Clegg backs church marriages in UKAround the World Thursday, July 12th, 2012
LONDON – The U.K. deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, has voiced personal support for religious same-sex marriage rights. In an interview to mark last week’s World Pride festival in London, Clegg said churches should not be prevented from conducting same-sex weddings if they wished.
Clegg told the London Evening Standard: “This is a personal view at the moment, but I think that in exactly the same way that we shouldn’t force any church to conduct gay marriage, we shouldn’t stop any church that wants to conduct gay marriage. I don’t see why two individuals who love each other and want to show commitment to each other should not be able to do so in a way that is socially recognized as being marriage.”
The Guardian reported that U.K. prime minister, David Cameron is facing pressure from many Conservative members of parliament (MPs) over the government’s plans to legalize gay marriage. The government says religious institutions will not be compelled to preside over gay weddings.
Clegg said: “I have a very strong sensation that once the dust settles everyone will look back and think: ‘What on earth was the controversy about? It just seems a perfectly natural thing to do.’ I don’t think it is anything to get hot under the collar about, or aggressive or political.”
But Anglican bishops fear that church teaching that marriage is between “one man and one woman” would eventually be challenged.
Colin Hart, campaign director of the Coalition for Marriage, said, “This is yet another demonstration, if one was needed, as to why the proposals to rewrite the definition of marriage should be ditched. Mr. Clegg is shifting the goal posts in a totally transparent attempt to garner support for his party ahead of the World Pride festival in London. He is playing politics with marriage, despite poll after poll showing that the public are increasingly hostile to the government’s plans.”
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