Opposition to gay marriage is “not acceptable” Britain’s police minister has said in a newspaper interview.
Nick Herbert, who is gay himself and in a civil partnership with his partner of 13 years, told the London Evening Standard
, “I am getting rather fed up with people metaphorically jabbing a finger into my chest and saying I should put up with a civil partnership.
“How would they like it if I jabbed a finger into their chests and said they should put up with a civil partnership instead of their marriage?
"In my view it’s not acceptable to say to a group in society, ‘You should put up with something that is a second order institution to something that everybody else is entitled to, because we say so’. I think this is about nothing more or less than a fundamental issue of equality.”
Herbert, 49, is seen as one of the rising stars of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party. He was the first openly gay candidate to be selected by the party to run for parliament and he is tipped for promotion to a Cabinet-level post this summer.
Herbert — whose full title is minister of state for police and criminal justice — said that same-sex unions would “strengthen the institution of marriage” rather than destroy it. “It’s about saying that when two people make a commitment in public, a commitment of loving and supporting each other, society should honour and strengthen and allow that commitment, not stand in its way, which we do by law at the moment.”
He would not say whether he would marry his partner Jason Eades if Britain legalized same-sex unions. “That’s a decision for two people to make and talk about, not for me to make unilaterally in an interview,” he said.
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