The Leader of the House of Commons Andrew Lansley has announced his support for equal civil marriage and says he is “looking forward” to the publication of the government’s response to this year’s consultation.

An announcement by the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), where Culture Secretary Maria Miller is responsible for overseeing the equal marriage policy, is due early next month.

Former health secretary and south Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley told the Royston Weekly News:

“My personal view is that I am in support of equal civil marriage, but I am also clear that the position of the churches must be protected, and that no church should be compelled to conduct same-sex marriages unless they wish to do so.

“I am looking forward to the publication of the government’s response to the consultation soon, which will set out more detail on the way forward.”

In his current job Mr Lansley is responsible for arranging government business and is likely to have a role in steering equal marriage legislation through the Commons.

Meanwhile, several other Conservative MPs have announced their opposition to the government’s reform.

Tory MP David Tredinnick, who represents Hinckley in southwest Leicestershire, has told his local newspaper that “Marriage has traditionally been used with the intention to bring into the world children by a man and woman. Gays have the rights to civil partnerships recognised by law”.

Mr Tredinnick confirmed he would be “voting against gay marriage”.

Anne Main, the Conservative MP for St Albans, has also spoken of her reservations.

On her website she said:

“My constituents made a powerful and forceful argument to retain the current definition of marriage. I have said to them as I have said to hundreds of my constituents since this issue arose that I am very sympathetic to the view that marriage should remain as the union between one man and one woman”.

The MP added: “We have not yet been told when this bill will come before the House, however I am keeping a close eye on this issue and following the debate closely.”

Earlier this week, Tory MP Sir Edward Garnier told a constituent that gay couples in civil partnerships should feel free to describe their relationships as a marriage, although it should not have to require a change in the law.