Clegg flies the flag for gay marriage, wants the plans to go further
At the weekend Nick Clegg insisted that a gay pride flag should fly over Whitehall. It’s the first time the rainbow flag has flown over the hub of Government administration. He had to get special permission from the local council, because only national flags are supposed to be hoisted above the famous old buildings.
He also wants the Government’s plans to redefine marriage to go much further by allowing gay weddings in churches. The Government has been carefully trying to reassure churches that only civil weddings are being considered. But Nick Clegg is trying to move the goal posts and playing politics with marriage to curry favour with homosexual campaigners.
His stance puts him at odds with his Lib Dem colleague, the Business Secretary Vince Cable. In a letter to a constituent – revealed in the Telegraph today (although not online) – Mr Cable says there is no need to change the law because all the rights of marriage are already available to same-sex couples through civil partnerships. But he says he would support the Government if it came to a vote.
Nick Clegg has said he will force all his MPs to back gay marriage, whether they like it or not. Whereas David Cameron has allowed his MPs, including Government ministers, to vote according to their conscience.
Meanwhile the Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the Government has no mandate for redefining marriage. Dr Rowan Williams questioned the right of ministers to make the change when it had not been included in the Conservative or Liberal Democrat election manifestos.
Speaking to the Church of England synod, he said the Church had held discussions with the Government, adding: “The basis of the mandate for changing the state’s understanding of marriage given the lack of any commitment in the election manifestos of the main parties has been one of the many issues raised in those discussions.”