The UK’s Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has vowed to fight for the right for LGBT-affirming churches to officiate gay marriage.
‘In the same way we are not going to force religious institutions to offer it when they don’t want to, we shouldn’t stop those who do,’ he said.
‘I certainly will argue for it very forcefully and I think we stand a good chance of winning the argument because it is a very difficult one to argue against.’
Andy Wasley, from Stonewall, said: ‘We’ve always been very clear that no faith group should be obliged to conduct same-sex marriages if it doesn’t wish to.
‘Conversely, we do want faith groups like Liberal and Reform Judaism, the Quakers and the Unitarians to be able to celebrate same-sex couples’ love and commitment in line with their beliefs. This is an important matter of religious freedom.’
In the interview Clegg also talks about LGBT rights and the United Nations, and how he believes that the case for marriage equality is clear.
Under the UK government’s current plans to legalize marriage equality, churches would not be allowed to oversee gay marriages, though under existing law they can officiate gay civil partnerships.
Religious leaders in England and Wales have most of them acted in an overtly hostile manner to plans to reform civil marriage equality, this even though it has been made explicitly clear that religious marriage will be left untouched by the change.
However, there have been several progressive religious groups who have voiced their support for the move, including a number of progressive Jewish groups, the Quakers and Unitarians.