A Conservative Party official in the United Kingdom resigned from the party's leadership because of its opposition to letting gay and unmarried couples adopt children, the party said Monday. The resignation is a new blow to embattled Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, who is caught between party modernizers and traditionalists. There are persistent reports that Duncan Smith's leadership is under threat from within the party.
Lawmaker John Bercow quit as the opposition party's spokesman on work and pensions just hours before a House of Commons vote on British adoption laws. "I'm sorry that John feels it necessary to step down from the shadow cabinet on this issue, but clearly it's an issue on which he feels very strongly," Conservative chairwoman Theresa May told the British Broadcasting Corp. Lawmakers were to vote Monday on government proposals to allow unmarried couples to adopt children. Currently, single heterosexuals and gay men and lesbians may adopt children, but unmarried and gay couples may not. Conservative moderates see the vote as a chance for the party to show that it has become more inclusive, but Duncan Smith has ordered his lawmakers to vote against the change.