The Prime Minister David Cameron last night lashed out at churches for “locking out” gays by supporting marriage between one man and one woman.
He said he was proud to follow in the tradition of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who introduced civil partnerships in 2005.
And he repeated his commitment to redefine marriage by 2015, regardless of what the public or his own backbenchers think about it.
He made the remarks at a party for gay activists hosted at Downing Street, just hours after he entertained the Queen who is supreme governor of the Church of England.
He praised Tony Blair for introducing civil partnerships, then said: “I just want to say I am absolutely determined that this Coalition government will follow in that tradition by legislating for gay marriage in this Parliament.”
He also said that the Church is on the wrong side of the argument and should not “be locking out people who are gay, or are bisexual or are transgender”.
But The Christian Institute said Mr Cameron was displaying his own intolerance and prejudice against Christians who oppose gay marriage.
Spokesman Mike Judge said: “It is incredibly arrogant of him to tell churches what religious beliefs they should and shouldn’t hold. No wonder huge swathes of churchgoers are suspicious of his motives.”
He added: “As for following in the tradition of Tony Blair, the Labour Prime Minister passed laws which closed down faith-based adoption work, led to Christian registrars being sacked, and Christian B&Bs being fined.
“Is that the tradition that Mr Cameron so proudly wants to follow? He’s going the right way about it, because redefining marriage would put supporters of traditional marriage right in the firing line.”