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UK shadow gov't minister quits after backing conscience rights for same-sex marriage objectors

UK shadow gov't minister quits after backing conscience rights for same-sex marriage objectors

Big Ben in London | Unsplash/Marcin Nowak

A Labour party member who is a member of the U.K. shadow government has resigned from her bench post following comments that a conscience exception be allowed for religious registrars who do not wish to perform same-sex weddings. 

Janet Daby, who represents Lewisham East, tweeted Monday, "I she sincerely apologise for my misjudged comments on Friday, and have decided to resign as Shadow Faith Minister."

She also tweeted that she proudly backs same-sex marriages and that her previous comments were "misjudged."

Daby's office said in a subsequent statement: "Janet's comments were made in consideration of a person of faith asking the question, but do not reflect her views — she is fully supportive of equal marriage, and believes registrars should not be in the role if they do not want to conduct same-sex weddings."

According to Sky News, she was asked earlier during a zoom briefing for the Religion Media Centre regarding whether it was appropriate that registrars who refuse to hold same-sex wedding ceremonies be fired. 

"This is to do with a person's own conscience really around this," Daby responded during a Q&A.

"It's similar, probably, to a vote of conscience in parliament. My own view around this would be that I'd like to have some more information on it, obviously, I'd like to have those conversations with people."

She went on to liken it to medical scenarios where a nurse does not want to not take part in an abortion procedure, saying that nurses should have that option. At present, it is not legal for a registrar to refuse to officiate a same-sex wedding. 

"This is highly complex and controversial. And what I think, is there needs to be something in place that respects people's conscience and views of faith, as well as that protects people's rights that want to ensure they can also be treated equally within their own rights as well," she added. 

Daby has served in the shadow government since April after Keir Starmer was elected as the new leader of the Labour party. 

Same-sex marriage has been legal in England and Wales since March 2014. It was legalized in Scotland in 2014 and in Northern Ireland earlier this year in January. 

Daby became a Christian at the age of 15 following a Luis Palau evangelistic event in Blackheath, she told Premier Christian News in July in an interview about her conversion to faith. At the event, she received a booklet containing a basic explanation of the Gospel message, and soon after she read it she put her faith in Christ. 

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