Clegg wished everyone a successful Pride day, and gave a speech about the importance of LGBT rights, re-assuring those assembled that the coalition Government was still committed to introducing same-sex marriage. The Government, in its recent public consultation on the matter, has proposed introducing civil same-sex marriage, but it would not force religious premises to hold such ceremonies. Clegg suggested that were it up to him, he would like to see gay couples allowed to marry in church if they so wished.
“It seems to me, on the gay marriage point totally uncontroversial that if two individuals want to show love and lifelong commitment to each other I want that properly celebrated by society.
“Some of this is bound up with people’s concerns about the religious connotations of marriage.
“We are not asking any church to conduct gay marriages if they don’t want to. But I personally think those churches who do wish to do this should be able to do so.”
Clegg took questions from the young audience, and commented that it was important that they, as young supporters of Stonewall, continue to stand up against bigotry, particularly during the tough economic climate.
“It is worth just considering that there are a lot of quite anxious frightened people around,” he said. “There is a huge amount of insecurity because of what has happened to the economy… As people feel frightened and anxious it is often a climate in which bigotry, xenophobia and prejudice increase. They start lashing out at people.”
Afterwards, the volunteers helped Stonewall to create on of the most vocal and colourful contributions to the World Pride march, with each one wearing a bright red t-shirt emblazoned with the organisation’s ‘Some People Are Gay – Get Over It!’ logo – many translated into different languages to reflect the World Pride theme.