have signed the petition from the Coalition for Marriage (C4M) calling upon the British government, currently led by the Conservative Party, to retain the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

The petition has now been signed by more people than voted in either of Britain's local elections that took place in major cities Birmingham and Manchester. It was launched in opposition to the British government's plan to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.

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A consultation into gay marriage was launched in March but the government stated at the time that the purpose was to discern how to implement the change, not whether it should go ahead.

Colin Hart, Campaign Director of C4M, said the Government's plans were "radical and profoundly undemocratic."

"Changing marriage is not like raising or lowering the rate of VAT. It would have profound implications at all levels of society, and for all age groups," he said. "Marriage has been the bedrock of society for a thousand years. The Government should pause for thought before they unravel an institution that has served Britain so well."

He added, "In today's turbulent, fast-moving world, the continuity of marriage as a union between one man and one woman is something we should be celebrating, not changing.

"This campaign proves that the British people reject the Government's plans to change the definition of marriage. With half a million signatures, they must listen to their voters."

The campaign group's new milestone was reached as British Chancellor George Osborne promised to "focus on the things that really matter."

Hart welcomed the comments by the chancellor and described them as a "watershed moment for the campaign to save marriage."

Polls by ComRes have found a widespread lack of support for the government's plans to redefine marriage. One survey conducted in the run-up to last week's local elections found that three-quarters of Prime Minister David Cameron's constituents who voted for him at the last general election oppose his plans to redefine marriage.

Sixty-five percent of people in his Witney constituency agreed that marriage should continue to be defined as a lifelong exclusive commitment between a man and a woman.

At the same time 72 percent agreed that same-sex relationships should be legally recognized through civil partnerships rather than through redefining marriage.

More than half (56 percent) said that Cameron's decision to make legalizing same-sex marriage a priority left him "out of touch with ordinary voters."

Andrew Hawkins, the Chief Executive of ComRes, said: "Perhaps the most disturbing finding for Conservative strategists, however, is that SSM plays particularly badly among large numbers of its disaffected 2010 voters.

"People who voted Conservative in 2010 but do not intend to now, are 'less likely' to vote for that Party than 'more likely' on the basis of this policy by a ratio of just under three to one.

"In other words, while this policy encourages some 12 percent of former Conservative voters to be more likely to return to the fold, fully 32 percent say it makes them less likely to do so."

Hart said the British government seemed to be accepting that they were wrong on gay marriage.

"The government has instigated a consultation on their proposals, saying that the consultation was about how not if. Until now they have refused to listen to those who opposed redefining marriage. I hope that this flawed decision will now be reversed."

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