Nick Clegg slams Tory plan for free vote on gay marriage
Deputy Prime Minister says: 'We are not asking any person with religious convictions to sacrifice anything’
Deputy Prime Minister of Britain Nick Clegg has slammed Conservative plans to allow MPs to have a free vote on gay marriage.
Clegg said he believed both Liberal Democrats and Conservatives would be voting in favour in the House of Commons.
The Liberal Democrat leader said he did not want the vote to be a ‘free-for-all’, adding ‘we are not asking any person with religious convictions to sacrifice anything’.
He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘We are simply saying those who want to show a lifelong commitment to each other should be able to do so.’
He added: ‘If the government was proposing something that would somehow be an imposition on religion or the churches, then of course that would be a matter of conscience – we are not’.
The UK government should be finishing the 12-week consultation on civil same-sex marriage on 7 June, and Prime Minister David Cameron has said it will be legalised in 2015.
Conservative MPs will be allowed a free vote to avoid a rebellion from backbenchers and ministers opposed to gay marriage.
Labour MP Robin Cook resigned in 2003 because he disagreed with the Iraq war, the only option when ministers refuse to agree with parliamentary collective responsibility.
Since the free vote was announced, a poll was conducted by anti-gay Coalition For Marriage which said 45% of Conservative MPs cited gay marriage as one of the main concerns raised with them by voters.