The UK Independence Party has said it may back full gay marriage – but only if Britain pulled out of the European Court of Human Rights.
Unlike the three main political parties, UKIP is against the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government’s current plans for same-sex marriage.
Despite a quadruple legal lock protecting religious groups from being told to conduct marriages for gay couples, the right-wing political party led by Nigel Farage has said the safeguards are not strong enough.
But if Britain was to exist as an independent state and outside the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights, then no gay couple would be able to challenge the marriage bill’s legal locks.
Speaking to Gay Star News, a senior UKIP spokesman said: ‘If we find ourselves outside of the legislation of the European Court of Human Rights, we may have a different opinion [on same-sex marriage].
‘It matters to some people enormously, but we just don’t think these safeguards are strong enough. Legal advice is saying they’re not. We’re erring on the side of caution.’
While UKIP state their policy for gay rights is ‘full equality before the law’, they said they have to respect the wishes of faith groups who do not want to marry gay people. They added civil partnerships should have the same rights for everyone.
When asked if ‘separate but equal is truly equal’, they said: ‘I recognize the argument, but our position is not in some ways about gay marriage, it’s all about those faith groups who wish to not perform gay marriages.
‘I recognize there are a lot of people who are for gay marriage, but there are also a lot of gay people who don’t want to get married. There is a broad picture in the gay community.
‘But by the by, we feel the rights and wishes of faith groups are also important.
‘Whilst the government has recognized that in the legislation, the ban on the Church of England is just odd.’
Richard Lane, the External Affairs Officer from gay rights charity Stonewall, told GSN: ‘The Church of England has stated clearly that protections contained within the bill for religious organizations are robust so UKIP’s comments appear to be little more than scaremongering.
‘YouGov polling clearly shows that over 90% of gay people support the government’s plans.
‘UKIP should think long and hard about how they intend to appeal to Britain’s 3.7 million lesbian, gay and bisexual people at the next General Election.’
UKIP’s comments follow controversial Conservative politician Nadine Dorries who said she would support equal marriage only when the UK has left the European Convention of Human Rights.
‘I don’t believe compromising the religious freedoms of others in order to benefit another group is progressive politics,’ she told the Huffington Post.
‘If David Cameron says we’re going to leave the ECHR and bring in gay marriage, I’ll vote for it.’