Clegg set to open the way for churches to hold gay marriages

Via The Independent:

Nick Clegg will allow Parliament to go further in its plans to legalise gay marriage and enable churches and other religious institutions to conduct the ceremonies, The Independent has learned…

In a letter to the Quakers, Unitarian and Free Christian churches and Liberal Judaism, who all want to conduct same-sex marriages, Mr Clegg indicated that religious groups could be given the option.

He said: “No religious organisation who does not wish to conduct a same-sex marriage should be forced to do so. But religious liberty means allowing those churches and organisations who want to open their doors and welcome same-sex couples to do so, as much as it means respecting the rights of those who do not.” He added: “It is Liberal Democrat party policy, and my personal view, that those organisations who do wish to conduct same-sex marriages, should be free to do so. It is not the place of government to mandate religious organisations to conduct gay marriages. But nor is it the place of government to ban them from doing so.”

The point about what other religions want is an important one, both in its own right and also because it puts the opposition of some other Christians in a rather different light. Why should the law specially privilege the (official) view of the Catholic Church over those other Christians want to do illegal?

Railing against the state legislating over marriage often sounds like an issue of church versus state; in reality it is harking back to the less glorious past of Christian infighting to demand that the law should permit only some Christians to follow their own faith.

* Mark Pack is Party President and Co-leader of the party. He is editor of Liberal Democrat Newswire.

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in News.


  • Of course, it’s difficult to know to what extent Clegg is responsible for the tenor of the coverage by the Independent, but I do think it’s a typical ta ctical blunder on his part to raise this issue at this time. It plays completely into the hands of the scaremongering by some religious elements. I’m sure they will be saying “We told you so” in reaction to this story.

  • Just remember what John Sentamu said, on Andrew Marr, when he was asked about how he felt about the government proposals to allow Civil Partnerships to take place in church (as now happens).

    He said;

    “I live in a liberal democracy and I want equality for everybody. I cannot say the Quakers shouldn’t do it. Nor do I want somebody to tell me the Church of England must do it or the Roman Catholic Church must do it..”

    What moral authority do the Catholic leadership, or CoE leadership, or Muslim Council of Britain, have to tell other religions that they cannot follow their own beliefs, and to seek to deny those other religions the freedom they demand for themselves?

  • I went to a blessing ceremony of a same sex partnership in a Unitarian church last July.
    The service was led by a Catholic priest.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • David Raw
    “Very few things you need photo ID for”.............some people must lead the life of a hermit. Driving licence, railcard, disabled parking badge, passpo...
  • Alex Macfie
    John Littler: "There is also the LIberal Party running Australia" but it isn't a small-L liberal party, and does not claim to be so. It doesn't even belong to L...
  • Malc
    Are there really "11 million unpaid carers looking after loved ones at home"? Or are the vast majority just families and friends helping each other out like ...
  • Michael 1
    @Ruth Bright I appreciate the point but it appears that you don't need *photo* id to get married if you were born before 1st Jan 1983 -
  • Steve Magner
    As someone who was an active party member from 1973 to 2016 can anybody tell me whether the Lib Dems are a centre party or a radical centre left party I genuin...