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PM Theresa May says gay marriage “has to be a matter for the church.” House of Commons speaker, John Bercow, says marriage equality will only exist when same-sex couples can marry in churches.
"This has to be a matter for the church. The Church of England has itself come a distance in terms of looking at these issues. And obviously they will want to reflect as attitudes more generally change, as society changes", she said.
The PM also said that her belief is that it was ultimately up to the church to decide its own position on the matter.
“The Conservatives will not retreat in their support for gay rights because of their pact with the Democratic Unionists”, she insisted.
50 YEARS SINCE THE SEXUAL OFFENCE ACTS
The British leader, who has previously spoken openly about her own Christian faith, also suggested that her late father, Anglican vicar Rev Hubert Brasier, might have approved of Church of England clergy blessing gay marriages.
"He very much valued the importance of relationships, of people affirming those relationships and of seeing stability in relationships and people able to be together with people that they love", she said.
The interview came before a reception in Downing Street with LGBT activists on Wednesday evening to mark 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act 1967.
“EQUAL MARRIAGE WILL EXIST WHEN YOU CAN MARRY IN A CHURCH IF YOU WANT TO”
On Tuesday, John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons, reignited gay marriage debate during a reception for the gay newspaper Pink News in Parliament.
"I still feel that we can only really have equal marriage when you can b* well get married in a church if you want to do so", he said.
Bercow reminded the attendees that “we are marking 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality.”
But "there's always a balance to be struck - we don't want to behave as though it's all over, that everything has been done. Nothing remains - because that isn't true”, he added.
PROTECTION FOR CHURCHES
When the law changed in 2013, churches were offered a protection that they wouldn't be forced to host gay marriages in their building.
Churches wishing to opt-in, can apply to be except from the protection.
For now, only the Scottish Episcopal Church and the United Reformed Church have chosen to bless gay marriages.
The view of sexuality and marriage and how the church should respond to it has led to important discussions in several countries. Read more about the position of evangelical Christians in this matter.