Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:44 pm on 5th February 2013.

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Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 12:44 pm, 5th February 2013

I hope that Members will forgive me if I make a little more progress. As you have said, Mr. Speaker, there is a great deal of interest in participating in the debate.

Members also need to understand the wider consequences of the Bill. The introduction of equal marriage will not marginalise those who believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman—that is clearly a mainstream view—but neither will it continue to marginalise those who believe that marriage can, and should, also be between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. We will not allow one belief to exist at the expense of the other. No misguided sense of political correctness will be allowed to impinge on that. It would be deeply divisive if, in righting a wrong for some, we created a wrong for others.

No teacher will be required to promote or endorse views that go against their beliefs. No hospital chaplain or worker will have to believe in a new definition of marriage. No religious minister will have to conduct same-sex weddings. The changes that we are discussing will not affect anyone more than they are affected already by choosing to live in a society that values tolerance and respect among its citizens.