Lib Dem MPs will be forced to support redefining marriage

Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, will force his MPs to vote for gay marriage whether they like it or not.

Last week it was revealed that all Conservative MPs – including ministers – were to get a free vote on the issue, but speaking yesterday Mr Clegg said he believed it was not a “matter of conscience”.

On the Andrew Marr show on BBC 1, the Deputy Prime Minister said he personally did not “think this is something that should be subject to a great free-for-all”.

Focus

In recent days a number of Government ministers have spoken out on the issue. Last week the Northern Ireland Secretary, Owen Paterson, becoming the first Cabinet Minister to publicly oppose the plans.

The Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond has refused to back a change saying that the Government should “focus on the things that matter”.

And Tim Loughton, the children’s minister, has said that marriage should remain the union of one man and one woman.

The Government is currently consulting on the issue, but well over half a million people have signed a petition organised by the Coalition for Marriage opposing the change.

Conscience

In his comments to the BBC Mr Clegg said redefining marriage should not be “subject to a great free-for-all because we’re not asking people to make a decision of conscience about religion”.

He said “if you are two individuals who love each other, who want to show a commitment to each other irrespective of your gender, you should be able under law to get married”.

In March this year a survey showed most people in Britain want to keep the current definition of marriage unchanged.

The survey showed that seven out of ten people agree that marriage should remain a “life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman”.

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