20/06/2012 16:19 BST

Nick Clegg Insists Same-Sex Marriage Will Get Through Parliament

Gay marriage will be pushed through however heated the debate becomes, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg warned critics of the reform.

The Church of England recently joined a chorus of religious criticism of the proposed move to allow same-sex couples to wed in civil ceremonies.

Tory cabinet minister Owen Paterson is among politicians who have said they will oppose the policy in parliament - with Tory MPs enjoying a free vote on the issue.

But in a video message for the pro-reform Out4Marriage campaign website, Mr Clegg said: "We brought forward our proposals; they have provoked a heated debate.

"But these are proposals about when and how to open up civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples. It's not a matter of 'if' anymore."

He declared: "I've always been very clear on this: love is the same, straight or gay, so the civil institution should be the same too.

"I fought for equal marriage before I was in government, and I'm even more committed to making it happen now - as a Liberal Democrat and as deputy prime minister."

In a direct message to anyone "worried" about the strident opposition to the change, the Liberal Democrat leader added: "Whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual or straight, your freedom to love who you choose is a fundamental right in a liberal society and you will always have our support. That's why I'm Out4Marriage."