'Survey snub' for gay marriage
The Government has been warned it has "no mandate" to introduce gay marriage after a survey showed a majority believe it should remain a "life-long" commitment between a man and a woman.
An online survey of 2,004 adults conducted last month has shown 70% agreed with the statement that "marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman".
The survey, commissioned by the group Catholic Voices, was conducted by the polling organisation Comres and has been released as the Government prepares to start a consultation on how to make civil marriage available to same-sex couples this month.
Other findings in the survey showed a majority, at 59%, agreed that stable relationships between same-sex couples should be legally recognised through civil partnerships.
The poll found 84% agreed that children had the best chance in life if raised by their own mother and father in a stable, committed relationship.
Austen Ivereigh, co-ordinator of Catholic Voices, said: "Our poll shows that the Government has no mandate to alter an institution which lies at the foundation of our society.
"British people believe that gay relationships should be recognised by the state through civil partnerships.
"But they are clear that marriage is a unique institution which needs to be promoted because of the benefits to children of being raised by a mother and a father.
"These results are a clear warning to Government that it is at odds with the public on this issue."
The findings of the survey have been released as the Government faces a mounting campaign by Christian groups including the Catholic Church in Britain against plans to introduce gay marriage.