Justine Greening: Churches should 'keep up' with modern attitudes to same-sex marriage
The Equalities Secretary has said churches should reflect “modern attitudes” as they consider whether to change their stance on same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriages have been legal since 2014 but many religious institutions – including the Church of England, Catholic church, United Synagogue, and Muslim Council of Britain – have chosen not to recognise the unions or perform the ceremonies.
Justine Greening, the Women and Equalities Secretary, said that religious institutions should “keep up” with public opinion – which has been shifting towards acceptance of same-sex marriage.
“It is important that the church, in a way, keeps up and is part of a modern country,” she told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme.
“I wouldn’t prescribe to them how they should deal with that but I do think we’re living in a country where people broadly recognise that attitudes are in a different place now to where they were many, many years ago.
“We have allowed same-sex marriage, that’s a massive step forward for the better. And for me, I think people do want to see our major faiths keep up with modern attitudes.”
She also pointed out that some churches, like the Quakers, endorsed same-sex marriage and performed the ceremonies.
Her comments come after John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, last week said people should be able to “bloody well get married in a church” if they wished to.
Ms Greening also announced this morning that the Government would launch a consultation on the 2004 Gender Recognition Act to consider proposals to make it easier for people to legally change their gender.