Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is set to open the channels to allow the UK Government’s plans for marriage equality to extend to ceremonies in churches and other religious institutions.

According to the Independent, Mr Clegg wishes to broaden the government’s existing position – which is aimed solely on equalising civil marriage laws.

The paper also revealed that a poll of its readers showed a majority of people want the government to ignore public consultation exercises and press ahead with legalising marriage for same-sex couples.

Mr Clegg has written to the Quakers, Unitarian and Free Christian churches and Liberal Judaism -  bodies and denominations that wish to conduct same-sex marriages. In the letter he wrote: “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.

“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.”