STRATFORD-ON-AVON MP Nadhim Zahawi came out in support of gay marriage this week, describing it as a "Conservative value."
Mr Zahawi said: "I think as Conservatives we should be supporting civil partnerships moving towards marriage between a man and a man, and a woman and a woman, because having a fabric of society that is held together by strong relationships is a conservative value."
He was debating with fellow Conservative MP, Peter Bone, in reaction to an assertion made by Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the most senior Catholic in Britain, that the government’s plan to legalise gay marriage is 'madness' and a 'grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right'.
Mr Zahawi said: "Conservatives believe in strong relationships that hold together through thick and thin."
"It goes to the heart of what a Conservative is," he added.
Couples in civil partnerships at the moment are not technically married, but they have the same rights and benefits as married couples.
The MP thinks it is time to legalise calling gay couples in this situation married if they so wish. "Everybody already does in the real world by the way," he said.
Dismissing the cardinal’s comments, he added: "Marriage is no longer the sole purview of the church; people can choose to marry outside the church."
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