Ann Widdecombe Wants A Referendum On Gay Marriage

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Ann Widdecombe has called for a national referendum to be held on the introduction of gay marriage.

Writing in her Daily Express column on Wednesday, the former senior Conservative MP said the government and media was unfairly arguing that it was only the Church that was opposed to the plans.

"So as this is the most fundamental change to society in centuries, let David Cameron ask the people what they want. If he insists on pushing ahead then I challenge him to hold a referendum," she said.

"The redefinition of marriage is too big an issue for the state to foist on an unwilling population."

Widdecombe is a committed Christian who stepped down from parliament in 2010 having failed in her bid to become Speaker of the House of Commons. She converted to Catholicism in 1993, leaving the Church of England following the ordination of women in 2009.

There have only been two UK wide referendums since 1973. The first was on Britain's membership of the European Economic Community in 1975 and the other was on switching the electoral system to the Alternative Vote in 2010.

David Cameron has urged his party to back the proposals, arguing that Conservatives should support the idea commitment.

"Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other," he told the Tory party conference last year.

“So I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative."

Widdecombe, who served as Cameron's shadow home secretary, recently stoked controversy by promoting the idea that gay people can be made straight.

"Anybody can get help for anything from psychotherapists in this country except apparently gays who do not want to be gay," she said earlier this month.