Culture Secretary Maria Miller has been loudly cheered by delegates at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, after she told them to support marriage rights for same-sex couples.
According to the Telegraph, she told the conference hall that being gay should be no obstacle to a formal union in the eyes of the state:
“Five years ago I stood here and told you that I believed in marriage, and nothing’s changed,” she said. “I still believe in marriage. It’s part of the bedrock of our society.
“The state should not stop two people from making the commitment to be married unless there’s a good reason. I don’t believe being gay is one of them.”
The Huffington Post reported that at least two boos could be heard from the floor of the Symphony Hall after Mrs Miller made the remarks.
Several older party delegates sat stony-faced with their arms crossed – however a large number of younger activists cheered loudly and gave strong applause.
Mrs Miller was given the responsibility of overseeing the coalition’s policy on equal marriage in last month’s reshuffle.
Since then she has moved to quash fears about her suitability for looking after the government’s equalities brief in a series of interventions, including releasing an Out4Marriage video and conducting an interview with PinkNews.co.uk.
The government will issue its official response to this year’s equal marriage public consultation before Christmas.
Senior ministers have repeatedly stressed the current proposals are aimed at the “civil” definition of marriage – whilst not explicitly ruling out legalising religious same-sex weddings.