Prime Minister David Cameron
UK Prime Minister David Cameron (DFID - UK Department for International Development)

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Don’t play politics with marriage. That’s the message the Coalition for Marriage is sending in the United Kingdom—and people are responding. More than 407,000 people have signed the Coalition for Marriage’s “Don’t Play Politics With Marriage” petition.

The petition is a response to conservative Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans to legalize same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom. The petition states: “I support the legal definition of marriage which is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. I oppose any attempt to redefine it.”

It’s government policy for e-petitions with more than 100,000 signatures to be considered for debate in the House of Commons.

In response to the backlash, there seems to be some backpedaling going on already. At an Easter reception on April 3, the Coalition for Marriage reports, Cameron met with a group of Christian leaders to make assurances that he only wants to introduce homosexual marriage in registrar offices, not in churches.

The response from Christian leaders: Such assurances are meaningless. The nation’s equality laws would inevitably create the impetus for allowing gay marriage ceremonies in churches.

U.K. Christians have some supporters in parliament. Conservative M.P. Nadine Dorries is among them. Dorries points to a recent poll that reveals 57 percent of Christians are ready to abandon the Conservative Party over the move to legalize gay marriage, which 70 percent of the nation opposes.

“The fact is that many people now look at the Conservative party and are reeling with the realization that this modern party is the one they don’t know, didn’t vote for and no longer represents their views,” says Dorries. “They don’t recognize the values, are confused by the policies and repelled by the elitism.”

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