Theresa May has suggested the Church of England should consider marrying same-sex couples.
The prime minister told LBC this afternoon that the Church should “reflect” on how attitudes towards LGBT rights had changed.
When same-sex marriage was introduced in 2013, churches were offered an opt-out from having to conduct ceremonies.
May voted against legalising the age of consent, but said today her attitude towards LGBT rights had “changed over the years” to be more supportive.
In the interview, the prime minister hinted that her father, a vicar, would have supported gay marriages to take place in churches.
“He very much valued the importance of relationships, of people affirming those relationships and of seeing stability in relationships and people able to be together with people that they love,” she said.
“This has to be a matter for the Church. The Church of England has itself come a distance in terms of looking at these issues, and obviously they will want to reflect as attitudes will generally change as society changes.”
May also admitted she could “completely understand” why people were worried about her deal with the socially conservative DUP, but insisted there would be no backsliding on gay rights.
“I’m very clear that the Conservative Party in government doesn’t agree with the DUP on those issues. On these issues on LGBT rights,” she said.
May also said a personal experience of meeting a gay couple made her change her mind on equality legislation.
“I remember meeting a couple in my Constituency; indeed in my own village, who had been going to go to South Africa to get married and said to me that because the government was bringing this [same-sex marriage] in, they were going to wait and get married here in the UK,” she said.
I went to their wedding, and it’s seeing people having, you know, their lives changes and a different, being able to take a different approach to their lives because of the Government bringing in legislation like that, that I think has been so important.”