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I thank the Member for her question. I am in favour of marriage equality. That is why I am determined to make what progress I can in this mandate to put it on the statute book. I would like to proceed by way of an Executive Bill and will, at the earliest opportunity, seek Executive agreement to consult on the issue.
I have met the Love Equality consortium on three occasions, as well as the wider LGBT sector. As the Member will know, the consortium has been exploring the possibility of a private Member’s Bill. I have written to the four potential sponsors of such a Bill to advise them of my intentions, and I have offered to meet them.
I endorse the approach of Naomi Long, one of those behind a private Member's Bill, who said that there will be a need for collaboration in the time ahead. My intention is to provide the same level of protection to clergy and church bodies as has been included in the legislation on same-sex marriage in other jurisdictions within these islands.