Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale's gay marriage views criticised

Sir Roger Gale says he understands why some people want to change the law, but he does not agree

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A councillor has called a public meeting to discuss a Conservative MP's comments about same-sex marriage.

In a letter to a newspaper, Sir Roger Gale, Conservative MP for Thanet, said he opposed the Coalition government's plan to allow gay marriage.

Defending his remarks later, he said he believed marriage was unique to the union between a man and a woman.

Councillor Ian Driver said he had been contacted by "outraged" constituents who wanted to register their "disgust".

In his letter to Thanet Extra, Sir Roger said he believed that marriage described the union, in church or out of it, of one man and one woman, and that removing husband and wife from official documents took "equality into a realm that is almost Stalinist in its political correctness".

He asked: "Will Shakespeare, Milton and The Holy Bible be rewritten also?"

'Bigotry and prejudice'

Mr Driver, an Independent member of Thanet District Council, said: "I have been contacted by many local people from all sorts of backgrounds who think Gale's comments are both stupid and provocative and could be the cause of tension in the community.

"That's why I have agreed to chair the meeting.

"It's time to make it clear that there is no place for bigotry and prejudice in Thanet especially from Members of Parliament."

He added that the comments had been "deliberately timed" to coincide with a meeting of Thanet District Council on 19 April at which the local authority could become the first in England to vote in support of gay marriage.

Church opposition

The protest meeting is being held on 12 April at the Margate Media Centre, in Margate.

Earlier this month, the government launched a 12-week consultation on the issue.

All three main party leaders have said they would like to see a law which allows same sex marriages before the next general election in 2015.

The proposal has been fiercely opposed by some senior church figures, as well as a number of other Conservative MPs.

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