Church of England excluded from gay marriage plans
The Church of England will not be able to carry out same-sex weddings, Maria Miller has announced.
"Because the Church of England and Wales have explicitly stated that they do not wish to conduct same-sex marriage, the legislation will explicitly state that it would be illegal for the Churches of England and Wales to marry same-sex couples," the Equalities Minister said in the House of Commons.
She said there would be a "quadruple lock" to ensure religious institutions are free to choose whether or not to conduct same-sex weddings.
Nick Clegg said the plan was "very sensible" due to the CoE's status as the UK's established church.
Shadow Equalities Minister Yvette Cooper also welcomed the move, saying: "We should celebrate and not discriminate." She added: "Marriage means more than simply a historic tradition."
Tory backbenchers rounded on the minister, with Stewart Jackson comparing the Government's consultation process to a "Liberian presidential election"
"I believe these proposals are a constitutional outrage and a disgrace. There is no electoral mandate for these policies," he added.
The Government lacks "any mandate whatsoever to inflict this massive social cultural change upon our country," his colleague Sir Gerald Howarth insisted.