Ed Miliband has apologised to Christians who feel marginalised in society and expressed his belief that churches should not have to carry out same-sex marriages.
The Labour leader was speaking in an exclusive interview with Premier Christian Radio last week.
In 2012 Mr Miliband stated his support for same-sex marriage and said “faith groups” should be able to marry gay people if they want to.
Respect for faith
Speaking to Premier Radio, he said it is “important” that people of faith do not feel discriminated against.
He said: “Part of being a tolerant society and the kind of society I believe in is that people of all faiths and none don’t feel marginalised”.
Miliband argued that Christians should not just be “comfortable in their faith, but comfortable that their faith is respected in our country”.
Referring to gay marriage, Miliband said, “that doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be disagreements”.
He stressed that if Labour were to come to power, churches would continue to be allowed to uphold traditional marriage.
“It’s up to the churches how they respond to equal marriage and that’s a very clear principle and a clear promise that we’ve made”, he said.
In September 2012, Mr Miliband recorded a video in support of gay marriage, and said same-sex weddings should be allowed in churches.
In the video Mr Miliband said, “we will be pushing the Government to get on with the process of legislating for equal marriage, and we’ll also be saying to them, that where faith groups want to provide that opportunity for gay couples as well as straight couples, they should be able to do so”.
Campaign group the Coalition for Marriage accused the Labour party of using the institution of marriage as a “political weapon”.