Lord Waheed Alli, the Labour peer who tabled an amendment in the last government to allow religious civil partnerships, has called for full marriage equality.

Lord Alli said his amendment was a “huge step” but said that all couples must now be given the choice between civil and religious marriage, with faiths given the option to hold gay weddings.

The last Labour government introduced civil partnerships in 2005, allowing gay couples in the UK to have their relationships legally recognised.

In response to calls for full marriage equality, Labour ministers said that civil partnerships offered all the rights and benefits of marriage and were adequate.

Writing on the Labour Uncut blog, Lord Alli said: “Clearly, full equality will only be achieved when civil partnerships are recognised as marriage.

“Just as with my amendment to the Equality Bill, we will need to do it in such a way that respects the religious freedoms of others, so that all couples, including gay couples, have the right to choose between a secular marriage and a religious marriage.”

The coalition government has begun meeting with groups and individuals on how to implement religious civil partnerships.

Yesterday, junior equality minister Lynne Featherstone met representatives from a number of gay groups to discuss the next steps for recognising gay relationships.

However, the Rev Sharon Ferguson of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and Peter Tatchell told PinkNews.co.uk they felt the meeting had “ignored” their main concern, of winning the right to full marriage equality.