Equal marriage bill published
Legislation to allow same-sex marriage has been unveiled by the Government.
The plans have divided the Conservative party, with Liam Fox recently describing it as "ill thought-through" and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond challenging the "robustness" of the exemption for religious groups.
But Culture Secretary Maria Miller insisted the plans would provide adequate protection for religious freedoms.
"We’re trying to make sure that there’s protections there for churches who feel that this isn’t appropriate for their own particular belief," she told Radio 4's Today programme.
"We know that also there are churches that do want to take part in same-sex marriages, so we’ve made sure there are provisions there for churches to opt in. What we’ve done is made sure that churches are free to choose, according to their beliefs, whether or not they want to undertake same-sex marriages."
Tory MPs will be given a free vote on the bill when it is debated in the Commons on Tuesday 5 February.
Shadow Minister for Women & Equalities Yvette Cooper welcomed the legislation, and said Labour "look forward to passing the Bill into law".