Top Chipping Norton Tory quits party over gay marriage

Witney Gazette: Cicely Maunder Cicely Maunder

DAVID Cameron has said he is “disappointed” a former mayor of Chipping Norton has resigned from his local Conservative Party Association over gay marriage.

Cicely Maunder, 64, “binned” her party membership after MPs voted to back the legalisation of gay marriage in principle earlier this month.

She has also resigned as the West Oxfordshire Conservative Association’s Chipping Norton branch chairwoman because of her Christian views.

Mr Cameron, Prime Minister and MP for Witney, said he was disappointed, but believed gay marriage was an important step forward for the country.

Asked why she had resigned, Mrs Maunder, who lives in Chipping Norton, said: “Because I am a Christian. If you look up the word ‘marriage’ in a dictionary, it is the joining together of one man and one woman to live legally together.

“I am quite happy for gay partnerships and I have no problem with gay people – I have gay friends.

“But pandering to a minority which insists on being equal is the last straw as far as I am concerned.”

She added: “The other point to make is that gay marriage was not in the manifesto and was not in the Queen’s Speech.

“It just popped up from nowhere and delayed important things like inheritance tax and a referendum on Europe.”

The vote on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was passed with a majority of 225 (400 to 175), but 136 Conservative MPs – almost half the parliamentary party – opposed the bill.

Mrs Maunder, who has worked for the party since 1979 and was made mayor in 1998, said: “I do feel very sad. It was not a decision that I made lightly.”

She said UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage had offered her a job, but said she was “born a Tory” and could not imagine joining any other party.

Mr Cameron said: “I am a strong believer in marriage and I do not want gay people to be excluded from this great institution. However, I know that there are very strong feelings on both sides of the argument and this is why there was a free vote in the House of Commons.

“Whilst the resignation of Cecily Maunder, chairwoman for the Chipping Norton Branch, comes as a disappointment, I voted in favour of these proposals and believe that they are an important step forward for our country.”

Terry Talbot, communications officer for gay event Oxford Pride – who is herself a Christian – said: “If you are going to use Christianity in this issue, there are far more scriptures about judging than about homosexuality.

“I am sad that the ignorance around this issue, which has made me go from married woman in Canada [where gay marriage is already legal] to unmarried here, has not gone away.”

Comments (13)

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10:21am Wed 27 Feb 13

benjamin says...

Well done Cecily. We left Chipping Norton many years ago but we fully support you. David Cameron will regret this legislation eventually, although I think he will be happy to lose the next election anyway. We wrote to our Conservative MP. Who replied that he would vote against the bill, and did so. Keep up the good work.
Gill and Gerald Leader. Poole.
Well done Cecily. We left Chipping Norton many years ago but we fully support you. David Cameron will regret this legislation eventually, although I think he will be happy to lose the next election anyway. We wrote to our Conservative MP. Who replied that he would vote against the bill, and did so. Keep up the good work. Gill and Gerald Leader. Poole. benjamin
  • Score: 2

10:22am Wed 27 Feb 13

Quentin Walker says...

Whether you are for, or against gay marriage, it seems perverse for Mr Cameron to be so focussed on getting the Bill passed when there are much more urgent problems facing the country.
Whether you are for, or against gay marriage, it seems perverse for Mr Cameron to be so focussed on getting the Bill passed when there are much more urgent problems facing the country. Quentin Walker
  • Score: 1

10:24am Wed 27 Feb 13

benjamin says...

Pleased to see that you made Tuesday's Daily Mail.
Pleased to see that you made Tuesday's Daily Mail. benjamin
  • Score: 0

10:31am Wed 27 Feb 13

kelpatrick says...

Fewer bigots in politics is never a bad thing, as these dinosaurs die out the world will improve , she won't be missed .
Fewer bigots in politics is never a bad thing, as these dinosaurs die out the world will improve , she won't be missed . kelpatrick
  • Score: -1

10:32am Wed 27 Feb 13

Lord Palmerstone says...

Yes Benjamin, his heart really doesn't seem to be in it any more. But while the League of Strident Wimmin is doing everything it can to unseat Cleggy by Friday, where's our putsch? DC may not be remotely interested in Conservatism but if his neglect destroys the Party we'll end up with permanent Millipede-and then some much nastier reptiles will emerge from the socialist swamp.
Yes Benjamin, his heart really doesn't seem to be in it any more. But while the League of Strident Wimmin is doing everything it can to unseat Cleggy by Friday, where's our putsch? DC may not be remotely interested in Conservatism but if his neglect destroys the Party we'll end up with permanent Millipede-and then some much nastier reptiles will emerge from the socialist swamp. Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: 1

10:38am Wed 27 Feb 13

Lord Palmerstone says...

kelpatrick wrote:
Fewer bigots in politics is never a bad thing, as these dinosaurs die out the world will improve , she won't be missed .
Well KP, as I said above as Dave treats our Party to benign neglect he leaves the door open to the permanence of the most bigoted dogma of all, completely unreformed since the publication of Das Kapital and I suspect of as much risk to homosexuals as to any other portion of the populace.
[quote][p][bold]kelpatrick[/bold] wrote: Fewer bigots in politics is never a bad thing, as these dinosaurs die out the world will improve , she won't be missed .[/p][/quote]Well KP, as I said above as Dave treats our Party to benign neglect he leaves the door open to the permanence of the most bigoted dogma of all, completely unreformed since the publication of Das Kapital and I suspect of as much risk to homosexuals as to any other portion of the populace. Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: 1

3:07pm Wed 27 Feb 13

benjamin says...

Lord Palmerstone, I had big hopes that Cameron would pull this country round, unfortunately He has modelled himself on Blair but without the charisma. Nothing can save this country now.
Lord Palmerstone, I had big hopes that Cameron would pull this country round, unfortunately He has modelled himself on Blair but without the charisma. Nothing can save this country now. benjamin
  • Score: 0

5:04pm Wed 27 Feb 13

xjohnx says...

Good example of a politician who puts her beliefs above party.

Well done you. Mind you, I think you might well be wrong!
Good example of a politician who puts her beliefs above party. Well done you. Mind you, I think you might well be wrong! xjohnx
  • Score: 0

5:04pm Wed 27 Feb 13

xjohnx says...

Lord Palmerstone wrote:
Yes Benjamin, his heart really doesn't seem to be in it any more. But while the League of Strident Wimmin is doing everything it can to unseat Cleggy by Friday, where's our putsch? DC may not be remotely interested in Conservatism but if his neglect destroys the Party we'll end up with permanent Millipede-and then some much nastier reptiles will emerge from the socialist swamp.
What planet are you on?
[quote][p][bold]Lord Palmerstone[/bold] wrote: Yes Benjamin, his heart really doesn't seem to be in it any more. But while the League of Strident Wimmin is doing everything it can to unseat Cleggy by Friday, where's our putsch? DC may not be remotely interested in Conservatism but if his neglect destroys the Party we'll end up with permanent Millipede-and then some much nastier reptiles will emerge from the socialist swamp.[/p][/quote]What planet are you on? xjohnx
  • Score: 0

12:06pm Thu 28 Feb 13

benjamin says...

Fully agree with you.
Fully agree with you. benjamin
  • Score: 0

1:14pm Thu 28 Feb 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

I think I've worked out what the problem is.

Lexicographers have yet to update the dictionaries with a definition that reflects the law in England.
I think I've worked out what the problem is. Lexicographers have yet to update the dictionaries with a definition that reflects the law in England. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

6:08pm Thu 28 Feb 13

Man on the Green says...

A participant on a BBC radio programme the other day pointed out that most pre-WWII dictionaries define marriage as a union between two people. It was only with the coordinated attempts to turn back the tide of liberation after the war that such notions of exclusivity as those promoted by Ms Maunders were suddenly considered necessary to protect and if required reclaim traditional male preserves. The local Tory party may now be seen as a more inclusive and welcoming place for a new and more considerate generation.
A participant on a BBC radio programme the other day pointed out that most pre-WWII dictionaries define marriage as a union between two people. It was only with the coordinated attempts to turn back the tide of liberation after the war that such notions of exclusivity as those promoted by Ms Maunders were suddenly considered necessary to protect and if required reclaim traditional male preserves. The local Tory party may now be seen as a more inclusive and welcoming place for a new and more considerate generation. Man on the Green
  • Score: 0

1:26pm Fri 1 Mar 13

benjamin says...

I guess there arn't as many gay couples in Eastleigh as David Cameron thought.
I guess there arn't as many gay couples in Eastleigh as David Cameron thought. benjamin
  • Score: 1

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