When British PM David Cameron threw his weight behind the proposal for British recognition for gay marriage last year, he said it was because he was a Conservative, not in spite of it. Mr Cameron, like many modern politicians, is not noted for strong religious observance or belief – but Time Montgomerie is different. He is both a prominent Conservative MP, the editor of the ConservativeHome website for Tory activists, and an outspoken Christian. (In 1990 he founded the influential Conservative Christian Fellowship (CCF) with David Burrowes, a Tory MP who now leads the campaign against gay marriage). But in announcing his support for gay marriage, he has used arguments remarkably similar to those of Mr Cameron. Expanding the concept of marriage to include all couples, he says, will not weaken the institution, as the opponents fear, but will strengthen it.
Mr Montgomerie said: “Conservatives should want as many people as possible to live in institutions and social norms that promote stability, faithfulness and compassion. Marriage is an institution at the centre of society. It is because I value it so much that I want it to be extended. This is not about equal rights. It is about extending an incredibly important social institution.” Admitting the Tories previously had a “terrible” record on gay rights, he said: “To put it kindly, it has dragged its feet for a long time.” He pointed out that Mr Cameron had consistently favoured gay rights since becoming party leader.
What David Cameron is embarked upon is an incredibly important project – to make social conservatism fashionable again. Marriage is civilising, stabilising, a hugely important institution for bringing people together. But if marriage is fossilised and exclusive, that has only limited reach. His attempt to enlarge and modernise the institution should not be seen as a threat to marriage but as its saviour.”