Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the
leader of the British Liberal Democrats, has said he supports a
church's right to marry gay and lesbian couples.
In remarks to the UK's the Evening
Standard before this weekend's World Pride festival in
London, Clegg said he believes religious organizations should be free
to decide the issue.
“This is my personal view at the
moment, but I think that in exactly the same way that we shouldn't
force any church to conduct gay marriage, we shouldn't stop any
church that wants to conduct gay marriage,” Clegg said.
“I have a very strong sensation that
once the dust settles everyone will look back and think, 'What on
Earth was the controversy about? It seems a perfectly natural thing
to do.' I don't think it is anything to get hot under the collar
about, or aggressive or polemical,” he added.
Clegg's comments were welcomed by
Britain's most senior Quaker, Paul Parker.
“We would say all committed
relationships are of equal worth,” Parker said. “We have
recognized same-sex couples as married since 2009; we want same-sex
couples to be free to marry in their Quaker meetings in the same way
as opposite-sex couples.”