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Basingstoke MP says change is needed
BASINGSTOKE MP Maria Miller has announced that she is in favour of gay marriage.
The revelation by the newly-appointed Equalities Minister is a significant development in the Government’s attempts to push through the law change.
When Mrs Miller was promoted to the role of Equalities Minister and Culture Secretary in David Cameron’s recent reshuffle, it was seen as a controversial appointment because of her voting record on gay rights issues.
Campaign groups pointed out she had been absent from key equality votes, and in 2008 voted against allowing same-sex couples access to fertility treatment.
But now she has confirmed her support for extending marriage to same sex couples, as long as clergy are not forced to carry out ceremonies.
Mrs Miller said: “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.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has thrown his weight behind the law change. But the proposal has provoked a furious backlash from some church leaders and some Tory MPs.
The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, and the Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, who used to hold the post, have both signed up to the Coalition for Marriage campaign.
However, Hampshire MPs are broadly supportive of the move.
It is likely that MPs will be given a ‘free vote’ on the issue, meaning they are not bound by party lines, if it comes before the House of Commons.