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Yorkshire Tory MP: Same-sex marriage is being forced on churches

November 25, 2012
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Conservative MP for Dewsbury Simon Reevell has become the latest MP to suggest that churches will be forced to conduct same-sex marriages despite government assurances.

Writing for Conservative Home, Mr Reevell warned that it would be hard to maintain a legal opt-out for religious organisations if equal marriage arrives on the statute book.

The MP cited comments made by former justice minister Crispin Blunt.

In June, during a BBC interview, Mr Blunt conceded that the government’s aim “to protect, indeed proscribe, religious organisations from offering gay marriage” may be “problematic”.  

However, earlier this month, Maria Miller, the culture secretary and minister for equalities, confirmed that gay couples would be prevented from taking religious organisations to court, if they declined a request to provide a marriage ceremony.

Mrs Miller said gay couples would not be able to use the European Convention on Human Rights to argue their case in such circumstances.

However, Mr Reevell remains unconvinced by the government’s position and said:

“It doesn’t require years of legal training to realise that there may well be a problem with legislation that identifies a particular problem so serious that the law must be changed to address it – in this case discrimination against same-sex couples who wish to marry – but which then seeks to allow some people to carry on doing what it has defined as unlawful, refusing to conduct same-sex marriage services”.

The MP also claims equal marriage is not an important matter for his constituents in his marginal Yorkshire seat.

“The question for individuals to judge is whether the current imbalance is so great that parliament should legislate, notwithstanding that eventually such legislation will be enforced on the conscience of the church,” concluded Mr Reevell.

Over the weekend it was revealed that more than 100 Conservative MPs have expressed concerns over David Cameron’s plans to allow same-sex marriage.

More: Conservative Home, conservative mp, conservative mps, crispin blunt, David Cameron, England, equal marriage, european convention on human rights, gay marriage, marriage equality, same sex marriages, Simon Reevell, tory mp, tory mps

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