Jeremy Hunt: ‘Religious freedom is not just for straight people’
Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, spoke out on Sunday in support of the upcoming equal marriage bill, saying that “religious freedom is not just for heterosexuals”.
Mr Hunt said that nobody should be denied the right to marry in a church, and that people should be allowed to enter into the “sacred” bond of marriage based on their own beliefs.
Mr Hunt, a supporter of the reforms, said on Sunday: “Every year thousands of people choose to marry in a church rather than a register office because they believe marriage is sacred.
“Religious freedom is not just for heterosexuals – we should not deny anyone the right to make a lifelong commitment to another person in front of God if that is what they believe and that is what their church allows.”
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On Monday, in an article in the Times newspaper, Culture Secretary Maria Miller said being gay was not a good reason to prevent couples marrying.
Recognising the split in the Conservative Party over the issue, Mrs Miller conceded: “As a party we have grappled with many decisions that have not been plain sailing and we have not always found easy accord, whether that is within Westminster or within our current coalition.”
She also said the bill would be safe from challenge via the European Court of Human Rights.
It will receive its second reading tomorrow by an overwhelming majority, thanks to support from Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs.
However, Downing Street is anxious that Mr Cameron and Tory supporters of equal marriage are not outnumbered by opponents.
Up to 130 of the party’s 303 MPs are expected to support the bill, with a similar number having indicated their opposition.
More: David Cameron, equal marriage, gay marriage, gay wedding, health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, Maria Miller, marriage, Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, marriage equality, same sex marriage, Same-sex wedding