Clegg voices backing for churches to host gay weddings

Churches and other religious premises should be allowed to host gay weddings, Nick Clegg has said.

The Deputy Prime Minister stressed that he did not want to force any religious group to marry same-sex couples, but said he saw no reason to stop churches from doing so if they chose to.

His comments go beyond the proposals to legalise civil marriages for homosexual men and lesbians, set out in a Government consultation paper which has sparked a furious reaction from some religious groups.

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The proposals, backed by David Cameron, envisage same-sex civil marriage ceremonies in a register office or approved premises but no change to religious marriages, which can only take place between a man and a woman.

Under the proposed reforms, religious premises would continue to be allowed to host civil partnership registrations on a voluntary basis, but without any religious content.

Mr Clegg told the 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.”

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