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MP Offord slammed for comparing gay marriage to polygamy
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Criticised: Mr Offord's views on same sex marriage have been labelled "barking" and "offensive"
HENDON MP Matthew Offord has been criticised by a Conservative colleague for his “barking” comments comparing gay marriage to polygamy during a Parliamentary debate on Monday.
This week ministers responded to a consultation on how to legalise same sex marriage, as senior Tories, including Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson, launched a campaign backing gay marriage.
As MPs debated an urgent question on same-sex marriages in churches, Mr Offord asked: “Has the government considered they introduce other forms of marriage, such as polygamy, and if not when can minorities who believe in such a practice expect their own consultation?”
MP for Finchley and Golders Green Mike Freer, who is openly gay and lives with his civil partner, slammed Mr Offord’s comments.
Mr Freer has been a vocal supporter of gay marriage, arguing that it is consistent with Conservative ideology in strengthening the foundations of society and allowing people to exercise individual choice.
“To suggest that my civil partnership is equal to polygamy is deeply offensive,” he said. “I have no idea how he has come to that view but he is entitled to that opinion however barking it may be.”
But speaking to The Press Mr Offord said he was a supporter of civil partnerships between same sex couples, and that he had been trying to highlight the future risks created by altering the definition of marriage.
He said: “At what stage do you stop? At what stage do we say that we do not want to continue to redefine marriage?
“Why is the government saying there should be same sex marriages? Why should it not also be blood relatives? Why should it not also be polygamists? It seems they are rushing this forward and they have not thought out what the consequences are going to be.”
In May The Press reported that Mr Offord had clashed with civil partners Nick Lansley, 48, and Bernard O’Reilly, 52, after he rejected their request to support gay marriage legislation.
Speaking after this week’s debate, Mr Lansley, of Sunny Gardens Road, Hendon, accused his MP of scaremongering.
He said: “What he is trying to do is say if you allow gay marriage they are going to allow all sorts of things. But we don’t want to redefine marriage. We want to keep marriage as it is and change the entry conditions.”
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Sir Ray Tindle
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