Nearly a thousand Conservatives are due to attend a rally against same-sex marriage at lunchtime today (8 October 2012) in Birmingham.
The event coincides with the Conservative Party conference currently being held in Britain's second largest city, together with news that seven out of 10 local Conservative constituency party chairmen want David Cameron to drop plans to extend marriage to same-sex couples.
Rally speakers include Lord Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, and Anne Widdecombe, who left the Church of England and became a Roman Catholic after opposing women priests, with the backing of David Davis MP.
"Many of these people opposed the gay law reforms of the last decade and now they want to block marriage equality too. They're intolerant and out of touch,” said Peter Tatchell, coordinator of the Equal Love campaign and a prominent human rights campaigner.
He continued: "Staging a rally in support of anti-gay discrimination reawakens fears that the Conservatives are still the nasty party. It's a PR disaster that undermines David Cameron's efforts to rebrand the Tories as modern, inclusive and compassionate."
"If the rally organisers truly do believe in love and marriage, they should welcome the fact that gay couples love each other and want to get married," said Mr Tatchell.
“According to the YouGov poll in June 2012, 71 per cent of the public and 58 per cent of religious people believe that same-sex couples should be permitted to get married in register offices. 70 per cent of the public also support religious institutions being allowed to conduct same-sex marriages if they wish to do so," said Mr Tatchell.
* See the YouGov poll result in full: http://bit.ly/R7Yl5h