Former British Prime Minister Tony
Blair has endorsed an effort to legalize gay marriage in the country,
Independent On Sunday reported.
The UK's ruling party, the Conservative
Party, which governs in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, last
September unveiled plans to make gay nuptials legal before 2015. Gay
and lesbian couples are currently recognized with civil partnerships,
which offer most of the legal protections of marriage. Heterosexual
couples are not allowed to enter a civil partnership.
The government is expected to release a
consultation document detailing its plans on the law next week.
Prime Minister David Cameron, the head
of the Conservative Party, supports the move, saying it promotes
conservative values such as commitment.
Blair, a Roman Catholic since 2007, is
quoted as telling friends that he “strongly supports the Prime
Religious leaders – including senior
figures in the Roman
Catholic Church and the Church
of England – have sharply criticized the government's plans.
Friday, Pope Benedict XVI called on visiting U.S. bishops to
fight the “powerful political and cultural currents seeking to
alter the legal definition of marriage.”