Tory resigns over gay marriage issue
Life-long Conservative and chairman of the Somerton and Frome branch of the Conservative party Edmund Costelloe has quit over the Prime Minister's stance over gay marriage.
Mr Costelloe has accused David Cameron of taking a fundamentally un-Conservative stance over the issue.
Mr Costelloe has been a member of the Conservative Party for 49 years, chairman of the Somerton & Frome branch since March 2010 and has been a vice chairman of the Somerset Conservatives.
In his resignation speech to members of the Executive Council he said he had always been a Conservative through and through and that remained the case.
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He said: "What has changed is the leadership's un debated and ill thought out attack on marriage between a man and a woman for the procreation of children.
This is a fundamentally "un-Conservative" stance to take.
"David Cameron and a group of colleagues have utterly lost touch with the grass roots of the Conservative Party, the majority of whom are outraged by this attack on natural and historic family values. The Prime Minister justifies this spontaneous policy change by saying marriage is so good it should be extended to same sex couples. Meanwhile, the urgent need to address the anomaly of low-income married parents being better off tax-wise if separated and the lack of legal safeguards for single mothers in stable relationships should their partner die remains un addressed."
Mr Costelloe said that civil partnerships were vital to give equal legal status as well as tax and inheritance rights to same sex partnerships.
"But the word 'marriage' will for me always mean society's endorsement of a man and a woman joining in matrimony for the procreation of children."