I understand that when the gay marriage bill is published, the Attorney General will make clear that the chance of a legal challenge at the European Court of Human Rights to religious institutions that don’t want to marry gay couples is ‘negligible’. As Isabel says, what wavering Tory MPs think of this legal opinion will be key to determining how they vote.
The debate inside the Tory parliamentary party about this issue is becoming increasingly rancorous. There’s real fury among some MPs about the language being used by some of the opponents of same-sex marriage.
David TC Davies decision to opine on whether parents want gay children has infuriated many MPs. They wonder whether Davies had given any thought to how this dabbling in the stuff of other men’s souls would go down with those he was talking about. A consequence of this is an increasing willingness to have this inter-party debate in public. One Tory MP told me, ‘Tory splits is preferable to Tories don’t like gays.’
It is understandable that gay marriage is causing such divisions in the Tory party—both sides are making conservative arguments to support their position. But having this conversation in civil terms would be preferable to the trading of barbs.