(Photo: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett)
British Prime Minister David Cameron has once again reiterated his support for same-sex marriage, saying that he hopes to have gay marriage legalized by 2015 and warning the church not to place itself "on the wrong side of this argument."
Cameron also said that he hopes the Church of England, which opposes same-sex marriage, will not choose to "lock out" the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
"I just want to say I am absolutely determined that this Coalition government will follow in that tradition by legislating for gay marriage in this Parliament," Cameron told a group of LGBT community members at a reception at 10 Downing Street Tuesday evening, according to The Telegraph.
"I make that point not only as someone who believes in equality but as someone who believes passionately in marriage," he added.
Cameron also "gently" rebuked the Church of England, which has greatly opposed the United Kingdom's plans to legalize marriage.
In his remarks to the audience, which were released by Downing Street earlier this week, Cameron compared the Church of England to the Conservative party, "which for many many years got itself on the wrong side of this argument."
"It locked people out who were naturally Conservative from supporting it and so I think I can make that point to the Church, gently," he said.
Cameron added that the church should separate itself from the past mistakes of the Conservative party and not "be locking out people who are gay, or are bisexual or are transgender from being full members of that Church, because many people with deeply held Christian views, are also gay.
"And just as the Conservative Party, as an institution, made a mistake in locking people out so I think the Churches can be in danger of doing the same thing."
Cameron has long been a proponent of legalizing same-sex marriage in the U.K., although several Conservative leaders fear that the same-sex marriage debate is a distraction from more pressing issues, such as economic reform and unemployment.
Although Cameron and several other U.K. politicians stand by the legalization of same-sex marriage, the Church of England has stood its ground in supporting traditional marriage.
In June, church officials issued a 13-page statement saying that it cannot support the legalization of same-sex marriage in the U.K.
"Such a move would alter the intrinsic nature of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as enshrined in human institutions throughout history," the statement read, as reported by The Guardian.
"Marriage benefits society in many ways, not only by promoting mutuality and fidelity, but also by acknowledging an underlying biological complementarity which, for many, includes the possibility of procreation," it added.
The Telegraph points out that although Cameron claims he will have same-sex marriage legalized by 2015, his statements made in May regarding a free vote on same-sex marriage by British members of parliament could stall the legalization.
Cameron's Tuesday evening speech occurred on the eve of GOP candidate Mitt Romney's visit to the U.K. Romney has been a staunch supporter of traditional marriage, in comparison to current U.S. President Barack Obama, who has said he supports same-sex marriage.