Let gay marriage into church, says Ed Balls


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Ed Balls has urged the Government to extend its plan to legalise gay marriage to include religious as well as civil ceremonies.

In a video message for the Out4Marriage campaign, the shadow Chancellor said: "I believe that somebody who is religious and a churchgoer, if the church community wants it in that church, I think people should be able to get married in church too."

Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, who is married to Mr Balls, added: "We should support those religious institutions and churches that want to hold same-sex marriage ceremonies."

The Government is unlikely to include religious marriage because it would fuel the rebellion by Tory MPs over the issue. The Coalition for Marriage, whose petition opposing same-sex marriage has attracted more than 530,000 signatures, said Mr Balls's comment "puts to the sword the lie that this would only ever apply to civil marriage". A spokesman said: "Churches, synagogues and mosques are concerned that this [gay marriage] could be forced on them without legal protections."