I am completely against any form of discrimination towards people who are gay. Equally, I would not support any legislation which would force people to abandon deeply held religious views.
The problem with the Government’s proposals is the widespread view they would lead to gay activists, who are actually only a tiny minority of the gay population, demanding weddings in local churches then going to court - possibly successfully - if refused.
The Government has given assurances that the legislation would be framed to prevent this from happening. I have explored the issue both verbally and in writing with the Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Theresa May MP, and I am convinced she is satisfied that religious groups would be protected.
However, the Christian community has looked at recent court cases such as the Christian bed and breakfast owners who were taken to court after refusing a double room to a gay couple. They are not confident the law would back them up.
I have asked the Home Secretary if she would be prepared to commit herself to changing discrimination legislation if a case were brought to court, but in her reply she was not willing to make that commitment.
I have taken note of this, as well as the opinion of some gay people that the legislation is unnecessary as gay couples can already enjoy the benefits of marriage through civil ceremonies. Accordingly, I have decided I will not support the proposals in their current form.