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Same-sex marriage bill proposed in Britain

Dec. 11, 2012 at 3:23 PM

LONDON, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- A bill allowing same-sex marriage will be introduced in Parliament, Britain's culture secretary said, with the first gay weddings likely in 2014.

Maria Miller, culture secretary and minister for Equalities, said religious institutions that object will be given "watertight" protections and a "quadruple lock" of legal measures against being forced to conduct same-sex weddings.

"Our proposals mean that marriage would be available to everyone. I feel strongly that, if a couple wish to show their love and commitment to each other, the state should not stand in their way," Miller said, adding, "I am absolutely clear that no religious organization will ever be forced to conduct marriages for same-sex couples, and I would not bring a bill [to Parliament] which allowed that."

Although Conservative Party members of the House of Commons voiced their objection to the proposed reform, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has given his personal backing to the plan, and has promised his party members in Parliament an opportunity to vote according to their consciences when the bill is debated in the new year, The Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday.

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