Nadine Dorries has been accused of comparing same-sex marriage to incest and criticised by a gay rights charity after tweeting "if the gay marriage bill takes sex out of marriage could a sister marry a sister to avoid inheritance tax?"
In a series of postings over the weekend, the MP laid into the equal marriage bill, echoing a Telegraph article on the subject before it returns to the House of Commons on 20 May.
In it commentator Charles Moore argued: "The government is introducing, for the first time, a definition of marriage which has no sexual element. Yet it refuses to face the logical consequence of this surprising innovation. If sexual intercourse is not part of the definition of same-sex marriage.. Why should father not marry son? Why shouldn’t heterosexual bachelor chum marry heterosexual bachelor chum?"
Dorries went on to defend her first tweet, saying she was merely musing on Moore's article and posted: "Legally, marriage is wholly about sex" and adding "legal definition of marriage is the basis of the law itself, at present it's based on definition of consummation."
She continued "If sex is removed from the legal definition of gay marriage. If it can't take place in a church, what is gay marriage? What defines it? If the answer is love, if legally is only link between gay/straight + marriage is being redefined to accommodate, why do we need marriage?"
She added: "Gay marriage comes back to Parliament in 10 days. If Cameron wants to lose Conservative party fifty seats, he must keep on pushing through"
Andy Wasley, from Stonewall, told the Huffington Post UK: "Once again we’re reminded that opponents to equal marriage seem to have just one thing on their mind – and that’s sex. When opponents resort to making such silly statements you do sense they worry they’re losing the argument."
Dorries has been outspoken on the subject of same-sex marriage before, suggesting on the Conservative Home website last May that gay people do not support gay marriage. She wrote “Gay marriage is a policy which has been pursued by the metro elite gay activists and needs to be put into the same bin. I have yet to meet a gay couple in my constituency or beyond who support it; in fact, the reaction has been quite the opposite.
“Gay couples are no different from heterosexual couples and yet this policy transforms them into political agitators who have set themselves against the church and community"
Nadine Dorries' office was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.