New Equalities Minister backs same-sex 'marriage'
Equalities Minister Maria Miller has put her weight behind the Government’s proposals to legalise same-sex ‘marriage’ in an exclusive article written for The Independent this week (18 September).
Ms Miller, who was appointed as equalities minister in a Cabinet reshuffle this month, said that she could see “no reason” why legal marriage should not be extended to same-sex couples, and that a change in the law was “needed” to uphold the values of “equality and fairness.”
She added: “The state should not stop two people undertaking civil marriage unless there are good reasons, and I believe being gay is not one of them….When it comes to the state’s role in marriage, I and the government think a change is needed.
“Love, fidelity, commitment and stability are something to celebrate. If someone chooses to marry the person they love we should celebrate this, not stand in their way.”
Ms Miller went on to re-iterate the Government’s promises that religious institutions will not be forced to perform same-sex weddings against their will, stating:
“One thing I can do here and now is to reassure those faith groups who have expressed concern, no religious organisation will be forced to conduct marriages for same-sex couples as a result of our proposals.
"Nothing in our proposals will change what religious organisations are required to do or the existing rights that faith groups rightly have to refuse to marry couples.”
But a spokesperson for the Coalition of Marriage campaign, which seeks to preserve legal marriage as between a man and a woman, has urged Ms Miller to “reconsider” her position, stating: “We are very disappointed to hear this. This legislation is anti-democratic as it is not what a majority of the public want and we would urge her to reconsider.”
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:
“Ms Miller's claims that churches will retain the freedom to refuse to perform same-sex marriages cannot be substantiated.
“Expressing opposition to same-sex marriage in the public sphere can already attract a significant penalty, and many people have lost their jobs for practicing sincerely held beliefs that marriage can only be between one man and one woman. This is likely to get worse should same-sex marriage be introduced, with severe consequences for religious freedom.
“Whilst love and commitment are key components of marriage, the primary purpose of the institution is to raise children under the influence of a mother and a father, a scenario which same-sex couples cannot by nature provide.
“As the foundation of the family, marriage is the cornerstones of a healthy, stable and civilised society. If we redefine it, we do so at our peril.”