Controversial legislation allowing same-sex marriage has been unveiled by government on Friday.
In a statement to the House of Commons, culture secretary Maria Miller insisted that although same-sex marriage would now be allowed in churches, the bill ensured the protection of religious institutions, which had the opportunity to opt out if unwilling to perform the ceremony.
Miller assured that necessary safeguards were put into place by government in order to prevent political pressure to be inflicted on institutions refusing to conduct gay marriages.
“Marriage is one of the most important institutions we have in this country,” she said. “It binds us together, brings long-term commitment and stability, and makes society stronger.”
“Our proposals recognise, respect and value the very important role that faith plays in our lives. I have always been crystal clear that I would not put forward any legislation that did not provide protection for religious organisations. This bill protects and promotes religious freedom, so that all religious organisations can act according to their doctrines and beliefs. ”
However, the bill may be subject to political resistance from Conservative MPs who do not back up same-sex marriages. MPs, as well as members of the cabinet, are given the chance to vote against or abstain when the marriage (same-sex couple) bill has its second reading in the House of Commons on 5th February.